I'm just glad the 4th is on a weekend this year. When it's during the week, I always feel bad if I don't go see them, but I work til 7:30pm and can't get a good spot in time for them to start. Always totally stuck in a massive block of people with no clear line of sight.... and then the mass exit - yuck.
You live in NYC, right? You might find that in comparison, the "crowds" in New Paltz might be a fraction of what you're used to.