New York State of Mind | July
Pedestrians and cars alike traverse the Brooklyn (background) and Manhattan Bridges, each more than 100 years old, every day.
Full disclosure: I'm a born and bred New Yorker, so perhaps you native Floridians (if there are such things) or Californians may find me biased. But out of all the places I've cruised around the world, there's nothing, absolutely nothing, like New York City. And there's nothing like spending the Fourth of July in New York Harbor.
Why? One word: Macy's. To be more accurate, the Macy's fireworks display, which is put on by the famed Grucci family, comprised of generations of pyrotechnics experts.
To call it a mere fireworks display is like saying Jackson Pollack liked to play with paint. For a half-hour tens of thousands of shells explode into brilliant colors and shapes from barges positioned in the East River, which separates the borough of Manhattan from two of the city's other boroughs, Brooklyn and Queens, creating a veritable feast for the eyes and ears. While thousands of pedestrians jam the shorelines of all three boroughs to watch the show, that's not good enough for us boaters. Neither is joining the few hundred folks who board NY Water Taxis to get close to the action.
You won't tire of Lady Liberty.
Nope, to truly experience the fireworks, you need to take your own boat to one of the spots the U.S. Coast Guard has set aside for safe viewing: the Buttermilk Channel, located just south of the upper tip of Governor's Island; Newton Creek, east of the Pulaski Bascule Bridge; or the East River itself, north of the southernmost tip of Roosevelt Island. Macy's even has a marine hotline (212-494-5243) so you can get proper boater-viewing and Coast Guard Safety Zone information. If you'd rather charter a yacht, you can get just as great a view from the designated charter-yacht gathering spot between the Battery, which is at the tip of Manhattan, and the Statue of Liberty.
Of course, the Fourth of July isn't the only time to enjoy The City That Never Sleeps. Try borrowing a page from the playbook we at Power & Motoryacht use each year for both out-of-town clients as well as in-house staffers: a trip around the island of Manhattan—up the East River, across the Harlem River, and down the Hudson River. You'll come away with real appreciation for the grandeur of the Brooklyn Bridge, the power of the United Nations building, and even the majesty of The House That Ruth Built (a.k.a. Yankee Stadium). Better yet, go for a sunset cruise, and watch as the lights go up along Broadway and the spire of the Empire State Building comes to life, reflecting the colors of a special holiday or other significant event.
Take it from this native New Yorker: Take a bite out of the Big Apple.
Destinations To Die For
January: Plymouth Harbor, Dominica
February: The Spanish Virgin Islands
March: Mazatlan, Mexico
April: Man-O-War Cay, Bahamas
May: Southport, North Carolina
June: Greenport, New York
July: New York, New York
August: Penobscot Bay, Maine
September: Block Island, Rhode Island
October: Panama City, Florida
November: Key West, Florida
December: Staniel Cay, Bahamas
This article originally appeared in the December 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.