The national holiday to mark America’s birth as a country will be filled with parades, concerts, competitive eating and of course, fireworks.
But Independence Day won’t be free from politics, as President Donald Trump’s plan for a celebration in Washington featuring a display of tanks, fighter jets and a stealth bomber is garnering support from some and protests from others.
THE BIGGEST SHOW
The Macy’s fireworks show over the East River in New York City is said to be one of the biggest in the country. The fireworks spectacle, plus concert, is broadcast on NBC. Country powerhouses Luke Bryan, Maren Morris and Brad Paisley will perform. Jennifer Hudson, Ciara, Khalid and Derek Hough are also performing.
On Thursday evening, the Boston Pops Orchestra will perform its annual outdoor concert on the banks of the Charles River in Boston, culminating in a rendition of the “1812 Overture” and a fireworks display. Tens of thousands of revelers are expected to turn out under heavy security for the concert, which also will feature rapper and actress Queen Latifah and folk singer Arlo Guthrie.
The nation’s oldest continuous Fourth of July celebration takes place in Bristol, Rhode Island. The events begin on Flag Day and culminate with a parade on July Fourth that typically draws 100,000 people. Organizers say they’re preparing for the hot weather and a festive celebration of the nation’s independence. The annual celebration began in the seaside town in 1785.
Around the country, more than two dozen naturalization ceremonies will be held to welcome in the newest Americans in places like the Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia and George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, Virginia. One hundred and fifty immigrants from 54 countries will be sworn in as new U.S. citizens in a special naturalization ceremony Thursday at Old Sturbridge Village, an outdoor history museum where costumed actors depict 19th-century New England life. More new citizens will take the oath of allegiance aboard the U.S.S. Constitution in Boston.
FOR THE KIDS AND KIDS AT HEART
At Legoland in Winter Haven, Florida, children can help create a giant United States flag out of LEGO bricks on July 4 as part of the Red, White and Boom celebration. Once the sun goes down, special viewing glasses will allow guests to watch “a gazillion bricks explode from the sky” above Lake Eloise during the theme park’s largest fireworks display of the year.
In Orlando, Walt Disney World is hosting a special show called Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky on Thursday night.
In Philadelphia, the celebrations begin with a parade near Independence Hall and culminate with a concert featuring Meghan Trainor and Jennifer Hudson on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The annual fireworks show blasts off after the concert around the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
SALUTE FROM THE SHORE
South Carolina celebrates Independence Day in the U.S. by having military planes fly over the state’s beaches.
Jets and a cargo plane take about 40 minutes to fly southwest along the nearly 200 mile (322 kilometer) coastline in what is called the Salute from the Shore.
Beachgoers wear red, white and blue and wave giant American flags as the plans make their 30 minute journey down the coast.
In New York City, how many hot dogs will be the question of the day at the annual Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest on New York’s Coney Island boardwalk.
Eleven-time champion Joey Chestnut ate 74 wieners and buns to win last year’s men’s competition, while Miki Sudo won by eating 37 hot dogs on the women’s side.
Barbie Goes Glam Rock to Honor David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust
BARBIE has been many things over the years. Now, she’s dressed as Ziggy Stardust.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the release of David Bowie’s iconic “Space Oddity,” Barbie overseers at Mattel released a collectible version of the doll dressed as Ziggy Stardust, one of his most beloved alter egos.
Barbie wears the metallic Ziggy space suit with red and blue stripes, flared shoulders and cherry red platform boots. Mattel spared no makeup, featuring the astral sphere smack in the middle of Ziggy Barbie’s forehead. The doll’s hair is fiery red.
The $50, limited edition doll was created in collaboration with The David Bowie Archive.
The beloved rocker died in 2016 after battling cancer. He was 69.
Jennifer Lopez Forced to End New York City Concert Early Due to Massive Power Outage
The Big Apple went dark Saturday night, and for those at Madison Square Garden that meant no Jennifer Lopez.
The songstress had only just started her show when a massive power outage swept across New York City, spelling an early end to her show as the theater was evacuated.
Lopez took to Instagram to share a message with her fans and explain that the show had been canceled due to the unforeseeable circumstances.
