Thursday, July 7, 2011

Independence Day, Hoboken Style

Alternate title: Hobokendependence Day!

After our fun patriotic concert on July 2nd, we were feeling good and ready for the actual Fourth of July. We had plans to take in the street festival that was supposedly going to be happening along the riverfront, and hang out all day to stake out a good spot for fireworks-watching.

Well, apparently I suck at Googling, because the information I found about the street festival was for last year. And apparently it was so awful last year that they decided not to do it again this year? Really, I don't know why, but there was no festival of any kind to be found this year. Bummer!

But, we still left the apartment around 1:00 p.m. to roam around our Mile Square City and scope out good fireworks-watching locations. We took the dog with us, all dressed in his patriotic best. We walked down and around Pier A Park, where some people were already camping out in the grass, then back up past our apartment to more riverside walkways. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, so we were really enjoying our walk.

With Achilles in Pier A Park

Family photo!

We decided that heading to the riverfront north of us would give us the best angle on the fireworks. Because it was still crowd-less up there, we decided to go back home and have lunch before returning to claim our spot. We dined on hot dogs, corn on the cob, watermelon and my lovely red, white and blue cake (although it really turned out pink, white and blue, but the thought was there).


Mmm, cake.

After our delicious lunch, we spent a little while relaxing around the apartment. Achilles and I may or may not have taken a short nap.


Around 5:00, Eric and I decided it was time to start camping out. We figured we were probably still a bit early, but living in New York for a few years has majorly altered our sense of how long is appropriate to wait around for an event. (Remember when we waited seven hours in one degree weather in Times Square on New Year's Eve? What were we thinking?) Since we are still on New York wait-time, we didn't want to risk losing a good spot because we waited too long. Plus, it was a gorgeous afternoon (way more than one degree this time!), so we figured why not kill time outside with our Kindles, rather than inside on our laptops? So, off we went.

As I mentioned, we decided our best bet was to head north just a few blocks from our apartment. We tried to gauge what New York street we likely lined up with, because we knew the fireworks barges would be set up roughly from 23rd Street up to 50th, give or take a few. When we thought we had the perfect angle, we set up our blanket, chairs and umbrella. We relaxed there for quite some time.

Relaxing on the waterfront

My view of Eric!

Happy campers

We were early enough that we were able to see the barges sail on past us to get into their final positions. We were surprised at how much further north they went than we expected - apparently our perspective was skewed, because it looked like the lowest barge was still north of the Empire State Building, at 34th Street. We must have been at a weird angle, but I'm still not quite sure how our judgment was so off.

One of the six Macy's barges about to pass Chelsea Piers

Barges passing downtown Manhattan as they make their way up the Hudson River

We also saw a blimp race, although we didn't realize that was what it was at first. Three blimps were neck and neck coming north from the Statue of Liberty area, and eventually one pulled ahead. Blimp race! Who knew?

I snapped this bad boy with my Blackberry as I laid on the ground with my Kindle. Look at that beautiful blue sky!

Around 7:00 I decided to go to Subway to pick up some dinner for us. While I was gone, there was an F-15 flyover that we heard long before we saw it. I was able to catch it in between buildings as I walked, but Eric got to see it pass over the skyline. Then, around 8:00, we had another flyover - this time it was the NYPD helicopters. Such entertainment!

Fancy planes flying on by

Helicopters passing over the skyline

Soon the sun began to set, which lit up the New York City skyline beautifully.

Gorgeous colors!

These geese kept swimming back and forth past us - I guess even geese like fireworks! (Although they're facing the wrong way...)

By this time, the river was becoming increasingly populated with boats filled with people ready to watch the fireworks. We spent quite some time watching one NY Water Taxi boat creep further and further north, only to have a little Coast Guard boat come zipping right out to push them back. Then a few minutes later, that Water Taxi crept way back up...and the Coast Guard came zipping right back over. Lather, rinse, repeat about a hundred times.

The Water Taxi in question, with the little orange Coast Guard boat in front of it.

Soon, the sun was gone and the city lights turned on. I never get tired of that sight.

Of course, the Empire State Building was lit up red, white and blue for the occasion.

Such a view.

Before we knew it, it was fireworks time! What an easy 4.5 hour wait that was. However, when the fireworks started, we were very surprised again at how much further south we were than we had thought. We had thought our angle would give us great shots of the fireworks around the Empire State Building, but our perspective was just so off and it was not what we expected.

But, who can complain when you're watching one of the best fireworks displays in the country live, just a few blocks from your home? The show was as spectacular as ever. I just love fireworks, don't you?

Let's start the show!

This looks like a Gator firework - orange and blue!

Bursts of color over the skyline

These little guys looked like jellyfish or torpedoes or something. They were cool.

A better idea of our perspective - Empire State Building on the far right, and fireworks shooting off all six barges to the left.

Red, white and blue!

So pretty.

The big finish!

Of course, the best way to experience fireworks (other than in person) is through video, so here is a little montage I made of our Fourth of July on the Hudson:

VIDEO: Our Fourth of July

It's really pretty fun to be a part of such a big crowd during a fireworks display like this. Everyone cheered and ooh-ed and aaah-ed at the appropriate moments, which makes it even more fun. Plus, at the end of the show, all the boats on the river started blowing their horns as applause (you probably heard it in the video!). Such a fun atmosphere. I just love the Fourth of July!

Another great Fourth of July together!

After the show we made our way home through the crowds, where we settled in on our couch to watch the whole thing again on TV through the magic of DVR. Of course, we also had to watch the Brad Paisley performances, and we enjoyed seeing the fireworks again but with musical accompaniment the second time around. As we relived it all on TV, we were also able to see more fireworks out to the west over New Jersey from our living room window.

All in all, I would say our first Hoboken Fourth of July was a success. We had a fabulous holiday, and I hope you did, too!


Steph said...

Those fireworks are truly amazing!!

Anonymous said...

Looks like an amazing 4th girl, that cake is such a cute idea!!! Great firework pics too :-)-Lauren/moderndaywife

KT @ KT's Refinishing School said...

Achilles looks quite proud in his attire! I bet he was bummed he couldn't show off to more people :)

Those pictures you took were amazing and looked very professional!

I have to know, did you see yourselves in the crowd during the Brad Paisley special?!