Fireworks, Festivals, and Feasts: Your Guide to 4th of July Weekend in NYC


You’re staying in New York City for the long Independence Day weekend, but that doesn’t mean these three glorious summer days have to be same old, same old. Whether you’re waving the Star Spangled Banner and celebrating the country’s 240th birthday… or just cracking a brew on that extra day out of the office, here are some of the most fun ways you can spend your 4th of July weekend. Or you could just see Independence Day: Resurgence. (Or not.)

You Are Here (Trouble Maze) Music Festival 

Through Monday, July 4

Knockdown Center

52-19 Flushing Avenue, Queens; 347-915-5615


In ancient Greek myth, a ball of string helped save Theseus from getting lost in a labyrinth. The You Are Here Festival does things a little differently: It is the string that keeps you inside. Walls strung with wires — transparent, but not traversable — box you in to a performance space that knows no rhyme or reason, turning the concept of a traditional concert on its head. Attendees are pulled this way and that through the life-size labyrinth, powerless to find the “right” path. Instead, they must navigate a space where all paths are correct — and filled to the brim with art installations, musicians, and more. Curated by the art group Trouble, You Are Here infuses a chaotic performance space with an air of mystery thanks to installations and performances that can only be found through the sheer luck of stumbling through fanciful passageways. — Tatiana Craine

“occasions and other occurences”

Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through July 17


541 West 22nd Street; 212-989-5566


Berlin-based artist Isabel Lewis is hosting a series of happenings at Dia’s Chelsea and Beacon locations through July 17 that promise to be way hipper than your pals’ Fourth of July shindigs. On consecutive Fridays (in Chelsea) and Saturdays (at Long Dock Park in Beacon), partake in Lewis’s brand of relational aesthetics, which she calls “occasions.” Twee title aside, we expect something sexier, what with her promise of a DJ set and dancing in an avant-cool setting featuring funky foliage, furniture, and an olfactory intervention by fragrance artist Sissel Tolaas, who will actually curate the air. Also prepare for the possibility of an artist lecture, but don’t fret if you’re bored — Lewis tells us that the crowd’s mood dictates the evening. So if you’re not feeling her, demand she do something else. — Jessica Dawson

Narcissa’s Fourth of July Lobster Bake

Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 11:30 a.m. — 8:00 p.m.

The Standard, East Village

25 Cooper Square; 212-228-3344


Chef John Fraser, a man known as a vegetable expert, is getting a little more traditional in commemoration of the nation’s birthday. For the entire Fourth of July weekend, Narcissa will be hosting a high-end, rain-or-shineLobster Bake picnic on the Standard, East Village’s South Garden Terrace. For $60 per person, there will be lobsters, spare ribs, clams, mussels, New Jersey corn, Hudson Valley potatoes, and cupcakes. You can drink at an additional cost, but this menu on its own will probably get you hyped enough for America. — Alicia Kennedy

Red, White, and Beer

Saturday, July 2 at 4:30 p.m.

Murray’s Cheese Shop

254 Bleecker Street; 212-243-3289


The cheese geniuses at Murray’s — who have been hawking the gooey stuff since 1940 — want you to celebrate the Fourth of July by pairing their top-shelf wares with some of the best craft brews from around the country. Today, join them for Red, White, and Beer,” a late-afternoon session imparting several key facts about how cheese and beer complement each other. They’ll send you off to your evening barbecues with knowledge to spread to all your friends — starting with a nice bûche de chèvre on a cracker. — Alicia Kennedy

Fourth World

Saturday, July 2 at 1:00 p.m.

Location TBD


There’s no shortage of ways to celebrate Fourth of July weekend in New York, and those willing to venture outside the mainstream could do worse than an eighteen-hour techno marathon. For the fourth Independence Day in a row, the folks behind lauded ongoing parties the Long Count and Closed Circuit host a cross-section of the rising stars of Brooklyn’s techno and experimental electronic scenes. You could call this the Brooklyn States of Techno, with delegates from all the best places: DJs Patrick Russell and Clay Wilson of the Bunker, Discwoman’s Umfang and Via App, Unter’s Modest Glesman, Sublimate’s Sagotsky, and L.I.E.S.’s Antenes will all be there, along with over two dozen more DJs. It starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday the second and “ends” (likely a soft deadline) at 7 a.m. on the third, at a to-be-announced Brooklyn space. According to the Fourth World‘s Facebook event page, the venue promises to provide both outside and indoor spaces, free hot dogs, and, crucially for regulars at these sorts of things, who are used to long porta-potty lines, “an abundance of clean toilets.” God bless America. — Sophie Weiner

Fear of Men

Saturday, July 2 at 9:00 p.m.

Bowery Ballroom

6 Delancey Street; 212-533-2111


On 2016’s Fall Forever, the Brighton band Fear of Men abandoned the indie-pop leanings of their prior LP to delve into much darker territory. “I’ll burn my body on the fire…I’m as clean as the shame will allow,” lead vocalist Jessica Weiss sings on devastating highlight “Trauma.” The album is more postpunk than pop, featuring spacious compositions with machine gun drums, ominous bowed bass, and somber synths under Weiss’s bleakly lilting melodies. Joining the trio for this show are L.A. duo Puro Instinct, whose new album, Autodrama, their first release since 2011, arrived late last month. Puro Instinct sound like standard dream-pop run through a psychedelic blender, producing spaced-out tracks like “Panarchy,” billowing with endless reverb and the occasional saxophone solo. Elsewhere, as on the single “Tell Me,” the band go for a more straightforward synthpop nostalgia. — Sophie Weiner

Mets vs. Marlins

Monday, July 4 at 4:10 p.m. 

Citi Field

123-01 Roosevelt Avenue, Queens, 718-507-8499


When the season started, most of the Mets faithful would have sniffed over a game with the Miami Marlins. But as we go to press, the Mets and the Marlins are neck and neck for second place in the National League East, and a prolonged fight for a wild-card spot — or, who knows, even the division title — is a possibility. So this one is important. The postgame Fourth of July fireworks display will be launched from both the roof and the center-field grass for a 360-degree experience. And prices are reasonable: We don’t often recommend ticket services, but Ticket Liquidator has some as low as $12; starts at $20. — Allen Barra

Liberty Belle Extravaganza

Monday, July 4 at 5:00 p.m.

The DL

95 Delancey Street


Patriotism is not an easy thing to muster in 2016. For those who still want to celebrate the holiday while forgetting our contemporary political climate, the annual Liberty Belle Extravaganza is a good way out. Rather than celebrate America as it is, it celebrates the best of twentieth-century American culture: swing and roots bands, burlesque, and vintage fashion dating from the Thirties through the Sixties. Playing throughout the day are the Gordon Webster Sextet, local rockabilly stars Sit & Die Co., and the Dandy Wellington Band, whose leader (Dandy Wellington, naturally) is at least the best-dressed emcee in town, if not simply the flat-out best. Let him take you away for an afternoon of dancing, drinking, and refined merriment, and you might believe this country can be a fun place to live (if not quite a great one). — Zoë Beery 

Rooftop Fireworks

Monday, July 4 at 7:00 p.m.

McCarren Hotel & Pool

160 North 12th Street, Brooklyn; 718-218-7500


It’s not July 4th without an eruption of fireworks, and what better place to watch them from than the top of Williamsburg’s McCarren Hotel & Pool? The setting provides an ideal view of the city skyline and the East River, where the light show will be going off. Sleepy & Boo are DJ’ing, along with some special guests, and there will be hors d’oeuvres and Champagne. Drop a little more money and you can snag a V.I.P. seat to make sure you don’t miss a single flicker of the display. — Alicia Kennedy