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    New York in July: where to celebrate Independence Day and other unmissable events

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    Martí Micolau

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    America celebrates its birthday in July and is therefore a great month to visit one of its iconic cities: New York. On the 4th of July you will be able to witness spectacular fireworks, as well as the many events that the city offers to celebrate its independence in the best possible way. It is already hot, but certainly not as hot as the scorching heat that can be in some Italian cities in July.

    There are numerous other events throughout the month of July, as well as outdoor activities. Thinking of New York, for example, we certainly don't think of going to the beach, but the city also offers this possibility: the month of July is in fact ideal for discovering the beaches of New York.


    • Climate in New York in July
    • Main events in New York in July
      • Independence Day: traditions and events in New York
      • 4th of July Fireworks: Best Places to Watch Them
      • Hot Dog Eating Contest
      • Mostly Mozart Festival
      • NYC Poetry Festival
      • CityPark Summer Stage
      • Shakespeare in the Park

    Climate in New York in July

    The average temperature during the day is around 28 degrees, while at night it drops to 20 degrees. Sunny days average 21, while rainy days vary between 7 and 10 with an average of 3 strong thunderstorms. However, I recommend that you bring a light jacket, perhaps a waterproof one, during your days discovering the main attractions of New York. Shoes, as always, must be comfortable to be able to walk city parks, from Central Park to Washington Square, to explore the great museums or walk among the skyscrapers of New York.

    Main events in New York in July

    The month of July in New York is certainly characterized by all the events for the 4th of July, the day of American independence from the English motherland. The climax of the celebrations is reached at sunset with the Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Display, the famous fireworks display on the East River.

    But even after the 4th of July, New York continues to celebrate summer with free concerts in the parks, film festivals and outdoor film screenings and the famous Shakespeare in the Park, the summer event that New Yorkers and tourists alike are waiting for to see a high-quality theatrical show accessible to all in a spectacular location, the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.

    So let's see together some of the events in New York not to be missed.

    Independence Day: traditions and events in New York

    Americans, as we know, are quite patriotic and during Independence Day the love for their homeland, traditions and history literally skyrockets. If you are in New York on the 4th of July, you too will almost certainly be enveloped in the atmosphere of national pride of the Stars and Stripes. The city is tinged with blue, white and red: from small flags that fly almost everywhere to typical sweets, such as cupcakes sold in the best pastry shops and glazed with these colors.

    And when it comes to food, the 4th of July is a bit like Thanksgiving: some typically American dishes cannot be missing on the tables of American families. Being summer, the barbecue (with the famous ribs) is a must, as are the onion rings and chicken wings. And, for those who love hot dogs, July 4th is synonymous with Nathan’s International Hot Dog Eating Contest, the competition between who eats the most hot dogs in ten minutes.

    In addition to the culinary traditions, it is interesting to know that on July 4th at 12 noon in American military bases as many shots are fired as there are American states. During the day you could then visit the cult places of the history of American independence: from Trinity Church where Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers is buried, to Saint Paul Church where the remains of General Richard Montgomery are found and to the Fraunces Tavern and Museum on Pearl Street, where George Washington gave his famous speech to the officers of the Continental Army. If you love history, an interesting experience could also be to visit the Historic Richmond Town, the historic village located on Staten Island and which for the 4th of July organizes special events for the whole family.

    American Independence Day is a holiday and therefore offices and banks are closed. The main attractions in the city, such as museums and skyscrapers, are still open to the public even if some have reduced hours. Therefore, I recommend that you check the times of the places you want to visit on this date.

    But if you're in New York on July 4th, the most anticipated event certainly is fireworks display evening on the East River lasting about 25 minutes. Organized by Macy's Mall, it has now become the highlight of Independence Day in New York. It starts between 21pm and 00pm and four barges on the East River light something like more than 21 different fires in a truly breathtaking spectacle.

    4th of July Fireworks: Best Places to Watch Them

    There are two best solutions to observe the 4th of July fireworks: take a cruise on the East River with dinner, music and then observe the fires from a privileged position at the same height as the barges from which they depart or enjoy them from above sipping a cocktail on one of the outdoor terraces of the main New York skyscrapers. However, both hypotheses have a cost, in some cases even quite high.

