This was my first NYC 4th of July, since I went to Denver for the holiday last year, so I didn't really know what to expect. After a flurry of last-minute text messages to different people about what our plans were, a group of us decided to go to Coney Island for the sporting event that ranks just under Wimbeldon on the prestige scale: the International Hot Dog Eating Contest. It was a truly awe-inspiring experience; thousands of fans chanted "USA! USA!" while San Jose, CA native Joey Chestnut obliterated both his own world record and second-place finisher Takeru Kobayashi. Patriotism at its finest.
Afterwards, we went to Battery Park (on the southern tip of Manhattan) for a free concert by Conor Oberst and Jenny Lewis. We grabbed some lunch and a sweet spot in the sun-dappled shade, and spent a few divine hours listening to indie rock and lazing around in the warm breeze.
As afternoon turned to evening, we headed uptown and walked toward the river. The West Side Highway had been shut down to make room for people to watch the fireworks, so we scouted out a place. It was kind of freaky walking down this huge expanse of deserted highway, like something out of a post-apocalyptic movie. We found a good (and surprisingly uncrowded) spot at the crest of a hill, and watched the sunset while we waited for the rest of our group to join us. (My friend Joe and his friends had come up from DC for the day, which just proves that July 4th in NYC is even better than in our nation's capital.) Darkness fell, and we watched as dazzling fireworks were shot off from six barges along the Hudson river. It was the perfect end to an amazing day.
More pictures here.