At 9 p.m. Sunday, Macy's begins its annual Fourth of July fireworks display (taking place on the Hudson, for the second year in a row). The entire event lasts only 26 minutes, so the time to figure out where you'll sit for the colorful display is now. Here are four options for all budgets:
1. 230 FIFTH
WHAT At some 22,000 square feet, this sprawling rooftop bar near Madison Square Park can accommodate hundreds of revelers just a few blocks from the fireworks display and with some of the best views of midtown's skyscrapers every night of the year.
WHERE 230 Fifth Ave. at 27th Street
INFO No cover, 212-725-4300, 230-fifth.com
2. FASHION 26
WHAT The Rare View rooftop bar at this new North Chelsea hotel will put you even closer to the fireworks barges. Rare View is in its "soft opening" phase this weekend, so while the menu is limited, it should be easier to get a seat.
WHERE The Fashion 26 Hotel, 152 W. 26th St.
INFO No cover, 212-858-5888, f26nyc.com
3. PIER 66 MARITIME
WHAT This former railroad barge, converted into a pier on the Hudson, is one of the few venues where it's possible to view the fireworks from west of the West Side Highway. The tickets to this benefit evening aren't cheap, but it's for a good cause: the North River Historic Ship Society, which supports historic ships in New York Harbor.
WHERE Pier 66 Maritime, at 26th Street
INFO $200, 212-757-1600, nrhss.org
4. ON THE WATER
WHAT A somewhat pricier option to avoid the crowds is to take to the water. We recommend either the 21/2-hour cruise on the intimate Classic Harbor Line Adirondack Schooner or, if you're looking for a louder and more social celebration, try the Circle Line's four-hour cruise.
WHERE Classic Harbor cruise departs at 8:45 p.m. from Chelsea Piers, just south of 23rd Street; the Circle Line cruise departs at 7 p.m. from 42nd Street, just south of the Intrepid.
INFO Classic Harbor: $300 (includes open bar, appetizers and dessert), 646-336-5270; sail-nyc.com; Circle Line: $79 (food and drink for sale), 212-563-3200; circleline42.com - JOHN NEWTON