I'm not really one for fireworks. I feel like if you've seen them once, you've pretty much seen them all. So I'm also really not one to make plans to go out and see fireworks on the 4th.
But for some reason, every year, I always seem to have a bunch of friends who want to get together to see fireworks on July 4th. And more often than not, this always seems to come up at the last minute. I guess that's what happens when you're a single, busy New Yorker. Holidays like this have a way of creeping up on you.
Looking back on it, my friends and I have always managed to figure out a way to spend the 4th together somewhere with a view. Being able to find a place to go with a view at the last minute in New York City is quite an accomplishment. It is only rivaled by finding a place to see the ball drop live in Times Square on New Year's Eve. Finding a place to be able to watch fireworks on July 4th is the whole point, isn't it? Otherwise we could just stay in and watch it on TV.
One year a bunch of us ended up picnicking in the park space alongside the Hudson River; later we watched the fireworks launch over the Hudson. On another occasion, a friend of mine shared access to the rooftop of his apartment building so that I could invite my friends over for a barbecue with a view. More than a few times, I've been invited to backyard barbecues of friends who live in New Jersey, and into the homes of strangers who were my friends' friends. Each time one of us was invited to a gathering, there would be a group of us in tow. Time and time again my friends and friends' friends have generously opened up their homes to celebrate and share the view of the fireworks from their balcony or roof.
What I've come to realize is that, July 4th is not really about the fireworks.
Holidays like this are about friendship and celebration. In a way, without even realizing it, I think that July 4th has been the holiday that brings me and my friends together even more than Thanksgiving. And for that I am grateful.
Here's to a Happy July 4th- fireworks or not!