fireworks_skyline.jpgI don't want to waste a whole day waiting around the FDR for prime viewing of the July 4th fireworks. Where else can I see them from?
-Karen, Williamsburg

Basically, if you have a view of the East River, you're all set. NY.com says:

Manhattan:

Southbound lanes of the FDR drive from 14th to 42nd Street will be open for the public from 7:30pm to 10:00pm. On-ramp entrances for pedestrians (including the disabled) are located at 23rd, 38th, and 42nd streets. The FDR Drive will be closed to vehicular traffic between Houston St. and 63rd St. from 7:00pm until 1:00am.

Brooklyn/Queens: Great views from Hunter's Point, Queens, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and anywhere with an unobstructed view of the East River between 23rd & 42nd Sts.

In other words, trying to get around the East Side will be a nightmare, but a fairly large area is being sectioned off. A better bet might be to try to see the show from Brooklyn. We also know from experience that fireworks can be seen from far off places like New Jersey, too.

If you do plan to go to the FDR drive, you'll have to make an all day event of it and stake out a spot early. If not, it might be time to call your on the East Side. Or, you know, watch it on TV.

See the press release about this year's show, entitled "Beneath a Summer Sky." Macy's says new technological advancements mean a more colorful show with more interesting shapes in the sky. The event is hosted by Carson Daly, with narration from Broadway's Brian Stokes Mitchell. And Macy's official site for the show tells us that the Macy's show uses 55 times more fireworks than the average American show - because New York is all about doing things bigger and better.

Citysearch has some good ideas for things to do on the 4th. See also Ask Gothamist on things to do this weekend, including checking out the legendary Coney Island hot dog eating contest.

Related: FDNY's page on fireworks safety, where they remind us that consumer fireworks are illegal. They point out:

If you choose to break the law by transporting, selling, buying or using illegal fireworks:

-We cannot replace your Eyes, Hands or Life;
-We can and will arrest you;
-We can and will confiscate your car and/or business.

And Gothamist Weather's predictions for the weekend. Verdict: It's too early to tell, but it wouldn't hurt to have the umbrella handy.