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July 4th is three days away, but some of you might be unplugging and getting away for the weekend, so Gothamist has some information for you, in case you change your mind and want to stick around for the weekend. July 4th is one of the best times to be in the city, one of the top reasons being the Macy's July 4th Spectacular. This year, there will fireworks over the East River on the East Side between 14th and 42nd Streets as well as downtown, near the South Street Seaport and other points south of the Brooklyn Bridge - which means you can also view them from NJ's Liberty State Park. The additional downtown show is to celebrate the Statue of Liberty, which will reopen on August 3 (a reservation number will be posted at the S of L site). The show starts at 9:20PM, but you'll need to line up sooner... or befriend someone with a rooftop view. if you go down there, bring your radio and listen to 1010 WINS, which will broadcast the show. Or, if you're at home, watch WNBC for coverage - here's WNBC's July 4th page. More viewing details from Macy's. And the fireworks are made by the Souza family's Pyro Spectaculars - the show, "Beneath a Summer Sky," uses - 30,000 shells, or over 1,000 shells bursting per minute! That almost enough to forget the show is hosted by Carson Daly. More about the fireworks at Ask Gothamist, too.

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The other big event is the Hot Dog Eating Contest at Nathan's Famous in Coney Island, and the money is still on slender Japanese contender, Takeru Kobayashi, aka "The Tsunami" who weighs around 115 before the competition and puts a couple more after eating upwards of 40 hot dogs. The Daily News has an article about the competition and all Gothamist can say is thank God for the miracle of peristalsis. NY Magazine has an excellent roundup of July 4th weekend festivities (Spots & Stripes weekend at the Bronx Zoo!). Of course, there is also the groundbreaking at Ground Zero, starting at 10AM, with Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Pataki. NY1 will be covering it. Newsday warns not to play with fireworks - only trained professionals should - and also has some factoids about July 4th.

Gothamist's suggestions for July 4th from last year.