Before heading out to watch Macy's 2017 Fourth of July fireworks display over the East River, know that the five barges this year are clustered between East 24th and 40th streets. That narrows where you can see the action, but front-row views can still be had — and not (necessarily) for a lot of Benjamins.
The East Village's favorite German beer hall Zum Schneider sets up right on the riverside as Zum Kaboom, an outdoor biergarten kicking off the day with live rock and blues from Strange Majik and DJ Volka Racho starting at 3 p.m. At $25 for entry, it's a stone cold deal for a front-row seat, though unlike previous years the hot dogs, currywursts, corn on the cob and more are all extra, as are the German and American beers, wine and ciders. Plan your day-drinking accordingly, but this is as close and cheap as it gets without fighting for lawn space in a park. 3-10 p.m., 24-20 FDR Drive at 23rd Street
It’s a little bit south of the action, but Williamsburg’s hippest new hotel has a sweet elevated park and urban farm that should make for decent viewing. Their first-ever casual lawn party grants you access from 7-11 p.m. as the Mister Dips crew cooks up burgers and fries alongside their usual soft-serve cones and drinks. A patriotic $17.76 gets you in all night to this all-ages party. 111 N. 12th St., Brooklyn
One of our favorite rooftop bars also happens to have unobstructed East River vistas. Even though this Greenpoint bar is run by Aussies, their Americana-themed party is on point with Jell-O shots, frozen drinks and more. There are no advance tickets, so you’ll have to bring $60 cash when the doors open at 4 p.m. 12 Franklin St.
You’ll not only have totally unobstructed views of the fireworks from Greenpoint’s seasonal floating bar Brooklyn Barge, they’ll be fired off right in front of you. Until then, dig into a lobster boil dinner and premium open bar while a DJ spins live starting at 6 p.m. with prices determined by where you sit (picnic tables on the beach will run you $150, while a seat on the barge is $250). For the broke partiers, there’s also a budget-friendly $50 option with standing room tickets that include two drinks (beer or wine) and popcorn. 3 Milton St., Brooklyn
At 21 floors high, Chinatown's new rooftop bar (we called it the best of the season) rises way above any other buildings around it. Though it's far south of the action, there's nothing on the East River shoreline that rises nearly as tall, giving you a vantage point that should yield some spectacular results. The party starts at 5 p.m. with happy hour specials until 7 p.m. like frozé and boozy popsicles, continuing until 2 a.m. Get in for $50 — just be sure to stake out a spot on the norther patio before the action starts. 50 Bowery
The Crow’s Nest
If you’ve had a little Christmas in July-style windfall, perch on the East River’s classic rooftop bar Crow’s Nest. Entry is a whopping $395, but you will be sitting right in front of the barges as close to the water as you can be without getting wet, including an open bar from 6-10 p.m. and a barbecue buffet. On the East River at 30th Street
Sail right up to the action
Nothing gets you closer to the action than a harbor cruise, provided you’re also down for spending four hours on the water. Your (many, many) options range from a night of dancing on the classic Mississippi riverboat Liberty Belle ($119) to a family-friendly jaunt on the Audubon Yacht with a traditional backyard cookout buffet ($159), the lavish Cirque at Sea cruise with acrobats, musicians and an upscale dinner buffet ($279) and an ultra-luxury evening aboard the Hornblower Esprit with a six-course dinner.