Go ‘Fourth’! Here’s our guide to a great Independence weekend

Go ‘Fourth’! Here’s our guide to a great Independence weekend
Community Newspaper Group / Gersh Kuntzman

The Fourth of July usually means two things — fireworks and hot dogs. Both are in abundance this weekend, but if you really want to blow it out, here’s out guide to doing the long weekend right, from barbecues to hot concerts to, of course, some patriotic fun.

Watch the sky

The main display may be all the way over on the Hudson River, but you can kick off your holiday weekend here thanks to Coney Island’s weekly Friday night fireworks display, with the bombs bursting right above the Deno’s Wonder Wheel for a truly “wonder”-ful display.

The next night, Lower New York Bay will be lit up, thanks to an Independence Day at Fort Hamilton.

Then, on Sunday, July 3, the Brooklyn Cyclones get in the act, with the team’s own holiday extravaganza. Bring the kids for a pre-game catch on the field and running of the bases, watch the Cyclones (hopefully) whip the Staten Island Yankees, then stick around for some post-game explosions.

Coney Island Boardwalk Fireworks (between W. 10th and W. 12th streets, no phone), July 1 at 9:30 pm. Free; Fort Hamilton Independence Day Celebration in Lower New York Bay, July 2 at 9:30 pm; Brooklyn Cyclones holiday extravaganza at MCU Park [1904 Surf Ave. at W. 17th Street in Coney Island, (718) 449-8497], July 3, pre-game catch is at 3:30 pm, game starts at 6 pm. For info, visit www.brooklyncyclones.com.

Pig out

You don’t have to fire up the grill to have some great grub. On July 3, Sycamore throws an Independence Day party, where you can get a plate full of burgers, hot dogs and some classic American sides. Brooklyn Brewery will also be on hand for some seasonal and specialty beers on draft.

The Brooklyn Museum is all about dessert, as it hosts an ice cream social on July 2 on its private rooftop. It’s one of the museum’s most popular meetup for 1stfans — a $20 membership level — and it’s no surprise, given the ice cream sandwiches and fantastic views as the sun sets.

If you’re holding out for the big day, Public Assembly is hosting a Fourth of July Outlaw BBQ. Drink beer, eat BBQ and listen to some outlaw country and hillbilly, courtesy of Bob Wayne and The Outlaw Carnies, Sean Kershaw and the Terrible Two, and Hickory Hawkins and the Panty Sniffers. It’s just as our fouding fathers, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, intended.

BBQ at Sycamore [1118 Cortelyou Rd. near Westminster Road, (347) 240-5850], July 3 from noon to 6 pm, $5 a plate. For info, visit www.sycamorebrooklyn.com; Ice cream social at the Brooklyn Museum [200 Eastern Pkwy. at Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights, (718) 638-5000], July 2 at 7 pm. Free for 1stmeetup members ($20 a year to join). For info, visit www.brooklynmuseum.org; Fourth of July Outlaw BBQ at Public Assembly [70 N. Sixth St. between Wythe and Kent avenues in Williamsburg, (718) 384-4586]], July 4 at 4 pm. $10. For info, visit www.publicassemblynyc.com.

Rock out

For a rocking Independence Day tradition, look no further than the Great Bay Ridge Fourth of July Picnic. Seven live bands will play at the park field at 82nd Street and Shore Road, including Frankie Marra & His Band, Out Of The Blue, The Ridge, The High Tides, Blues Circus, Windsor Terrors and The Groove. They’ll also be rides, face painters and sprinklers. And of course, pack a picnic, or enjoy some on-site burgers and hot dogs.

This one’s only for service members. On July 2, Ne-Yo headlines an Independence Day celebration at the Fort Hamilton Army Base for soldiers and their families, including active duty and reserve service members, National Guard, retirees, and veterans, as well as FDNY and NYPD. Active Duty service members, including National Guard and Reserve, will also have a chance to meet the Grammy Award-winning R&B star.

There’s more than one independence celebration going on this weekend. The Weeksville Heritage Center reminds us that July 4 is also Emancipation Day, when enslaved Africans were freed in New York. With that in mind, on July 2, the center marks the day with an outdoor concert on July 2 featuring hip hop’s Pharoahe Monch and rapper Baloji.

