Long Islanders are fortunate to have Jones Beach and its annual fireworks spectacular nearby but as the nation celebrates the Fourth of July, there are also other ways to toast 243 years of independence locally.
For those who want a head start on local festivities, the “Alive on 25” street festival and fireworks may be the way to get it. The first of the series’ four events is Wednesday in downtown Riverhead. Taking place on Main Street, the free event will showcase six stages of live music, local vendors, food trucks and plenty of activities for children.
Fireworks will take place Wednesday around 9 p.m. in Grangebel Park, by Bay Fireworks. A shuttle will loop around the area, with stops at the Riverhead train station, Griffing Avenue, Peconic Riverfront entrance and the bus shelter at the front of the County Center. Beginning at 3 p.m., Main Street will be closed from Ostrander Avenue to Griffing Avenue. Peconic Avenue will be closed from Main Street to the Rte. 24 traffic circle in Flanders, as well. Roads should reopen after 10 p.m., according to a Riverhead Town Police Department news release.
Jones Beach State Park will host its annual fireworks spectacular Thursday, starting at 9:30 p.m. with fireworks by Millington, New Jersey-based Garden State Fireworks. The show will last 30 minutes and can be watched on land or from the water. A $10 parking fee will be charged from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
George Gorman, regional director of Long Island state parks, estimated about 150,000 people may come to Jones Beach in Wantagh for the 9:30 show.
The fireworks barge anchors 2,000 feet off the beach, which means “everyone on the beach will have a great view,” he said.
Traffic typically intensifies at Jones Beach, starting around 8:30 p.m. As Robert Moses tends to fill up, officials will direct the overflow to Heckscher State Park, Gorman said.
Security measures at Jones Beach include a drone that will be flown by the New York State Park Police and additional cameras monitoring the central mall traffic and walkways as well as various barricades, baggage searches and other measures Gorman declined to disclose.
In New York City, fireworks barges will be moored in the East River just south of the Brooklyn Bridge, a shift from last year when they were stationed farther up the river and closer to Queens. The fireworks show is expected to begin at 9:25 p.m., officials said. An area will be set up for physically disabled viewers at Murray Bergstraum High School's track and field facility on the East Side of Manhattan.
Billy Joel fans can rest assured that their Fourth of July will be filled with some tunes they’d like to hear, thanks to two events paying tribute to the native Long Islander.
The “Captain Jack: Billy Joel Tribute 4th of July Concert” at the Long Island Community Hospital Amphitheater at Bald Hill in Farmingville will begin at 5:30 p.m., with fireworks starting at 9:15 p.m. Gates will open at 5 p.m., and the Suffolk County police Sixth Precinct has advised that North Ocean Avenue, Mooney Pond Road and Granny Road will all be closed in both directions between 7 p.m. and about 11 p.m.
Glen Cove’s Annual Fourth of July Celebration at Morgan Memorial Park, also featuring a Billy Joel Tribute Band — The Lords of 52nd Street — will begin at 7:30 p.m., with fireworks starting at 9 p.m.
“The band alone may bring an extra thousand to two thousand people,” Glen Cove Police Lt. John Nagle said. The event itself will host about three thousand to four thousand guests.
Glen Cove Mayor Timothy Tenke has restricted parking in the areas of Shorecrest and Morgan Estates to the odd side of the street and no parking will be permitted on either side of Red Spring Lane.
Nagle advised visitors to bring their own chairs and leave alcohol at home, as no alcohol is permitted in the park.
A lighthearted start to the day can be found at Heritage Park in Mount Sinai, home to the Parade of American Flags, during which Boy Scout Troop 454 will arrange national, state, territory and local flags along a walkway where guests can step through the nation’s history, said Noelle Dunlap, assistant director of fundraising and events. The flags will be flown from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is free.
In Port Jefferson, the Independence Day Parade, beginning at the Infant Jesus Church parking lot, steps off at 10 a.m., making a left onto West Broadway, followed by a left onto Barnum Avenue. Main Street will close at 9 a.m., along with any road connecting to Main Street from North Country Road to the waterfront. Paradegoers are advised to arrive before 9 a.m. The parade will end at the firehouse on Maple Place, where attendees will find hot dogs and refreshments.
Stars Over Montauk, sponsored by the Montauk Chamber of Commerce, will display fireworks from 9 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Umbrella Beach. Guests should arrive around 8 p.m. to find a parking spot in the beach parking lot, said Laraine Creegan, executive director of the Montauk Chamber of Commerce.
“The view is beautiful,” Creegan said. “[Umbrella Beach] is where the old Montauk Highway and new Montauk Highway meet. People from Hero Beach Motel, all the way back going east would have a great view, even from town.”
Valley Stream’s annual Fourth of July Fireworks Show at 300 Emerson Place is expected to host thousands this year. Gates will open at 5 p.m., with fireworks going off about 9:15 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance, if purchased at the Arthur J. Hendrickson Park and Pool Complex or Village Hall, and $10 at the gate. Roads immediately surrounding Firemen’s Memorial Field will be closed at 5 p.m., but guests can park at the Hendrickson Park and Pool Complex, where a bus will be available to shuttle them to the park.
Starting at 9:20 p.m., the Village of Asharoken will display fireworks as well. These can be watched by guests at their homes, and anyone who’d like to join. Fireworks will be launched from a barge in the Long Island Sound.
With Joan Gralla