This year is unfortunately following the long tradition of unruly and unreasonably loud summers, and going all the way back to Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the city has promised a “crackdown on illegal fireworks.”
“We’re going into a summer that’s going to be in many ways a wonderful summer,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in his daily briefing Wednesday morning, “but there’s also challenges that come with that. Each summer we look forward to the right kind of fireworks, the kind everyone can enjoy safely and legally. There’s a real problem with the wrong kind of fireworks.”
De Blasio said he launched a multi-agency task force to deal with the skyrocketing danger of illegal fireworks displays, similar to the one announced last year during the pandemic lockdown.
According to the city’s database for fireworks complaints, residents are reporting numerous displays of fireworks in residential areas or sidewalks as early as 2 p.m. in the afternoon to about 3 a.m. in the morning every night this week.
Many of the most recent complaints were in Manhattan, but they range all over the boroughs consistently.
On Monday, June 7, a freelance reporter captured a video he later posted on Twitter of the aftermath of Washington Square Park. He said park goers defied the NYPD’s curfew for the park, that cops didn’t show up, and that there were some fireworks displays and dirt bike riders popping wheelies.
One resident posted a fireworks complaint video to 311 on Twitter captured in Manhattan on 92nd Street and First Avenue from her apartment window. She called the display “clearly illegal and terrifying.”
On June 24, 2020, a 3-year-old boy was injured by fireworks shells while inside of his Bronx apartment, drawing attention to the spike of rampant fireworks last year.
“Little boy, rushed to the hospital with cuts and burns. This is serious stuff,” said de Blasio.
Councilmember Fernando Cabrera (D14-Bronx) also spoke about the devastating effects fireworks have had on vulnerable populations in the community. “Many of our veterans who have post-traumatic stress, they’re affected by these loud fireworks. Children, like my own grandson who’s 2-years-old, at 2 o’clock in the morning when they go off. They disrupt the sleep of our children, our seniors, and even our pets are affected by illegal fireworks,” said Cabrera.
De Blasio’s coalition of agencies will include the sheriff’s department, city and state police, fire department, port authority, Yonkers and New Jersey state police, and U.S. ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives).
“We all came together to talk about what resources we had and how we were going to tackle this problem and be proactive to prevent what we saw last year, which was obviously a disturbing rise in the use of fireworks,” said Sheriff Joseph Fucito.
De Blasio announced earlier this week that ATF especially is being tapped for assistance in cracking down on target suppliers, distributors and possessors of large quantities of illegal fireworks as well as illegal guns.
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