Dear PoP: Were Neighborhood Fireworks Better This Year?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Bogotron

“Dear PoP,

So, I’m wondering if you or anyone else noticed that there seemed to be a lot more fireworks yesterday than in previous years, and certainly more than last year. I don’t mean the kind you set off on the street or whatever, but the big kind. My husband and I watched from our roof deck, and we have mostly a northern view and I swear, I saw a lot more displays this year. It also seemed that the casual person setting off pretty impressive almost-professional-grade (like, it couldn’t have been legal for them to have them) fireworks was a lot more than in previous years. I was wondering if anyone else noticed it and has any theories as to why? Did a local state relax some laws? Did some fireworks fall off a truck? Were the prices of fancy ones significantly lower this year?”

How would folks compare this year’s neighborhoods displays from previous years?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Suse_dc

24 Comment

  • i live on 9th street and it was rockin! totally didnt need to go anywhere else.

  • The corner of 6th and Florida NE had an amazing display of pyrotechnics courtesy of some surly punk kids.

  • Upshur park was incredible. Someone must have illegaly driven in some supplies from out of state, they had an enormous pile of boxes under a tarp and it went on for hours. Ah, the power of our local crews!

    • I watched those from my balcony last night. I was too sick to go out and was glad to have the show.

      I watched in SW last year. It’s hilarious to see fireworks go off sideways and firetrucks racing throughout the city.

      Considering we don’t have privately-funded fireworks, we need the neighborhood augmentation.

  • I always prefer the neighborhood show. So much fun. Well, until I’m sleepy and it’s still going or three days later and it’s still going… but still… best show ever. I had a lot of MD friends come over this year and they loved it.

  • Petworth fireworks were awesome! I agree, no need to go anywhere. I am so jealous of anyone with a rooftop deck, that must have been a sight.

    • we just go up through the hatch in our roof…no roof deck needed 🙂 Once a year we think how great it would be if we had a real roof deck and could could come up on the roof every night…and then mostly forget about it until the 4th rolls around the next year!

  • I think the folks up the alley from me located Saddam’s cache of WMD and fired most of them over the past 72 hours.

  • Some of the ones in Columbia Heights seemed to rival the official ones. The investment to accomplish that cannot have been small. It’s great to see our neighbors taking pride in civic displays.

    • the people who have the money for the big displays are drug dealers. That is how it is in my neighborhood and across the city.

      The drug dealers used to do two things-
      1. host block parties
      2. buy all the fireworks

      • Or, maybe they are just people who just enjoy blowing stuff up?

        I was hanging out with two of my neighbors who were shooting off (rather amazing) fireworks, and they were not drug dealers. The two groups were a) a family b) some yuppies.

        Not all large communal events are drug driven. Some are just groups of people celebrating.

  • 2nd & Webster was no joke! Petworth reps hard on the 4th. More of an ego thing, than a patriotic one. Either way, I was involved and I liked it.

  • Park View had amazing fireworks this year!!

  • If only the city would admit these neighborhood shows happen and plan for clean up. I am sure the fireworks debris will remain on my local streets for weeks or months, and all over local school grounds, like they have in the past. I would say it’d be nice if people would clean up after themselves, but that obviously is not a local cultural priority (nor are toilets, I note).

    • it was crazy in Ledroit, but the people setting them off (families who have been in the neighborhood for a long time) were out with pushbrooms afterwards cleaning. I was very impressed.

  • Yes, this was the first year that I saw random neighbors shooting off display fireworks (class B). Definitely not legal. I hope an ATF bureau boss somewhere is getting the brass-harass of a lifetime.

    Though I will say that the corner boys seemed to be as competant as the Greenbelt fire department. Dozens of the official, municipal fireworks in Greenbelt ended up in the trees. It’s all about the angle, boys.

  • East Capitol Hill also had some amazing displays, many of which were coming out of the courtyard in my back alley. Definitely alot of imports from South Carolina. They went until exactly midnight, and then suddenly stopped. My poor dog wasn’t a fan though.

  • I’ve lived in Petworth for 5 years and I have to say that I thought this year’s neighborhood display was — well — not quite like prior years. I definitely heard some big ones, but I’m talking about the small shows. There was no smoke hanging in the air, my family didn’t have to dodge any pyrotechnics when we left the house, and the streets had just a little more than the usual liter the next ay. Either I’m getting used to it or my block is getting sleepier.

  • The Mall fireworks were better than usual and riding home on the metro I could see about 4 neighborhood displays going off at once. I was awesome. I got off at Takoma and they were still going off in the field in back of Coolidge. It was wonderful.

  • It was quieter this year and certainly more controlled. When we first moved to COl Hts there were no police to be seen on the 4th and we were appalled at the amount of hard core explosives being launched in the street, at cars, on to roof tops. This year there were certainly illegal displays, but they seemed much more limited to safer places — school parking lots etc. And, the police, they were around to keep order.

    It seems like maybe we have reached a balance point between the cultural tradition of illegal fireworks displays and reasonable public safety. Or, maybe I’m just more mellow now.

  • bfinpetworth

    My first 4th in DC and Petworth. I must say that I was stunned when driving into the neighborhood on Upshur and up to Grant Cir. at about 10 pm with the amount of fireworks! Wow, we’d never seen anything like it! We were warned by neighbors so thankfully left our dogs in the basement with the TV on to muffle the noise. But to this Vermonter, it sounded like a war zone, albeit a festive one. My safety-consciousness left me a bit wary of such a display (especially the apparently horizontal firings…), but the excitement and joy in the streets was much greater than that down the hill in Adams Morgan, where I watched the Mall display from a rooftop. All those yuppies stood quietly and watched from afar, while in Petworth there was exuberant medlam. I went outside at about 6 am the next day and there were STILL explosions going on! We decided to stay in the neighborhood next year to participate in the real celebration.

    The mess in the streets was not nearly what I expected after hearing all the noise, I might add.

  • I watched the main show from the roof of my condo in U Street… but I was very quickly more interested in the neighborhood fireworks. There were just so many of them, all of them going off at once. The whole horizon was lit up.

    I know they’re illegal, but they’re really great. I wish D.C. would just legalize them so that scofflaws don’t get to be the only ones who have fun. As a law-abiding citizen, I wish I could join in too.

  • From my deck on New Hampshire and 4th in Petworth, I can see from the Cathedral to Chevy Chase. This years big displays (taller than a tree) were much more impressive than past years. At any given moment we could see countless neighborhood displays going on, including some Maryland displays.

  • I watched the fireworks last year from the top of a Rosslyn highrise. It was amazing to see fireworks going off all over the city for hours after the official ones ended. The collective firepower of all the neighborhood ones outgunned the stuff on the mall.

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