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Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Hudson Valley Fourth and Fireworks

Where to go and what to do locally this holiday weekend.

New York City may have the annual Macy’s fireworks display, boasting 40,000 pyrotechnic shells and two full miles of ooh- and ahh-worthy explosions, but there’s plenty of fantastic Fourth of July color — and fun — to be found close to home.

So with Katy Perry’s voice going boom, boom, boom inside our heads, we’ve created an essential guide to fireworks displays and Fourth of July getaways to fit every mood and moment:

IT’S TRADITION
Port Chester is known for a vibrant restaurant scene that regularly draws visitors from near and far. But it also hosts one of the most impressive fireworks displays throughout the Hudson Valley. Join this longtime family tradition by coming to Ryan Stadium at Port Chester High School, 1 Tamarack Rd., on July 4, well in time for a 9 p.m. fireworks by the famed Grucci family. The only other local display by the “first family of fireworks” this year will be at Spark the Sound in New Rochelle, which is rain or shine at 9:30 p.m. on the July 4 on the city’s waterfront. New Rochelle suggests the best views can be found at either Hudson and Five Islands Parks or among its waterfront restaurants. The Grucci tradition dates back to 1850 in Bari, Italy, and they count among their clients the Sultanate of Dubai and ABC’s The Bachelor.

SAIL AWAY
The picturesque village of Cold Spring in Putnam County offers an impressive family friendly fireworks display right on the Hudson River, regularly drawing thousands to its Dockside Park, and features a maritime visitor that elevates it above your average flash-boom pyrotechnics. Once settled you’ll find fantastic Hudson River views, face-painting, music and food. The Sloop Clearwater docks at the park for two days this year, which is a great treat for kids and boating enthusiasts. The 106-foot wood replica of an old Dutch sailing sloop — which doubles as a floating clean water classroom — will return this year with free deck tours from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and paid public sails from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on both July 3 and 4. Fees are $50 for adults, $35 for members and $15 for children 12 and under. Reserve spots online here. (The Clearwater will also dock in Beacon on July 2 with free deck tours from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and paid public sails from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.) If you arrive early in Cold Spring, on-street parking can be found just a 5- to 10-minute walk from the riverfront taking you past some of the best preserved 19th century structures among all the Rivertowns. There is also a Metro-North stop just steps away from the water. Fireworks start at 9:15 p.m.

ON THE WATERFRONT
The Hudson River continues to be the star of the local July Fourth show with these festivities and fireworks displays:
Peekskill hosts a 10 a.m. parade on July 4 — the route is Highland Avenue, Division Street, South Street, Hudson Avenue, ending at Railroad Avenue — and a concert featuring The Bad Habits and fireworks at 7:30 p.m. at Riverfront Green, Route 9 and Hudson Avenue. Fireworks at dusk.
Dobbs Ferry will be sponsoring a fireworks display July 4 at the Waterfront Park. The celebration begins at 12 noon with official opening ceremonies and a flag raising by the American Legion Post # 1048 Honor Guard. Master of Ceremonies Joe Rooney will entertain the crowd with music. Then, from 2-5 p.m., a bouncy castle and slide for the kids. Fireworks after shortly after sunset.
Sleepy Hollow is hosting fireworks on the riverfront on July 4 at 9 p.m., Kingsland Point Park.

BRIGHT LIGHTS, BEYONCE
If you you are heading downtown for the city’s Hudson riverfront for the Macy’s display, it’s best to take public transit. Check Metro-North for details, but the railroad will operate on a Sunday schedule with extra service on the New Haven and Harlem Lines, including two “post-fireworks” trains from Grand Central. Macy’s recommends getting to locations along the West Side Highway from 22nd to 59th Streets by 5 p.m. for prime viewing real estate. There will be an FDNY Fireboat Water Show and a military flyover of four F-15's from the Air National Guard's 104th Fighter Wing. NBC will also show the 26-minute long display live starting at 9 p.m. Entertainment includes Beyonce, Braid Paisley and more.

BY THE TZ’S LEE LIGHT
Nyack offers a Family Day Celebration and fireworks starting at 8 p.m. on July 4 at Memorial Park at 53 Piermont Ave.
Pearl River will host an Independence Day celebration July 4 at Central Avenue Field with the Rockland County Concert Band at 7 p.m. and then fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

FOURTH, 1800s STYLE
Modern stresses got you down? Curious about what it was like to experience Independence Day in 1851? Head to Tarrytown to find out. Sunnyside will host ice cream-making demonstrations, period sports and house tours. From 11 a.m.-3 p.m. W. Sunnyside Lane.
If Mount Vernon is closer, head over to the Independence Day Celebration at St. Paul’s Church National Historic Site at 10:30 a.m. Columbus Ave., Mount Vernon.

