New York Fireworks, Fourth of July, from the Top of the Rockefeller Center (with video, too)

I didn’t feel like grilling on the 4th since I leave on a long vacation the next morning, so I thought I’d stop by the Rockefeller Center to see if it was at all crowded for fireworks (I paid for a $75 membership so stopping by is free for me. Also, I have no friends with prime west side viewing decks). I got there ridiculously early, about 5pm, but it was so beautiful that I just sat on a bench and read, and even did a little laptop work (there’s now free wifi there).

Crazy blue skies above Rockefeller Center, July 4th

Crazy blue skies above Rockefeller Center, July 4th

It was surprisingly empty but at around 630ish, people with serious camera gear were staking their claim. So I went to the top deck and picked a spot to lay my camera on and listened to a few episodes of “This American Life” (waiting a few hours for ANYTHING is nothing compared to waiting 6 hours in the cold during my once-and-never-again New Years Eve in Times Square experience).

As the pics and video below should show, the sunset was far more beautiful than the fireworks, which were diminished by the Hudson River’s distance from the Rock, vertically and westwardly. You couldn’t hear any of the music. But one cool benefit to being above the city is that you get to see what seem to be the dozens of fireworks shows across New Jersey and Brooklyn, puny as they are in comparison.

The crowd at the Rockefeller Center, Fourth of July

Sunset over New York before the Fireworks on 4th of July

Sunset before New York's 4th of July

Fireworks in NYC. Red, white...ok, mostly red...

Manhattan skyline, all hazy after 4th of July Fireworks

My sloppy video:

I wouldn’t go again, the fireworks just seem too distant and beneath you, literally, to be as enjoyable at ground level. Still, I didn’t regret finally getting to see a sunset over New York from a skyscraper.

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