Hot dog! NYC marks July 4 with eating contest, fireworks

NEW YORK — After a year lost to the coronavirus, New York City’s most well-known Fourth of July traditions are back.

The traditional Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks show will be back in full form with a display over the East River, with shells being shot from five barges in a televised, choregraphed spectacle.

This year, crowds will be welcome to gather.

The show will be broadcast live on NBC as part of a two-hour special featuring the Black Pumas, Coldplay, OneRepublic and Reba McEntire. The performers’ appearances were pre-recorded from around the country in front of live audiences.

Last year, because of pandemic restrictions, there were a series of shorter fireworks shows in the days leading up to the holiday, with the locations kept secret in advance to keep people from congregating.

The annual spectacle of gluttony that is the Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest is also once again welcoming live audiences to watch the epic chow down in Brooklyn.

The event won’t be quite the same as usual. Instead of being at Surf and Stillwell avenues, just off the Coney Island boardwalk, this year’s competition will be nearby in a minor league baseball stadium, Maimonides Park. Spectators have been asked to register for free tickets in advance.

Last year, though, there were no spectators allowed as winner Joey Chestnut ate 75 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes.