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Questions about viewing fireworks in NYC

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Does anyone have information on access to the public viewing areas, such as how far in advance you have to get there and if there will be restrooms / porta-potties? The Macy's website only has the locations, not any other practical tips.

Also, it says that fireworks can be seen anywhere that has a view of the sky over the East River. I'm trying to figure out how i can determine that. Does that mean that you have to be able to see the East River from where you are? I will be staying in the East Village (alphabet city) and am wondering if i can just go out in the street there and look up??

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