“The power is out in NYC and at MSG. Heartbroken to say tonight’s show is cancelled. We will reschedule. Love you all!!! Stay safe!” Lopez captioned the clip.
“We had just started our show,” the singer explained in the video. “They’re asking everybody to evacuate, very slowly and calmly, and obviously that’s what were going to have to do.”
Lopez later posted a second message expressing her disappointment over not getting the chance to perform for her many excited fans.
“Devastated and heartbroken that I can’t perform for all of you tonight. We will make this up to you, I promise! I love you!!” Lopez shared.
Gayle King, who was in attendance at Lopez’s Madison Square Garden concert when the blackout occurred, shared two videos to her Instagram. The first showed a bit of the entertainer’s performance, and the second focused on the aftermath of the incident and the confused audience.
“Uhhh yeah so I actually made it to @jlo concert and then what had happened ‘wuz’ swipe left… now wondering the streets in an Uber trying to find a hotel room,” King captioned the slideshow. “My apt has NO power and I live on the 27th floor … funny thought my place had a back up generator …”
The arena later tweeted confirming the news of the cancellations and plans to reschedule.
“Due to power outage issues in parts of Manhattan, which included Madison Square Garden, tonight’s Jennifer Lopez show was forced to end early. We will follow up with tickets buyers to tonight’s show with more information as soon as we have it,” Madison Square Garden tweeted hours after the incident.
The black out, which police reportedly believe was started by a transformer fire, swept the west side of Manhattan and left over 73,000 people without power, according to NBC New York. Power is currently being restored, but many residents remain in the dark.
Coincidentally, the blackout occurred on the anniversary of the infamous 1977 New York City blackout, which led to mass chaos in the city.
Lopez’s show has been rescheduled for Monday, July 15 at 8 p.m. ET at Madison Square Garden.
Protesters stage die-in at Washington Square Park amid recent increase in cyclist deaths
Demonstrators staged a ‘die-in’ at a New York City park Tuesday night, following the recent increase in deaths of bicyclists in the city.
During the protest at Washington Square Park, there was a tense confrontation just outside the park between cyclists and the NYPD.
“This is the New York City police department,” was the message from a police loudspeaker. “You are unlawfully in the roadway obstructing traffic. You are ordered to leave the roadway and utilize the sidewalk.”
Cyclists rode down Fifth Avenue in protest, boiling mad after police used a squad car to box in a cyclist last week in the East Village.
Police said it was because that cyclist refused to pull over after officers said he blew through several red lights.
“Ride with us! Ride with us! I’m telling you one ride you guys will change your perspective!”, said one cyclist.
The cyclists who squared off with police were just a small faction of the hundreds of demonstrators who turned out to protest, staging a mass die-in.
They were angry at Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Department of Transportation, and police. 15 cyclists have been killed by vehicles so far this year, more than all of last year.
“Some people say there are too many people on bikes in New York,” one protester said. “We say there are too many cars. It is time to change how we build our streets.”
“There’s still an over sympathizing with car owners and attachment to car culture even within the NYPD at the highest levels,” said New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.
“I’m looking to keep cyclists safe,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said Monday. “I don’t want anybody to walk away from this press conference thinking that’s not my primary concern. We’ve had 15 bicyclists killed so far this year. That’s a concern to me personally, that’s a concern to the NYPD.”
The mayor calls it a crisis, saying he is deeply worried about the fatalities and is vowing to do something different.
The protest was largely peaceful, with one cyclist arrested for disorderly conduct.
The Department of Transportation released the following statement:
“This year’s recent cyclist fatalities are senseless tragedies on our roads, and our thoughts are with all of the victims’ friends and family. We continue our Vision Zero efforts to engineer safer streets and add more bike lanes to our growing network, and details on the new cyclist safety plan we are working on will be released later this month. To date, we have already averaged over 20 miles of protected bike lanes a year for the last three years, more than any other administration.”
The DOT said the safety plan will include:
–New and expanded cycling infrastructure citywide that will further protect cyclists.
–New cycling-oriented policy changes, some of which will be pursued through state or city legislation.
–Increased public awareness and education programs that focus on cyclist safety, including aggressive outreach to truckers and industry partners.
–Further enhanced NYPD enforcement and work with the State on better truck enforcement.
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