Didn’t think Coney Island could get any brighter? On July 1, get into the Fourth of July spirit early, when the Coney Island Boardwalk hosts a fireworks spectacular.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

And for some good ol’ fashioned roots music, head to — where else? — Jalopy in Red Hook for a performance by the Red Hook Ramblers. On July 3, the Dixieland band will provide live accompaniment to the silent films of Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle and Harold Lloyd, with the summer-themed picks including “A Day’s Pleasure,” “Coney Island” and “A Jazzed Honeymoon.”

Greater Bay Ridge Fourth of July Picnic at 82nd Street and Shore Road, July 4 from 11 am to 9 pm. Free. For info, call (718) 238-6044; Independence Day Celebration at Fort Fort Hamilton Army Base [101st and Fort Hamilton Parkway in Dyker Heights, 718-630-4772], July 2 at 4 pm. Free. Must register in advance. For info, visit www.hamiltonmwr.com; Emancipation Celebration at Weeksville Heritage Center [1698 Bergen Street between Buffalo and Rochester avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant, (718) 756-5250], July 2 at 6 pm. Free. For info, visit www.weeksvillesociety.org; Red Hook Ramblers at Jalopy [315 Columbia St. between Hamilton Avenue and Woodhull Street in Red Hook, (718) 395-3214], July 3 at 8 pm. $10. For info, visit www.jalopy.biz.

Show your patriotism

On July 3, the Bell House hosts an event we can’t even properly list: “America: F— Yeah!,” a night of the BBQ, beer, brass bands and burlesque. Enjoy all four, especially the music of the Outer Borough Brass Band and risque performances by Wasabassco Burlesque — hosted by Doc Wasabassco, in a Superman costume. But don’t fail to participate in the “Show Us Your Patriotic Underwear Contest,” which is pretty much exactly as it sounds. And if you come dressed as Wonder Woman, you’ll get in for free.

There are few things more American than George Lucas’s “Star Wars” epic — it’s our own mythology. That’s just one of the many reasons why this weekend’s Brooklyn Star Wars Marathon is the greatest thing we’ve ever heard. First of all, the event is free. All six films will be shown in their entirety, and there will be a costume contest for the best and worst recreations of classic characters. The bar is also featuring a rotating Star Wars shot special that changes for each film. Drinks are cheap, too: a $35 wristband gets you unlimited domestic draft beer.

“America: F— Yeah!” at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643-6510], July 3 at 8 pm. $10. For info, visit www.thebellhouseny.com; “Star Wars” marathon at The Wicked Monk [8415 Fifth Ave. at 84th Street in Bay Ridge, (718) 921-0601], July 3 at 1 pm. Free. For info, visit bkstarwarsmarthon2011.blogspot.com.

Get physical

Coney Island will be home to some amazing feats this Fourth of July weekend. First up, on July 1, MCU Park hosts “TNA Wrestling’s BaseBrawl,” a grand slam night featuring such TNA wrestling personalities as “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle, “King of the Mountain” Jeff Jarrett, TNA knockout champion Mickie James, and more bringing some wrestling action with them.

Then on July 4, the neighborhood would be home to circus acts once again as the Vidbel Circus, a one-ring extravaganza featuring trapeze artists, jugglers and equestrians, sets up tent through Labor Day.

But little compares to the circus that is the annual Nathan’s hot dog-eating contest at the original frankfurter stand at the corner of Stillwell and Surf avenues. Yes, we all know that Joey “Jaws” Chestnut is likely to win for the fifth straight year, but anything can happen (and usually does).

TNA Wrestling’s BaseBrawl” at MCU Park [1904 Surf Ave. at W. 17th Street in Coney Island, (718) 449-8497], July 1 at 7 pm. Tickets $25-$90. For info, visit www.brooklyncyclones.com.; Vidbel Circus (near the Boardwalk and Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island), July 4 at 3, 5 and 7 pm. Tickets $10, children 2 and under are free. For info, visit www.circusvidbel.com; Nathan’s Famous (Stillwell Avenue at Surf Avenue in Coney Island), noon.

Have a rootsy Fourth of July weekend with the Red Hook Ramblers, when the Dixieland band plays live to silent comedys on July 3 at Jalopy.
Photo by Larry Getlen

More from Around New York