Fourth of July when I was a kid

by Peter Marus

I was listening to a podcast calle Giant Bomb (which all video game fans should-best out there), and they were talking abut the Fourth of July.  They spoke about the fireworks they were shooting off, how as kids they got a hold of them, and just how things used to be.

It got me remembering my past Fourth of Julys, and how my dad and cousin years ago used to get some crazy things to shoot off in front of the house.  It wasn't just them, but the entire neighborhood would have some fireworks and I thought the night of July 4th around my house trumped anything Macy's put together.  What ws shot off was a wide range of things.  It was a little as a bottle rocket, to something that today would be considered a pipe bomb (which it probably was).

I remember a month before my dad would put his order in with some guy at his job.  The guy's business was so big it had a menu my dad had to check off and put how much of what he wanted down.  A few weeks later my dad would come home with bags of stuff.  My cousin had an easier time: he worked by Canal Street in Manhattan, which when it's not a piracy heaven, it's a firework playground.  

The night if July 4th, my mom, sister, and I would sit on the stoop and my dad would start going through his arsenal.  Sometimes he would let me hold a Roman Candle, or shoot a bottle rocket off or two.  Along with this, we'd look around and see what others are shooting off.  My favorite is the helicoptors from the roofs of apartment buildings.  Then there was the one psycho with mortars, and that would really light up the sky-or street if he did it wrong.  Sometimes my dad would take a break and I would walk around the neighborhood to see what others are doing.  Sometimes we came across a guy shooting a Roman candle at people or moving cars, kids setting off M-80s-on top of cars and in the end it would set it on fire. Mostly we would see families just out enjoying the night and shooting off some fireworks.  I remember one guy with this gigantic one that had to be a bomb...IT LEFT A CRATER IN THE SIDEWALK!!!  IT was just one night of enjoyment EVERYONE had, no matter who you are.

My cousin would do it as well, either at his house or he and the rest of the clan would be at my house.  One year, my family went to my Aunts' house in Jersey where she had a huge lawn. My Uncle's family came down form Canada with a fuckton of fireworks, and boy did we light up the sky!!!  

Sadly, Things like that will never happen in the NYC area anymore.  THanks to Giuliani, the fireworks disappeared, and the Fourth sucks now.  I still say, what I saw as a kid in my neighborhood made that Macy's one look like shit.  Its one memory I have of the past I know will never come back.  It really saddens me.