Posted on June 18, 2020 at 12:26 pm by West Sider
Fireworks blasting at all hours have been keeping Upper West Siders up this month — and there seems to be no resolution to the issue. In fact, many of the complaints have been classified by 311 as “unfounded” or “unnecessary.”
“As someone who gets woken up by them and needs to plan dog walks in the evening for my anxious dog around them, I can confirm there are more of them and they are far more sophisticated than last year,” wrote Charlotte Morrison, who took the photo above from 100th and Columbus.
Fireworks are being reported all around the city. Dozens of complaints about them have come in this month from throughout the neighborhood above 96th Street, according to 311 records.
Over the same period last year, there were only 2 fireworks complaints in all of June in the neighborhood.
“Pretty much every night on the UWS there are fireworks going off,” wrote another Upper West Sider. “Since Memorial Day. Waking up my kid. And either no one knows or no one cares, but it’s so tiresome at this point.”
Another said she’s been hearing an “aggressive amount” of fireworks near 103rd Street. “It’s been every night for nearly 3 weeks,” wrote Lauren Jensen. “My dog is losing his poor mind. I actually have to consider moving! Often around midnight and 3 am. I know I’m not the only one frustrated by it not being handled.”
One problem with getting people to stop shooting them off in the middle of the night is that an officer would have to see a firework being shot to take action.
“Our office made the recommendation to call 311 to a constituent yesterday,” wrote Sarah Crean, a spokesperson for Councilmember Helen Rosenthal. “The NYPD has to catch someone in the act of setting fireworks, which is not an easy thing to do. We have all been hearing the fireworks — but so far one person has contacted our office about the issue.”
The 24th precinct covers much of the area where the complaints are coming in. Deputy Inspector Naoki Yaguchi, commander of the precinct, told us the precinct is aware of the issue, though no arrests or citations have been made.
“As mentioned in your tip, most of these incidents are happening on the grounds of the Frederick Douglas Houses,” he wrote in an email to West Side Rag. “We have additional complaints/calls on W. 108 St./W. 109 St. Many of the calls that we receive are that people heard fireworks so to the extent they can help us with exact locations with where the fireworks are actually going off would be helpful in deploying our personnel to that location to catch them in the act. We are also working with our Housing counterparts to address this issue.”
It’s often difficult to figure out where fireworks are coming from — and many may be getting launched near the Douglass Houses but not on the property. A reporter spending time at the Douglass Houses on Thursday night did not see any fireworks being set off in the vicinity.
The question too is whether the police should be enforcing this kind of activity — at a time when many New Yorkers are pushing for a deescalated response to non-violent crime.
“In Brooklyn, a sharp divide has opened between residents aggravated by the noise and threatening to call authorities and others who cautioning that could lead to the type of dangerous police action they’ve just spent weeks protesting against,” NBC reported.