Fireworks


Editor’s Note: This post is our annual celebration of Independence Day. No, not the Jeff Goldblum & Fresh Prince star vehicle (hellooooo Vivica!), but the actual holiday celebrating the day our great nation gave the Brits Scarface’s “Fuck You!” speech. Before Classick begins his annual yarn, enjoy this new depressing patriotic video about Captain America.

and now, here’s Classick….!

Like many a young pyromaniac before me, I get giddy around this part of the summer as we approach the celebration of our nation’s birth. The notion that at least one day out of the year you can basically play Wile E. Coyote and set off explosions and light shows with just a flick of the match– what could be better as a kid?

Yes, I can hear the mothers, wives and girlfriends now saying “fireworks are dangerous!” or “you’ll blow your hand off!” or “think about the kids!“, and yes, this post should have the customary disclaimer for any impressionable youths– bah I’ll put it here:

KIDS, FIREWORKS ARE DANGEROUS! DON’T LIGHT THEM WITHOUT A RESPONSIBLE ADULT PRESENT TO SUPERVISE! NOTICE I SAID RESPONSIBLE? YEAH, YOUR DRUNK UNCLE ON HIS 14TH SPADES HAND KNOCKIN BACK HIS 6TH CAN OF MILLER HIGH-LIFE DOESN’T COUNT! WE GOOD? OK, THEN!

Looking back, we had some great fun with fireworks– at least to the extent we could as kids. We lit firecrackers and tossed them (again, dangerous stuff), or would set up firecrackers to explode inside of bottles (also dangerous), old fruit or even pets pigeons stuffed animals! We lit bottle rockets and launched them into the night sky! I once shot my brother in the chest with a Roman Candle because I lit it in our driveway without reading the directions fully! And who could forget the great M-80 watermelon explosion in the driveway of our local Kentucky Fried Chicken back in 1988? Not I, that’s for sure!

Growing up in NYC, a few factors got in the way of me fully enjoying fireworks like every red-blooded American kid should. Sure, you could watch the big Macy’s fireworks spectacular on TV or head to the harbor and watch it live, but nothing beat lighting your own! For some reason, can’t remember if it was then Mayor Ed Koch or just the NY legislature in general (probably was then governor Mario Cuomo), fireworks sales were illegal on the streets of New York. This outlaw didn’t apply to the tamer stuff like firecrackers, sparklers, magnesium flare wands, black snakes, stink bombs, smoke bombs or the absolute lamest fireworks placebo of all time, snaps. However it meant that if we wanted to light Roman Candles, Screaming Mimis, M-80’s, Blockbusters, or any of the big big stuff, they’d have to be procured illegally somehow.

Fun Snaps…so accessible… so LAME!!!!

Ahhh, thank goodness for Chinatown! Now by the 1990’s, the city had cracked down on fireworks sales in lower Manhattan and thus all you can get from that area to this day are knock-off Louis Vuitton bags and them roast ducks they have hanging in the window on Canal Street (mmmmmm… but I dye gress!). The other alternative was to head out of state and in a sense smuggle fireworks into the city.

Roast duck? Don’t mind if I do!!

But thanks to many fathers, uncles and older brothers & cousins in the 80s and 90s making that special trip to Chinatown, we NYC kids were able to enjoy a taste of the big league fireworks that a lot of our down south, midwest and west coast counterparts may have taken for granted. Imagine how much I freaked at age 16 moving to the great state of Virginia and finding out that stuff we used to have to sneak out of Chinatown and risk getting nabbed by the NYPD for was fully legal?!! And they had stands on the street where you can stock up and buy them?!! Holy moley!

"Wait, these are LEGAL?" - Every Native New Yorker who ever left the Rotten Apple during the summer.
“Wait, these are LEGAL?” – Every Native New Yorker who ever left the Rotten Apple during the summer.

OK, before this goes all over the place, here’s a good time to ask you readers…

What were some of your most favorite fireworks?

What were some of your least favorite fireworks?

If you’ve got a fireworks related story, hit up the comments below!

And in closing, be safe out there this week and have fun! Take it away, Joe Dirt!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Davenappy says:

    Favorite fireworks: Bottle rockets by the pack. Anything big that made a mini fireworks display on your block. M-80’s to blow stuff up.

    Least favorite fireworks: Firecrackers by the brick. After a while, it felt too much like Chinese New Year. Sparklers.

    Godbrothers and I blew up old GI Joe figures with M-80’s. Sadly, there was never enough left for a proper burial. We shot bottle rockets at the kids up the block by lining up 3-4 bottles in their directions and watched the rockets fly horizontal to the ground. Shook a roman candle a little too hard and the entire thing went off in my hand. Awesome stuff.

  2. Lamar the Revenger says:

    There’s stores in PA that sell fireworks, BUT if you are a PA resident you cannot buy them. (you could because you’re in VA, right) Also I have a friend who lit an M80 and was holding it. His dad saw it, knocked it out of his hand, only to have it explode, taking 2 of his fingers off.

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