Going fourth with fireworks

A fireworks display.
A fireworks display.

So let’s retrace the first six months of 2020; unlike every other through the decades there was no commemorative Tribute to the Ancestors at Coney Island, no Memorial Day DanceAfrica weekend bazaar at Brooklyn’s Academy of Music nor was there a caravan of buses outside the Adam Clayton Powell building in Harlem on May 19 waiting to transport African-Americans to Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, Westchester on the anniversary of the birthdate of El Hajj Malik Shabazz.

In any other year, the ritual invited a conscious assembly led by Professor James Small to honor the life of the Pan-Africanist many recall as Malcolm X.

Nostalgia recalls the journey to the gravesite being fraught with positive interactions from the moment the driver departed 125th St. For starters everyone onboard were instructed to introduce themselves stating a reason for making the trip.

As each passenger explained their individual purpose, others listened keenly acknowledging the intergenerational, Africa-centered gathering of admirers of the Black nationalist who was gunned down at age 39, inside the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem on Feb. 21, 1965.

And while there was no pilgrimage or pouring of libations this year at the gravesite, one month later, there were massive Juneteenth celebrations.

Mention must be made that President Donald Trump took credit for enlightening Americans about the significance of the 99-year historic date.

Regardless, the June 19 date seemed to culminate this year with expressive protest demonstrations, akin to those promoted reforms Malcolm X often demanded.

Blame it all on Corona, the household familiar virus that forced cancellation of crowd pleasing attractions through Spring and the early weeks of summer but add to that loud booming noises in every neighborhood that begins and dusk and rarely ends until dawn.

Conspiracy theorists blamed the C-virus for the nightly intrusion.

Some attributed the loud sounds to explosions from fireworks discharged by communities in response to quarantine fatigue.

The blazing perplexity began in some neighborhoods prior to the date planned for the annual Puerto Rican Day parade.

Also cancelled to secure social distancing orders it seemed as if the absence of the Latino color spectacular propelled intermittent noisy spectacles that erupted in the air.

The phenomenon was explained to be a release from three months of pandemic confinement.

Others attribute the now nightly exhibition to a protest against police brutality.

While others say the intensified pre-Independence Day displays could be police-sanctioned retribution against anti-choke-hold laws imposed by the city and state.

Although beginning earlier than usual in the year, on one hand, the rainbow of colorful flares prettily usher the most celebrated holiday honoring the birth of the nation.

On the other the noise reverberates an ugly and disturbing annoyance that alarms pets, people and a tired and sleepy population weary from everyday woes.

Mayor Bill de Blasio recently addressed the issue giving a warning to the perpetrators that arrests will be made and not ignored as they have been since Juneteenth.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams disagreed with the approach to rectifying the nightly menace.

The former police captain said the recurring nightly sky show was only a nuisance and not a police emergency or an issue 311 operators should be taxed with resolving.

Adams suggested community leaders as the best solutions to resolving the citywide pyrotechnic problem.

“Stopping fireworks cannot turn into fireworks between the police and the community,” Adams said.

“We want a good community response to dealing with a nuisance,” Adams said.

“This is a nonviolent act.”

Instead of arresting pranksters, the former police captain said police should focus on stopping the flow of fireworks coming into the city.

As a matter of fact he suggested that if he were mayor, he would empower the NYPD to confiscate the large quantities of illegal fireworks disturbing the peace.

He surmised that more than anything the focus should emphasize the dangers associated with reckless use of fireworks.

“You could lose an arm, you could lose an eye, you could lose your life and parents need to know … your children should not be playing with this.”

The last Sunday in June, on the 50th anniversary of the Gay Pride Parade it seemed as if noise had abated.

Prior to the rainbow event during a regular COVID-19 press conferences, the mayor offered a compromise.

He said from June 29 to July 4, the city would put on a five-minute Grucci fireworks display in each borough.

The mayor explained that he would not disclose the location of each holiday showcase because revealing it might entice crowds to violate phase 2 restriction prohibiting crowd gatherings.

This Insider wishes everyone a safe and happy Fourth.

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