Saturday, July 05, 2008


Independance Day 1996 in Little Italy ..

The cops and the Fire Department occasionally drove through the area but did not stop on this night . This was a neighborhood thing ; a traditional Little Italy 4th of July celebration of independance and liberty . This event was sponsored , funded and executed by the neighborhood for the benefit of all who chose to come to the area around Mott and Prince to enjoy up close and uncomfortable this old fashioned fireworks display .
This celebration was the last of it kind . The nanny state stopped it all , claiming of course that it was just too dangerous .
Well , we did always wear eye and ear protection for this event and yes , it was dangerous but it was also the best show in town ; outclassing Macy's annual display by a long way . Both displays used the same big aerial bombs but here you could be up close when bombs were launched from mortars in the center of an intersection .
Today we are left with one big automated fireworks display over the river , a pathetic cascade of water spilling from the top of some scaffolding errected beneath the Brooklyn bridge and memories of some orange sheets blowing in the wind in Central Park ... and of course annoying visions of a mayor lecturing us on safety as he also informs us as to just how much that the pathetic cascade of water from atop a scaffold will bring NYC in tourist dollars .
We ask one question of the reader concerning safety and our city administration . Which would you prefer , 1 night of fireworks on your block every year or a tower crane errected directly across the street from your residence that will be used for the next 18 months to build a new 400 foot tall building that was designed and self-certified by God-only-knows-who ? The tower crane of course will be certified safe by Mayor bloomberg's NYC Dept. of Buildings .The inpections and approvals of all work will be done by the same God-only-knows-who that designed the building according to their Directive 14 privileges .

Why do you talk in the 3rd person? It is very weird and disturbing.
Very simple . It is the editorial "we" ,and is commonly used in such text as is found here at NMNL .Nothing at all uncommon or wierd , though it is not often used in the confessional blogs that populate the internet today .
you're really disturbed by something like that, anon? Sure it's not your own fear that you bring into it?
great pix! i remember july 4th 1988 and the local fireworks on 10th between 1st and 2nd. the firecrackers were so intense at times that after a while it sounded like rain. kept me up till 2 or 3 am with no AC and open windows. 20 years later it is hard to imagine that.
but the tompkins square riot that occurred about a month later is something i think we could see again given the NYPD's performance during the 2004 GOP convention. it might not happen in tompkins square, but any number of neighborhoods in transition.
I too was there that night, since the cops and Giuliani closed down the action at my usual viewing spot on Thompson and Spring the year before, although that had been going on for decades.

You could feel the concussive force of the explosions on your chest, like a weight.

Resting against the wall of the building that now houses that silly Rice Dessert shop, across from DiSalvio Park, I missed sever laceration - maybe death - by inches as the concussive pressure of the explosions shattered a second floor window, and glass rained down on the sidewalk a mere few inches in front of me.

This year I witnessed the lame Macy's event from a balcony near the FDR.

I tell you: if I had my choice, I'd still go back to Spring Street and take my chances with flying glass.
great photographs,
I remember 15-20yrs earlier when it was done on lower mulberry street and Park street, now Mosco.
they fed the firecracker pile with gasoline.
amazing photographs. thanks so much for sharing them. it is shocking how quickly and drastically things have changed in the city! it's still the only place i wanna be, but i'm afraid it's losing it's soul... you often refer to the east village today as an adult theme park of orgnanized 'safe' fun for those that have... sadly, i concur.
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