New York City once again threw one of the biggest Fourth of July parties in America last night, with more two million people packing in wherever they could on both sides of the East River to watch 75,000 shells and effects explode over the water. The show started at about 9:30 p.m. and lasted 25 minutes, as tourists and New Yorkers lit up their Instagram stories with videos of bursting flowers, swimming stars, and crackling palms.

(Photo by Tim Drivas)

Throughout the afternoon picnickers with varying degrees of commitment to food and comfort snagged viewing spots in Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City (note for next year: you could still get out onto any of the piers or comfortably find a place on the lawn at 3:30 p.m.), East River State in Park in Williamsburg, and on the lawns and in the playgrounds adjacent to Alphabet City. At about 5:30 the NYPD open the floodgates to the FDR Drive, and by showtime the elevated roadway was filled to capacity from 20th up well past 42nd Streets.

Click through for a look at the waiting game, pre-game, and the big show.

Happy 4th! (From the best view in nyc!)💥🎇🎆🇺🇸

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