The data science guide to New York City fireworks
Where are the best places to watch the fireworks in the East River this July 4? We asked TripExpert’s data scientist, who aggregated 16 different lists and crunched the numbers to reveal the top choices.
We examined lists of recommended fireworks watching spots from these publications: TimeOut, Curbed, Mashable, amNY, MommyPoppins, DNAinfo, NY Daily News, Thrillist, NBC New York, Pix 11, Condé Nast Traveler, NewYork.com, Big Appled and Brooklyn Magazine.
We next put these reviews through a simplified version TripExpert’s scoring algorithm, the process that we use to rate hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions around the world. The TripExpert Score distills professional opinion on a scale from 60-100.
With the fireworks returning to the East River for the second straight year, the best places are along the East River in Brooklyn, Queens, and in Manhattan. The fireworks are launched from five barges: four between 23d St and 34th St and one just south of the Brooklyn Bridge. In general, its easier to see the fireworks from lowrise Brooklyn and Queens, than it is from the thicket of skyscrapers in Manhattan. We New Yorkers often forget that the mighty skyscrapers that make New York New York are also very good at blocking views.
You can watch the fireworks from the on-ramp to the Brooklyn Bridge on the Manhattan-side of the bridge. Just north of that is the Murry Bergtraum High School Track, an official viewing location for those with special needs (but also an all around great place to watch the show from).
Coming in at #2 and #3, Brooklyn Bridge Park and the South Street Seaport offer essentially the same views but from opposite directions. Brooklyn Bridge Park has two key advantages: more space (although this is a relative term when there will be many thousands of people crowding in), and the views of Manhattan in the background; the fireworks will unfold above the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. This “jewel of a park” (Conde Nast Traveler) is our #2 pick, recommended on all but one of the lists that we examined.
With as many recommendations as the Brooklyn Bridge Park, the South Street Seaport is a close #3. The centuries old port-turned shopping district offers outstanding views of the fireworks and is easily accessible on multiple subway lines for those traveling from other parts of Manhattan.
Queens’s Z Hotel, just south of the Queensboro Bridge, offers fantastic views of Manhattan from its 100 rooms, but the best place to view the fireworks would be from its 5,000 square foot roof, with its 360 degree views. Access to the roof for the fireworks is via a pre-purchased ticket ($175) that includes dinner and drinks.
An outpost of the popular Williamsburg pizzeria located at the northern end end of Brooklyn Bridge Park. The restaurant has a rooftop terrace from which to view the fireworks and enjoy their pizza. Access to the roof on the 4th is via pre-purchased ticket ($250).
A similar view to that of Brooklyn Bridge Park, but more elevated, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade has been celebrated for decades as the finest place to view New York City’s skyline.