CORTLANDT, NY – July 4 events across the country will not look the same this year thanks to the new coronavirus. Many cities and towns have been forced to cancel the annual Fourth of July events, including Cortlandt and Peekskill.
When New York began reopening as the coronavirus pandemic subsided, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned that "attractive nuisances" were a no-no. That meant big events, festivals, concerts … and the always-well-attended July 4 fireworks displays around the Hudson Valley.
Only gatherings of up to 25 people will be allowed in phase 3 of the regional reopening, and that's where the Hudson region should be until July 7.
All Peekskill Recreation Programs continue to be postponed. Cortlandt decided to keep the pool closed this year, given the pandemic protocols and the fact that the coronavirus outbreak stopped work on the bathhouse, which is now expected to be finished in August.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer said he regretted not having the usual fireworks at Kensico Plaza and Rye Playland, but that it would be impossible to maintain pandemic protocols such as social distancing. He reminded residents that large gatherings are still one of the fastest ways the virus spreads.
Other well-attended events, like the annual display in Southeast, are postponed. "We are happy to report that early responses from our donors are supportive of our new date of August 22nd! We still working out the details but we are moving forward with August 22nd. We are continuing to get support from local businesses and organizations like the Putnam County Italian American Club in Brewster, who have been supporting this event since year one," organizers of the Southeast fireworks show wrote on their Facebook page.
Or they’ve been dramatically modified. The Rockland Boulders, which usually puts on several days of fireworks around the national holiday, held a “drive-in” event June 20 for $25 per carload.
Also, most of the region’s historic sites are closed. So you can’t go to the Fort Montgomery Revolutionary War site, Constitution Marsh or the Vanderbilt Mansion.
However, the hiking trails at Locust Grove, the historic home of Samuel Morse, inventor of the telegraph, are open in Poughkeepsie — and they’re beautiful. No restrooms, though. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for groups of five or less.
Or, you could visit the historic West Point Foundry Reserve, which has beautiful walking trails along the Hudson River.
New York State Parks are open with a number of density reduction measures and restrictions in place. Details are available here.
If you feel like biking, jogging, rollerblading or just plain walking, there’s always the Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie or the brand-new shared-use path across the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.
How about fishing? Get your license first. Find fishing license information online.
Here’s the state’s list of lakes and ponds in the Hudson Valley that are open to the public for fishing.
Dutchess County Lakes and Ponds
Orange County Lakes and Ponds
Putnam County Lakes and Ponds
Ulster County Lakes and Ponds
Ulster County Warmwater Rivers
Westchester County Lakes and Ponds
Scenic Hudson offers "Park Alternatives." Here’s what they suggest:
Country roads: Do a Robert Frost and take the road “less traveled by.” Ambling down one of the valley’s innumerable rural (public) byways, you can immerse yourself in the beauty of the countryside—wildflowers, cows, stone walls, a historic farmhouse or two, and lots of fresh air.
Cemeteries: Precursors of municipal parks, 19th-century rural cemeteries were designed to meet the psychological and recreational needs of communities. Historic cemeteries in Albany, Middletown, Poughkeepsie, Troy and other valley cities feature winding roads, an arboretum’s worth of trees and shrubs, picturesque ponds and fascinating funerary art. Meandering through one will indeed soothe body and soul.
Of course, there's always the Macy's fireworks in New York City. The mayor's office and Macy's will produce a six-day firework display running from June 29 to July 1, with a July 4 grand finale on the top of the Empire State Building that will air on NBC.
Due to the pandemic, counties or cities may adjust or cancel events at the last minute. Check your event before you go. Know of other events in the area? Post them on the Patch calendar or share details on our free Neighbor Post feature.
Check out this roundup of everything from barbecue essentials to patriotic table decor to be sure your July 4 is the best in the USA.