PURE AMERICANA
For even more unadorned historic fun, Katonah’s John Jay Homestead is hosting with the Bedford-Armonk Rotary a July 4th Jamboree from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. at the Homestead. Games, food, a reading of the Declaration of Independence, even a contest to see if your pet has what it takes to be a star. Proceeds from the event will help support the John Jay Homestead, SPCA of Westchester and local community organizations.
Larchmont is hosting races, games and free hot dogs at Flint Park, off Hommocks Rd., sponsored by the Larchmont Fire Department. Stop by at 10 a.m. on July 4.

SOUNDING OFF
There are still plenty more options for those on the Sound Shore. Playland in Rye beefs up its usual summer-time fireworks with displays on July 1, July 3 and 4, then every Wednesday and Friday evening through Sept. 2 at the Westchester County-run park. All shows start at 9:15 p.m. Parking is $5 weekdays and $7 weekends and $10 on July 4. More details and admission prices here.
Mamaroneck’s fireworks off Harbor Island Park are another winner. Starts at dusk on July 4. Boston Post Road, at the intersection of Mamaroneck Avenue.

MILITARY MIGHT
West Point is a short hop for most in the area and a scenic drive to boot. Stop by the famed military academy for music and fireworks, starting at 8 p.m. on July 4 but security is tight, so come early and bring ID. There is plenty to see and do at West Point, so it’s natural to make the day of it. Exceptional river views from Trophy Point. The music is also notable. For northern Westchester-ites who don’t feel like trekking across the river, West Point’s fireworks can often be seen from Garrison, which is hosting its own Independence Day celebration. (See below for details.)

SWEET SWING AND SOUSA
Speaking of music, Caramoor in Katonah is the place to be this holiday weekend for music lovers. On July 3, it hosts at 8 p.m. “Pops, Patriots and Fireworks” show, a mix of music and pageantry featuring the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, an ensemble called “gorgeously polished” by The Washington Post. Tickets range from $30-$70 with children under 16 half price. Fireworks are for Caramoor concert ticket holders only. Parking is free on-site on a first-come, first-serve basis. If that fills, more parking will be made available with a free shuttle bus. Fireworks begin 15-20 minutes after the concert concludes and picnicking is welcome.
Boscobel Restoration in Garrison is another perfect destination for music lovers — a 22-piece band celebrating the Big Band sound will play on July 4. You can begin picnicking (food also available for purchase) at 6 p.m. For details and to purchase advance tickets (recommended) click here. Tickets are $16 adults, $14 seniors, $9 ages 6-14, free under 5.

EARLY BIRDS
If you just can’t wait until July 4 to get your fireworks on, these communities get the jump on Independence Day:
—July 2, Lake Carmel, 9 p.m. Route 52 and Route 311 at Lake Carmel in Kent.
—July 3, Kensico Dam Music Fest and Fireworks 9:15 p.m. in Valhalla. Two free music shows: Wanderers at 6 p.m. and the Gerard Carelli Orchestra at 8 p.m. Fireworks in front of the dam at 9:15 p.m. The Kensico Dam Plaza is at the north end of the Bronx River Parkway in Valhalla and can be reached via Route 22 or the Taconic State Parkway.
—July 3, Southeast will offer food, music and fun at 6 p.m. at Scolpino Park, 115 Doansburg Road in Brewster.
—July 3 Scarsdale will host a 7:30 p.m. concert with $2 admission at the municipal pool at 311 Mamaroneck Rd. Fireworks at 9:15 p.m.

BY BOAT
Insiders know one of the best ways to experience fireworks in the Hudson Valley is to be right on the water, especially on the Hudson River, where the night sky will alight with colorful explosions from Manhattan all the way northward. The Macy’s display will feature two full miles of fireworks and around the Tappan Zee, boaters will be treated to displays on both sides of the river. Sound boaters will also have plenty to see around Rye, Mamaroneck and New Rochelle.

