From Usher to Jellyfish: What’s New & Strange At This Year’s Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks

Fourth of July has its formula: for the day, your kitschy red and blue shorts make a comeback, a ketchup-drenched burger and baked beans make their way to your paper plate, and there’s no stifling the requisite oohs-and-aahs amid the explosive fireworks show and orchestral Macy’s music. 

But this year, NYC is igniting Independence Day with some unprecedented, surprising, and bizarre features that don’t really make much logistical sense, but are happening any way. And that’s just the way we like ’em. Take a look:

1. Usher is the show’s "curator."
For the first time ever, Macy’s is collaborating with "a major superstar" on the show’s design and 26-minute score. Since Usher is syncing the fireworks with each musical beat, you can expect every half-naked dancer’s jiggle to be on-point with the high notes of Rihanna’s "Diamonds," Kanye’s "All Of The Lights," and each Justin Bieber song.

2. The show’s theme is "It Begins With A Spark." Talk about foreshadowing. 

3. The fireworks come straight from China, Malta, Portugal, and Spain.

4. Even the Empire State Building is syncing with the fireworks, flashing with each corresponding, colorful firework in the grand finale. 

5. There will be a new winking-happy face firework and a new jellyfish firework from China. The jellyfish whistles as it explodes and bursts open with butterflies. 

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A Drink With A View: NYC’s Best Bars On The Water

A drink with a view? Yes, please. When you can find a place in New York to sip a beer outside, gaze at the skyline on the rivers, and not pay $4,000+ rent for it – you hold on to that seat for dear life. Here are NYC’s best bars on the water.

The Frying Pan: this former lightship, now anchored by Chelsea Piers at Pier 66a, is a true "dive" bar, having spent years shipwrecked at the bottom of Chesapeake Bay. Resting right on the Hudson River, Frying Pan grants you crisp beers and cocktails, and some One World Trade Center, Empire State, and Hoboken eye-candy. 

Watermark Bar: new and just-opened, this bar on Pier 15 at South Street Seaport comes equipped with frothy strawberry margaritas, Vermont-cheddar bacon cheeseburgers, and a view of the crystalline-lit Brooklyn Bridge and East River. It’s a backdrop for falling in love, so enter with caution.

STK Rooftop: Do you like lobster rolls and Hudson River sunset views? At the Meatpacking’s most in-demand rooftop at the top of its sexy steakhouse, you get watermelon cucumber cocktails, and a view of the Hudson, the majestic Standard Hotel, and the cobblestone, stiletto-ridden streets below. 

Boat Basin Café: This circular bar on the Upper West Side is like a Shakespearean theatre-in the-round, offering stone, vaulted walls and ceilings, a fountain, and a far-off look at the George Washington Bridge on the stone terrace.

Beekman Beer GardenOh, for heaven’s sake. A bar in South Street Seaport with an actual floor of sand, white couches, ping-pong, and an up-close view of the Brooklyn Bridge? Let’s stay the night.

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The Best Places to Watch the NYC Fireworks

Here at BlackBook, we take Independence Day pretty seriously. Not only is it a national holiday, but it’s also the only summer day we have off from work, thus presenting a wonderful excuse to indulge all day outside on charred, ketchup-drenched burgers, icy American beers, and semi-cheesy red/white/blue apparel. We’ve put together a list of our top five favorite places to witness that spectacular view of the fireworks and have a holiday that you won’t be able to stop thinking about the next day.