It’s an explosive situation.
In the past few weeks, many south Brooklynites have been bothered by an increasing number of fireworks set off in their neighborhoods. Many say the explosions go on through the late night-hours, ruining sleep and scaring pets.
“I’m on Senator between 3rd and 4th [Avenues],” said Bay Ridge resident Pat Knutsen. “I think they’re in the park on 67th, around the corner. I’ve never heard them start this early. It’s been going on for at least the last month.”
“I’ve complained [to 311] and they tell me they can’t do anything because I don’t have an exact location,” said Diana Parkansky Medovoy. “I’m hearing m80s from my bedroom. I don’t know where they’re coming from ! This is beyond infuriating!”
Even going out has been problematic for Bay Ridge residents.
“I can’t even walk my dog at night,” said Brent Marks Landro.
Help may be on the way.
On Tuesday, June 23, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the creation of a multi-agency task force to crack down on the sale of illegal fireworks.
The task force will target suppliers, distributors and possessors of large quantities of illegal fireworks by conducting investigations and sting operations within and outside of New York City to disrupt supply chains. The FDNY will also launch a public safety campaign, including public service announcements and social media, to illustrate the dangers of illegal fireworks.
“Illegal fireworks are both dangerous and a public nuisance,” said de Blasio. “We’re cracking down on this activity at the source to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers and the ability of our neighbors to get some sleep.”
“For any number of reasons, the use of illegal fireworks has skyrocketed this year and that has damaged the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.
“The NYPD will continue to work closely with our city partners to address this dangerous issue.”
Still, locals are struggling with the noise and want it to stop.
“I understand the appeal of people saying, ‘It’s Brooklyn – it’s always been this way,’” said Brooklyn native Michael Gargiulo. “Growing up in Bensonhurst in the ’80s and ’90s, I remember going with my dad to buy m80s and bottle rockets from some guy’s trunk in Midwood. We stopped when one of the kids on our block blew off a few fingers. We had no idea how horrible the sounds of fireworks could be for pets and young kids. It’s especially scary when [they] are setting them off at 7:30 a.m. for no reason. Just because we did it growing up doesn’t mean it’s OK.”
Elected officials commented on the situation.
“These endless fireworks are not fun, they’re not safe, and they’re keeping us awake all night,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “The city crackdown on illegal suppliers will hopefully help. This problem has to be addressed immediately so we can finally get some sleep.”
“The fireworks are out of control, yet the mayor is acting like a passive observer creating yet another task force instead of leading,” said U.S. Rep. Max Rose.
“I believe the city and state need to work collaboratively on disrupting supply chains because the volume of fireworks appears incessant and this is not cheap stuff,” added Councilmember Mark Treyger. “The supply chain must be disrupted to adequately address illegal fireworks.
“We don’t really know why but we assume it’s because people are just bored and looking to amuse themselves,” said Councilmember Justin Brannan. “Unfortunately, that amusement comes at the expense of most everybody else’s sleep and sanity. And their pets, too.
“The NYPD will respond if we can give them exact locations. I know that’s tough because usually we can hear the fireworks but we can’t see exactly where they are coming from. We are asking people to continue to call 911/311 or even our office so that the police can follow up and stop this madness.”
Brannan also said he is working with the local precincts to make sure they can disrupt the supply chain.
“This many fireworks means there is an organized distribution system going on here in Brooklyn,” he said.
However, Borough President Eric Adams has told residents not to call 311 or 911 to report fireworks, according to the New York Post.
“We want a good community response to dealing with a nuisance,” he said. “This is a nonviolent act. So those three numbers that we all dial, 911, get over that.”