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July 4th in NYC: Street closures, subway changes, and more

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Everything you need to know about getting around on the Fourth of July

Fireworks Explode Over New York’s East River During Fourth Of July Celebrations Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

The Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks take over a chunk of the East River today, and the event is expected to draw as many as three million spectators to watch the massive pyrotechnics show. (Four barges in the river will fire off 3,000 fireworks per minute for the duration of the 25-minute display. Whoa.)

While everyone is looking for the best places to watch the spectacular, it’s also important to know how public transportation and getting around Manhattan will be affected. (Don’t want to deal with any of this? Here’s how to watch the fireworks from your own apartment.)

Street closures and traffic changes

With all of those people crowding either side of the East River—the prime viewing spots are in Midtown and Long Island City—it’s a sure bet that streets, and traffic, are going to be a gigantic mess on Wednesday. The NYPD has announced its list of street closures for the fireworks, and unsurprisingly, many of the big thoroughfares in those parts of Manhattan and Queens—including large portions of the FDR Drive and Center Boulevard—will be shut down.

Manhattan Locations:

  • FDR Drive between the Brooklyn Bridge and East 63rd Street
  • FDR Drive Service Roads between Montgomery Street and 63rd Street
  • Montgomery Street between Cherry Street and FDR Drive
  • Delancey Street between Lewis Street and FDR Drive
  • East Houston Street between Baruch Place and FDR Drive
  • Avenue C between 13th Street and Avenue C Entrance Ramp to FDR
  • Avenue C Entrance Ramps
  • East 6th Street between Avenue D and FDR Drive
  • East 10th Street between Avenue D and FDR Drive
  • 14th Street between Avenue C and Avenue B
  • Avenue C between East 16th Street and East 23rd Street
  • East 20th Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue C
  • East 23rd Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue C
  • East 26th Street between 1st Avenue and FDR Drive
  • East 30th Street between 1st Avenue and FDR Drive
  • 30th Street Entrance Ramps
  • East 33rd Street between 1st Avenue and 3rd Avenue
  • East 34th Street between 2nd Avenue and FDR Drive
  • 34th Street Entrance Ramps
  • East 37th Street between 1st Avenue and FDR Drive
  • East 38th Street between 1st Avenue and FDR Drive
  • East 41st Street between 1st Avenue and FDR Drive
  • East 42nd Street between 1st Avenue and FDR Drive
  • 42nd Street Entrance Ramps
  • East 48th Street between 1st Avenue and FDR Drive
  • East 49th Street between 1st Avenue and FDR Drive
  • East 53rd Street between 1st Avenue and FDR Drive

Queens Locations:

  • Area bounded by 44th Drive on the North Borden Avenue on the South Vernon
  • Boulevard on the East; East River on the West (All Inclusive)
  • Center Boulevard between Borden Avenue and 54th Avenue
  • 2nd Street between Borden Avenue and Newtown Creek/Dead End
  • Vernon Boulevard between 54th Avenue and Newtown Creek/Dead End
  • 54th Avenue between Center Boulevard and Vernon Boulevard

In both boroughs, the closures are at the discretion of the NYPD, but expect them to begin sometime in the afternoon and last well after the fireworks end.

On Staten Island, meanwhile, the Travis 4th of July Parade—the self-proclaimed longest running annual Independence Day parade—will host its 107th annual event beginning at noon. That event will cause traffic irregularities as the procession travels throughout Travis, Staten Island, from noon to 3 p.m.

Formation:

  • At Showplace Center (East Service Road) Cross Victory Boulevard to Glen Street

Route:

  • Glen Street between Melvin Avenue and Cannon Avenue
  • Cannon Avenue between Glen Street and Victory Boulevard
  • Victory Boulevard between Cannon Avenue and Melvin Avenue

Dispersal:

  • Melvin Avenue between Glen Street and Victory Boulevard

Closure: At the discretion of NYPD

How NYC subway, bus, and ferry service will be affected

On Wednesday, the subway will operate on a Saturday schedule; there are also some service changes, which the MTA has helpfully listed here. Of particular note: some bus routes through Manhattan and Brooklyn will be affected due to the fireworks street closures.

According to NBC4NY, “There will be no 6 or 7 express service. B trains will not run, customers are encouraged to use the A, C, D, and/or Q instead. There will be increased subway service on the 4, 7, A, C, F, N, and S 42nd Street Shuttle prior to and following the Macy’s fireworks celebration, which will originate from five barges on the East River between 23rd and 41st Streets from 9:25 p.m. to 9:50 p.m.”

There will also be schedule changes on the Metro-North, which will operate on a Sunday schedule, and the Long Island Rail Road. Citi Bike service will operate as normal, but some stations in Manhattan and Queens will be out of service to allow for fireworks setup.

NYC Ferry will also be impacted by the event, with all four of its routes operating on a weekend schedule, and the following changes to specific routes:

East River route:

  • Last Wall St./Pier 11 departure bound for E.34th Street: 1:38 pm
  • Last E.34th St departure bound for Wall St./Pier 11: 2:39 pm

Astoria Route:

  • Last Wall St./Pier 11 departure bound for Astoria: 1:49 pm
  • Last Astoria departure bound for Wall St./Pier 11: 2:34 pm

There will be no midtown shuttle bus service provided on this day. Shuttle buses will resume normal service on July 5, 2018.