    For those who prefer not to spend too much money there are numerous ideal places to see the best, and for free, the fireworks show organized by Macy's. In Manhattan the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Drive it is perfect because it runs along the river and is closed to traffic between Pier 6 and Montgomery Street for the occasion. In particular, I suggest you choose a street between 42nd, 34th, 23rd or Houston Street and FDR Drive. Obviously it is one of the most popular places so I recommend you arrive early in the afternoon. Also from Brooklyn the view is great: the best places are Grand Ferry Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park and East River Park.

    Hot Dog Eating Contest

    Il Nathan’s International Hot Dog Eating Contest, as mentioned, takes place annually on July 4th at Nathan's in Coney Island, at 1310 Surf Avenue. The first race took place in 1972 and today it has now become a fixture on American Independence Day. Challengers must eat as many hot dogs in ten minutes and, for the moment, the record is 74 sandwiches and belongs to Joey Chestnut who seems to be unbeatable as he has won the last 11 races of the year.

    And there is also the all-female challenge: in this case the winner is in her fifth consecutive first place and is called Miki Sudo. Live music, live televisions and many onlookers participate in the two races: the women's one at 10:50 and the men's one at 12:00. Everyone can participate: just have the stomach!

    Mostly Mozart Festival

    The Mostly Mozart Festival is a classical music festival with concerts, operas and musical performances generally held in New York in the second half of July. The protagonist is the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra which performs in the David Geffen Hall of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts at 10 Lincoln Center Plaza. Other locations are Alice Tully Hall, Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, Rose Theater and Merkin Concert Hall. The list of events and tickets can be purchased via the official website. 

    NYC Poetry Festival

    The New York City Poetry Festival is the perfect event for poetry lovers. It is generally held the last weekend of July and welcomes 250 poets who perform on five different stages. The festival takes place on Governors Island, easily accessible by ferry from both Manhattan and Brooklyn. In addition to poetry, music, food, books, crafts and even a festival dedicated to children cannot be missing. Admission to the event is free and ferry tickets to the island cost a few dollars.

    CityPark Summer Stage

    There is no shortage of outdoor events in New York and CityParks SummerStage is definitely the largest free outdoor festival taking place in Central Park and 18 other parks of the city between May and October. Over 100 totally free performances are scheduled every year, giving space not only to already renowned musicians, but also to artists new to the American music scene. Check on the official website which are the concerts and performances that will take place in the days of July when you are in New York.

    Shakespeare in the Park

    In 1954 the theater producer and director Joseph Papp conceived a festival to celebrate the great Shakespeare and theater in general with the aim of making it accessible to everyone. The perfect location was the most important park in New York: Central Park. The shows were initially held on the Lower East Side, then moved to the Turtle Pond area in Central Park. After a heated legal battle between park administrator Robert Moses who demanded a payment for the use of the grassy area of ​​Central Park which was inevitably ruined with the event and Papp who did not want to pay because the performances were free and for all, Moses lost the case but still obtained funds and permits to build an amphitheater in the park. Since 1961, the year it was inaugurated, the Delacorte Theater has been hosting the performances of the actors of Free Shakespeare in the Park every year.

    The theatrical productions are organized by The Public Theater, which every year promotes two shows based on Shakespearean masterpieces: the first show is staged in May and June, while the second a July and August. In the past, actors of the caliber of Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway have been part of the theatrical body. Tickets are distributed free of charge on the same day of the theatrical event for a maximum of two per person in front of the Delacorte Theater. Be prepared for a long line - in fact, many are already waiting at 6:00 am when the park opens and wait until 12:00 when tickets are distributed.

    Another way to get tickets is to be one of the winners of the lottery designed just for the event. Lottery tickets are distributed at The Public Theater at 425 Lafayette Street. There is also a digital lottery, whose tickets are given via the TodayTix app. Finally, with a donation of at least $ 500 you become Official Supporters of the main New York theatrical event of the year and you are entitled to two tickets with assigned seats.

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