While Independence Day on July 4th celebrates the famous Declaration of Independence on that date in 1776, NYC has managed over the years to establish its own traditions separate from the more usual flag waiving and patrtiotic parades held elsewhere.
The first of the new traditions was started in 1972 when the very first Nathan’s Famous Hot dog eating contest was held at Coney island. It was meant to be just a publicity event to encourage more trade for this iconic hot dog store on Coney island. But it persisted and grew and grew and now it is the most famous of the food eating competitions held in the nation. It is no long run by Nathan’s but by the people who run food eating comeptitions but Nathan’s do of course get a lot of publicity and reward because the event is at this store in this iconic location.
12 preliminaries are held across the nation tocut the field down to the best of the best. It is of course telecast to a huge audience and the champions become household names. The competition consists of who can eat the most hot dogs in 10 mins. The men’s record is about 63 and the women’s about 42 but the figures go up and down. The men’s competition is held at 11.30am and the women’s at 2.00pm on July 4th There is extensive precompetiton entertainment and this year it’s boy band Lucky Chops, a trampoline troupe (Skyriders) and the Brooklyn Community Chorus. A roaring good time is had by all.
The second tradition, Macy’s first fireworks display was first held in 1976, to publicize the inconic NYC store and the event has grown and grown until now it is the biggest and best firewoeks display event in the nation. Normally the fireworks are set off from the Brooklyn Bridge in the East river but there have been occasions when it has been held on the Hudson River. This year it is in it’s traditional spot. There are of course a range of places on Manhattan rooftops where you can watch while being served great food and wine or beer but the traditional way to see it is from a free spot with a good view of Brooklyn Bridge.
Good views are to be had from Brooklyn Heights and Brooklyn Promenade or from Brooklyn Bridge Park. Head to either location with seats or blankets to sit on, with all the appropriate food and drink you need. To get a good spot arrive while it is still light. But fireworks are up in the sky so most spots are pretty good. It is of course televised right across the anation as befits such a glorious display of fireworks but what can be better than sitting outside on a balmy summer evening with a whole heap of fellow New Yorkers taking it all in. It is always totally spectacular.