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Travel

Fourth of July in New York City

Several summers ago, I began a new tradition for the 4th of July — traveling to a place that’s festive for the holiday. Last year, I went to Washington D.C., which was great, but this year I thought it would be a nice to check off a bucket list item by going somewhere I’ve always wanted to go for the fourth; New York City.

Fireworks in DUMBO

Fireworks

Due to my work schedule, I actually flew to the city on July 4th. This made everything easy as most activities were planned around where we wanted to see fireworks.

My main goal for the entire night was to be on the Brooklyn side of NYC for the show. I felt that if I were to take pictures of fireworks and everything leading up to that, it would great to have the New York City skyline in the background.

Unfortunately, I did not account for a couple of issues that materialized along the way such as the Brooklyn Bridge being closed as a safety precaution.  Although it was open to foot traffic, it was so full that it was impossible to gain access, so we were forced to go an alternate, longer route.  That added time to our arrival to the borough. Because of this, we were late getting to DUMBO and were ultimately stuck watching from wherever we could see anything. We did get lucky, however, and found a spot at an excellent restaurant called 7 Old Fulton next to where people were waiting to watch the show.  The staff there was very nice and accommodating, especially since we didn’t have a reservation!  

From my experience, I would say if you want to watch fireworks in Brooklyn, you cannot plan it as a night time only activity, it has to be an all-day event.  And, if you watch from the Brooklyn side, plan to stay there for a while after the fireworks as the bridge is closed and public transportation in addition to cabs are over capacity!

Fireworks in DUMBO

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

I have been to New York at least six times in my life. Each time I visit, even as a kid, it was a goal of mine to see the Statue of Liberty. Along with other tourist activities in NYC, the Statue was by far the most important for me. Usually, the only reason that I had not been to this sight on prior trips was due to time constraints. It really takes half a day. But this time, I made it a priority to be on the first boat out at 8am.

Statue of Liberty - Fourth of July

I would definitely recommend going if you have never been. It is truly a remarkable experience, highlighted by the new Statue of Liberty museum. There is so much history behind Lady Liberty and the museum now helps visitors understand that sentiment even more. It was especially meaningful to go the morning after seeing fireworks in New York for the fourth. 

In addition, to the statue, we also visited Ellis Island. Having the opportunity to see where your relatives arrived as new immigrants in addition to hearing the stories of those who came to this country to seek a better life is an incredible experience. If you’re going to either the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island for the first time, I think you have to go to both. There were aspects that I pulled from each place that completed the entire experience.

Wrapping up

A couple more activities that I took part in on this trip were visits to:

Each of these will have its own post in the coming weeks. Stay Tuned!

Notable Places

I wanted to include some of the notable places that I ate and stopped at.

Zabar’s. Located on the Upper West side, this grocery/deli has been a place that was on my list to visit for some time thanks to a recommendation by my friend Matt. Not only does it offer a great variety of deli items, but it was also the location for a music video for the band Vampire Weekend. If you click the hyperlink of their it will take you to that video. I’m a big fan of the band, so the fact they shot it at Zabar’s made me want to go even more. The main reason I wanted visit this establishment, however, was because I love Lox (Smoked Salmon) Bagels, so I will go to great lengths to get a good one.  And, Zabar’s did not disappoint! 

Zabars

Laughing Man Coffee. This was one coffee shop that I wish I had Saturday Strolled, but unfortunately, I was in a hurry when I went. The next time I go to New York City, it is at the top of my list. It was started by Hugh Jackman and was inspired by a trip he made to Ethiopia. 100% of the profits for this coffee shop go to his Laughing Man Foundation where they focus on supporting educational programs, community development, and social entrepreneurs around the world. Definitely check out Laughing Man Coffee for a great Flat White!

Laughing Man Coffee New York City

Museum of Jewish Heritage

Although I did not mention this museum separately, I wanted to include it in my overall blog for this trip. Currently, the museum has an exhibition exclusively about Auschwitz. Going through it was very powerful as there were an incredible number of pieces to view throughout including an actual prisoner barrack. After leaving, I did see on the website that there were more than, “700 original objects and 400 photographs from over 20 institutions and museums around the world.”

I view myself as having a have and a decent amount of knowledge about concentration camps and the Holocaust from past reading, but even going through this museum, there was so much more that I did not know about. While I knew about the camp as the obvious murder compound, I did not know anything about the location in general or the history leading up to just that one camp. One aspect that I found to be very powerful was there were many visual representations that gave insight to how vast the site was. This is displayed specifically by a diagram as well as a model that are part of the exhibit that show almost every aspect of the camp. 

I would definitely recommend going to the museum if you are in New York, especially near Battery Park where it is located. This exhibition goes until January 3, 2020. 

Where I stayed

Conrad New York Downtown. I have stayed here for the last two visits and I could not have been more pleased with each experience. While you do not get the late-night rush that staying in other parts of NYC will bring, you get away from a lot of the noise. It is a very nice hotel with spacious rooms, something that is rare when you stay in the city. The Conrad also has incredible amenities within the room, such as a Nespresso machine, a walk-in shower, and Hudson River views. I would definitely recommend the Conrad if you are staying in New York City. 

Conrad New York City

Final Thoughts

New York City for the 4th of July is a fun place to be, but it comes with a caveat. It is only fun if you go with a plan. There are a lot more people than at other times throughout the year which delays where you go and what you do. If you decide to see fireworks, especially from Brooklyn, plan to go hours before they start, and stay for a while afterward.  Definitely, do not wing it. Both NYC and DC have great attractions and provide meaningful July 4thexperiences.   

New York City Skyline

Thank you for reading!

-Todd

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August 22, 2019

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