MINI-GETAWAY
Why not take advantage of gas prices that have plummeted all of about 5 cents a gallon in recent weeks — sadly even $3.99 a gallon seems ridiculously cheap these days — and pack the family up for an impromptu day trip or weekend getaway. New Paltz in Ulster County is offering an Independence celebration starting at 5 p.m. on July 2, with free admission, music and fireworks at dusk at Ulster County Fairgrounds, 249 Libertyville Rd. Scheduling other things to do is easy — the village of New Paltz is full of welcoming bohemian vibes and you can easily find great food and while away an afternoon wandering among its many shops and bars. From there you can add whitewater tubing on the Esopus Creek, starting in nearby Phoenicia, NY. Into horses? The Pinegrove Ranch and Family Resort is offering day-only packages where you and the kids can get the dude ranch feel complete with trail rides without committing to an overnight stay. Ulster County tourism will have even more suggestions.

GOOD TO KNOW
— Fireworks are weather-permitting. If it’s raining, call ahead or check with Patch for cancellations.
— Leave Fido at home. Some dogs don’t mind booming explosions, big crowds and unpredictable flashes of light, but most do.
— Early always equals best view, so plan ahead. You know the type, the fireworks pro who snags the perfect spot, unveils the delicious tapas spread, pours the cold drinks and retires to a comfy portable chair or cushy weatherproof blanket. This year it’s your turn!

TRAIN-ING DAY
Metro-North Railroad is offering early “getaway” trains on Friday. Here’s the complete schedule. For more information specific to just the 4th, click here.
On the Hudson Line:
Extra "getaway" trains will depart from Grand Central at:
● 1:47 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street and Croton-Harmon.
● 2:40 p.m. , stopping at Harlem-125th Street and Beacon, New Hamburg and Poughkeepsie.
● 3:25 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street and Beacon, New Hamburg and Poughkeepsie.
● 4:05 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, and Beacon, New Hamburg and Poughkeepsie.
● 5:31 p.m. to Poughkeepsie and the 5:34 p.m. to Beacon are combined, departing at 5:34 p.m., making all stops between Croton-Harmon and Poughkeepsie.
The following trains departing Grand Central will not operate:
● The 5:57 p.m. to Croton-Harmon.
● The 6:20 p.m. to Croton-Harmon.
Hudson Line Connecting Services:
The Hudson Rail Link will begin a peak level of buses beginning with the 3:20 p.m. train from Grand Central.
The Tappan Zee Express will have extra buses available for any extra early passengers.
The Haverstraw – Ossining Ferry will have an early ferry trip to meet the 2:54 p.m. train from Grand Central, which arrives Ossining at 3:39 p.m.; The 5:57 p.m. and 6:20 p.m. trains will not operate. Instead a 6 p.m. train from Grand Central, which arrives Ossining at 6:51 p.m. will  be met by the ferry.
The Newburgh – Beacon Ferry will have three early trips meeting the 2:50 p.m., the 3:30 p.m. and 4:05 p.m. trains from Grand Central.
On the Harlem Line:
Extra "getaway" trains will depart from Grand Central at:
● 1:45 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, then all stations between Chappaqua and Southeast.
● 3:12 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, then White Plains and North White Plains only.
● 3:37 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, White Plains, then all stations from Goldens Bridge through Southeast.
● 4:07 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, then all stations between Chappaqua and Southeast.
● The 6:02 p.m. to Wassaic will make additional stops at Bedford Hills and Katonah.
The following trains departing Grand Central will not operate:
● The 5:25 p.m. to Brewster.
● The 5:54 p.m. to Crestwood.
● The 6:09 p.m. to Brewster.
● The 7:04 p.m. to North White Plains.
On the New Haven Line:
The following extra "getaway" trains will depart from Grand Central at:
●1:04 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, Westport, and all stations between Fairfield and New Haven.
●2:04 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, Westport then all stations between Fairfield and New Haven.
●2:31 p.m., making all stops between New Rochelle and Harrison.
●2:59 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, then all stations between Stamford and South Norwalk.
●3:02 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, then all stations between New Rochelle and Harrison.
●3:24 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, Stamford, Westport and all stations between Fairfield and New Haven.
●3:27 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, then all stations between New Rochelle and Harrison.
●3:50 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, and all stations between Fairfield and New Haven.
The following trains usually departing Grand Central will be combined or canceled:
●The 5:17 p.m. to Harrison and the 5:20 p.m. to New Rochelle are combined, departing Grand Central at 5:20 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street and all stations between Mount Vernon East and Harrison.
●The 5:36 p.m. to Harrison will not operate.
●The 5:59 p.m. to Harrison and 6:02 p.m. to New Rochelle are combined, departing Grand Central at 6:02 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, and all stops between Mount Vernon East and Harrison.
●The 7:11 p.m. to Harrison will not operate.
●The 8:04 p.m. to New Haven will not operate.
Source: Metro-North Railroad

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