Celebrating All Things Free
July 3, 2009
This weekend, celebrate 233 years of our country’s independence, so it's a good opportunity to go beyond the standard cookout and rejoice in something else Americans value: free events!
Saturday, the Fourth of July, brings Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. Last year, Joey Chesnut of San Jose, Calif., was crowned champion after scarfing down 59 hot dogs in 10 minutes -- plus five more in overtime. The event at Nathan’s Famous in Coney Island (1310 Surf Ave, at Stillwell) begins at 10 a.m. with performances, followed by an 11 a.m. introduction of participants (sign-up is closed) and the noon contest.
Also on Saturday, indie rock darling Jenny Lewis (of Rilo Kiley) will join Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band in Battery Park at 3:30 p.m., as part of the River To River Festival. Space is first come, first serve. For future events coinciding with River To River, visit the festival's website.
And of course, Macy’s Fireworks, this year along the Hudson, caps off the day. Billed as the largest Fourth of July fireworks display in America, this year's "pyrotechnic extravaganza” also celebrates the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s historic voyage. As usual, the New York Pops will set the soundtrack in collaboration with award-winning composers and musicians, performing “American River.” Access points and further information can be found here.
On Sunday, mark the holiday with a Revolutionary War Walking Tour presented by the South Street Seaport Museum, free for members and $5 for non-members. Learn about the conflict and the crucial role New York played in the advent of independence. The tour is from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and starts at 12 Fulton Street.
And from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. that afternoon, Summerstage, Central Park's free summer venue provides African-inspired music by Oumou Sangare, Les Nubians and Asa. The three are billed as “pioneering African and Afropean chanteuses.”