Let Freedom Ring: Here’s Where

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The Macy’s fireworks may not be ripe for prime Brooklyn viewing this year (they’re over the Hudson once again, and Bill de Blasio is not happy about it), but there are still tons of patriotic activities in and around the neighborhood to celebrate our not-British-ness this 4th of July.

The Day Of:

Eagle as Icon, Prospect Park Audobon Center, July 4th, 1pm-3pm

What’s up with the eagle? Find out all about “the role the eagle’s image has played in shaping our nation’s identity through a panel exhibit and nature craft.”

Declare Independence, Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park, July 4th, 1pm-4pm

Kids can celebrate America’s birthday and look good doing it: young Brooklynites will make plumed hats (a summer statement!) to wear “while signing their own ‘John Hancock’ on a reproduction of the Declaration of Independence.”

Freedom Strut, Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park, July 4th, 1pm-4pm

1776 isn’t the only July 4th we’re celebrating: on July 4, 1827, slavery was abolished in New York State. Join in the traditional celebrations of the (other) 4th of July milestone by “listening to stories of the struggle for African-American Freedom, making your own Emancipation Day button, and strutting proudly in celebration.”

Hot Dog Eating Contest, Nathan’s Famous, Corner of Surf and Stillwell in Coney Island, 3pm

Since 1916, competitive hot dog eaters have gathered to eat hot dogs competitively on the Brooklyn shore. And if you can stomach it, you can watch and learn from the very best hot dog eaters in the business: July 4th is the championship. It will be really fun! Also, you may never eat a hot dog again.

The Night Of:

Let’s talk fireworks: the Brooklyn Cyclones have got post-game fireworks after every Friday, but this week, there are also shows on the 2nd, 4th, and 7th. And while baseball is indeed the most American of sports and therefore (arguably) a particularly fitting Independence Day activity, you don’t actually have to catch the game to take in the show. As DPCorner puts it, “watching from the boardwalk when the game ends–around 9:30pm–is the cherry on top of a date at the beach.”

Maybe you’re not willing to give up on Macy’s after all, despite the East River betrayal. In that case, the Brooklyn Paper outlines the best viewing spots in the borough. Unfortunately (but given geography, also obviously), their top picks are clustered in Williamsburg and Greenpoint — probably less crowded than watching with the throngs in Manhattan, but not a whole lot closer via public transit. Your best south Brooklyn bet is the 69th Street Pier in Gravesend, though there are some only-kind-of-obstructed views from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and the new Brooklyn Bridge Park as well.

Festive Eats:

Chill and Grill, Two Boots of Brooklyn, 514 2nd Street, July 4th, 12pm to 6pm.

The pizza joint is “pulling out all the stops this Fourth of July with an all-you-can-eat chill and grill jam.” They’ll be showing off their non-pizza prowess with hot dogs, burgers, veggie burgers, pulled pork, and BBQ chicken with a side of live music (funk, soul, and jazz). All the BBQ you can eat is $17.76; drink specials are separate (but cheap-ish). Also, be warned (or be excited, depending): there will be trivia.

 4th of July at Fort Reno, Fort Reno, 669 Union St, July 4th, 12pm to 12am.

This one’s pretty simple: $20, all the “ribs, brisket, and cocktails you can handle.” They don’t mess around over there.

What’d we miss? How will you be celebrating?

 

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