07/30/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

NYC FIREWORKS: Where To Watch, More Fourth Of July Activities

This Fourth of July not only marks the U.S.'s 233rd birthday, but also the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's discovery voyage of his eponymous river. Macy's Fireworks Extravaganza should be all the more lavish this year, so whatever borough you call home, be sure to strike out early for prime viewing real estate. Note, however, that to celebrate the historic event, Macy's will hold the show over the Hudson this year, not the East River. That's right, West Siders and New Jerseyans, after 33 years of East River hegemony, you're back on top! Brooklyn, Queens: all apologies.

Wherever you watch, 1010 WINS will be playing an "original Fireworks soundtrack" according to the folks at Macy's. Fireworks begin at 9 p.m.; beforehand, there will be a show by the FDNY Fireboat and an Air National Guard jet flyover.

In Manhattan, Macy's recommends viewing from 12th Ave., with access points on 11th Ave. at 24th St., 26th-30th Sts., 34th St., 40-44th Sts., 47th-52nd Sts., and 54th-57th Sts. Also try DeWitt Clinton Park on 11th Ave. and 52nd St. This year Battery Park City will not be open to the public for viewing.

In New Jersey, opt for Hoboken and Weehawken this year, although Jersey City will have a passable view.

Brooklyn and Queens are bad viewing options so if possible, head to Manhattan or New Jersey. Or, for those who can't be bothered with coolers, mosquitoes and the collective sweat of a million patriots, there's always the broadcast on NBC.

Before the fireworks begin, there are a number of events going on around the city to get you in the mood. In the morning, head to Coney Island's international hot dog-eating contest, where champion rivals Joey Chestnut, last year's winner, and Takeru Kobayashi, formerly a six time champ, will battle for the title of ultimate eater.

In the afternoon, watch Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band with Jenny Lewis at the River to River Festival's free concert in Battery Park. The concert starts at 3:30 p.m., but get there early to avoid huge crowds; there are no tickets, so it's first come, first serve.

If you're more interested in the history of the day, go on a walking tour of the island's Revolutionary War hot spots with Big Onion Walking Tours. The tour stops by Alexander Hamilton's grave and Federal Hall and elsewhere of historical note. Meet at the intersection of Broadway and Murray Street at 1 p.m. (Tickets are $15.)