Illegal fireworks are going off every night, all across the city, at levels normally seen only on July 4. If this is a “new normal,” it becomes one more sign that the city is spiralling downward.
Not quite as scary as the spike in shootings, but bigger: 311 posted an astounding 8,967 fireworks complaints in the first three weeks of June – vs. just 28 in the same 21 days last year.
Central Brooklyn and Upper Manhattan host the worst hot-spots, but predawn explosions are everywhere.
And that’s a sign of disorder: People need to sleep, and fireworks pose real risks of causing fires, too.
New Jersey legalized many fireworks last year, so it’s even easier to get. But certainly not the main cause.
Partly its the lockdown, which gave us all cabin fever and left many hands idle – especially young people’s. Plus, the protests have generated an air general of anarchy, or at least the defiance of authority.
But the leadership response is telling. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams urged residents to approach the culprits themselves, rather than ring 311 or 911 and risk a police confrontation. At 2 a.m.?
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams wants the cops out of it, too. He urges the NYPD to focus on the suppliers, not on those who are actually disturbing the peace. Then again, imagining a “collective community” response is his go-to answer.
A spokesman for the Manhattan DA says there has been any major fireworks seizures in the borough – and all offenses will be no-bail these days, anyway.
The NYPD, all too tellingly, gets back to us: With homicides up as well as shootings, and politicians still focused on appeasing protesters, we fear high command is scrambling on too many fronts.
Neither Adams nor Williams is completely wrong: No one wants to send cops after foolish kids, especially not right now.
But the message to quit it has to go out somehow, or small lawlessness will bring bigger infractions all too quickly – and in communities that can at least afford it.