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Tri-State Area Residents, Visitors Excited To Celebrate Fourth Of July Weekend After Last Year's Cancelations

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Independence Day is just two days away, and after so many of last year's events were canceled, this Fourth of July promises to be a huge celebration.

From the suburbs to Coney Island, people cannot wait.

The holiday weekend kicked off at Fort Hamilton, where fireworks lit up the night sky over Brooklyn, celebrating Independence Day as the city emerges from the pandemic.

At Coney Island, visitors from all over the world came for the big events.

"Fireworks! I want to see the fireworks. Missed it," said Ramon Gonzalez, from Puerto Rico.

"Oh, I can't wait. Been looking forward to it all year," said Tracy Smith, from Sacramento, California.

Web Extra: Where To Watch 4th Of July Fireworks Around Tri-State Area

Coney Island is hosting a fireworks show Sunday night.

Smith and his family came from the west coast for the fireworks and the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.

"We used to watch it on TV in California, so I said, 'You know, I'm going down there to watch it live,'" Smith told CBS2's Nick Caloway.

Men's 13-time winner Joey Chestnut was among the top professional eaters who were officially weighed in at Hudson Yards on Friday.

Last year's contest was held at a private location without an audience, due to COVID restrictions.

This year, the crowds will be back.

"I'll be really excited to have an audience yelling at me and pushing me along," Chestnut said.

The weekend will be capped off by the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Show Sunday night starting at 9:25, launched from barges on the East River at Midtown.

The Macy's fireworks show was scaled back last year for the pandemic.

This year's theme highlights first responders and healthcare heroes.

In the suburbs, a time-honored tradition is back in Ridgewood, New Jersey.

Chairs line the streets days ahead of the popular Independence Day Parade scheduled for Monday, July 5, so residents can mark their spot for the event, which is more than a century old.

There are plenty of road closures as a result of the Macy's fireworks show.

The FDR Drive will be closed from 3 p.m. to midnight on Sunday from 61st Street down to the Brooklyn Bridge.

CBS2's Nick Caloway contributed to this report.

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