July 5th

Well last night I occupied my house because there was no way in hell I was going to leave it unguarded on July 4th. Neighbors lighting off fireworks on the sidewalk is a given, I just wanted to be there to ask that the ‘fun’ not extend to in front of my house. And unlike years before the people actually living here did limit their lightings to their own fronts and rear yards. Those people on the corner shooting off the big display, I don’t know where they came from.
My block, well one corner of my block, was the site of one of the many, many, many neighborhood fireworks shows, that was best appreciated from someone else’s roofdeck. From the ground it looked and sounded like the city was under seige. Loud booms, far off bursts of light, two ghetto birds (helicopters) whirling all over the place, traffic on Florida tied up (really where are you people going?), kids gone crazy, chaos. However, up 3 floors, with a clear line of sight to the National Mall, all of NE, and northwest NW it was a pretty entertaining show punctuated by the flashing of police lights on the ground highlighting the smoke. Police weren’t stopping the fireworks, they were stopping drivers, hands against the car, whole show.
The official show on the Mall was nice, but you guys in Capitol Hill, y’all were impressive and very illegal looking. We saw fireworks shooting up high from Foggy Bottom, Columbia Heights, Georgetown (maybe), Brookland, Trinidad, SW or SE, and North Capitol. But Capitol Hill takes the cake, almost nonstop fireworks action from the east. There was a brief period when Foggy Bottom shot off a impressive light show with shooting stars and ladyfingers.
Locally, there was the exploding extravaganza on my block and some others I think I can pinpoint around Shaw. It looked like there were fireworks going off near the fire station on New Jersey Ave and Dunbar High School. Someone else in the viewing party guessed NY and North Capitol as well as something around U Street.
We broke it up around 10:30PM, but the fireworks kept going on until July 5th sometime after midnight. From my 2nd floor bedroom window I could see fireworks still going off. Instead of watching, I decided to soak in the tub and have a glass of wine. The AC units in my house are so loud (and the walls well insulated) that the fireworks were just background noise. I fell asleep sometime around 12:30AM.
Lesson of the day, have friends with roof decks.

6 thoughts on “July 5th”

  1. I’m just glad we got a good soaking from the rain prior to the yearly “Shaw Fireworks Bonanza.” That’s what people don’t think about is the fact that one rocket gone wrong can take out a whole row of people’s houses. Or maybe they don’t care.

  2. No, they don’t care. From the Eckington ListServe:

    “sorry you were insulted…i too returned from the mall and was looked at as if i were crazy when i had to ask if i could park in the only available parking space near my home…i entered my home very much wanting to call the police to ask my neighbors to go in front of their home and not mine with their merry-making-dangerous-fireworks sparking onto my mercedes benz…if it helps your wife any…tell her to not take it so personally…many of our neighbors that use hurting racist slurs really do have very limited vocabulary.

    —– Original Message —-
    From: “kn1216@…”
    To: eckington@yahoogroups.com
    Sent: Wednesday, July 4, 2007 9:24:31 PM
    Subject: [Eckington] A long way to go

    My wife and I came home tonight from taking our daughter to see the fireworks display at the National Mall. When we got back to our house, a bunch of very young kids (some looked to be 4 or 5) were setting off fireworks at the end of our driveway. They were shooting the fireworks off directly into a tree, which caused them to spray in various directions, including on our house and car. My wife went out and politely asked them to set the fireworks off in a safer place. The kids were receptive, but we found that they only continued doing exactly what we politely asked them not to do. We went out to speak with the “adults” who were supervising these children. Instead of simply calling the police, as many might, we thought it made more sense to be neighbors and ask, again, kindly, that they stop. To make a long story short, we were told to “shut up” and called “crackers.” My wife, now in tears, told me it was the first time since we moved here in 3 years that she has felt she no longer wants to live in the neighborhood.


  3. People not caring, not particularly novel. During the rest of the year, people toss garbage out their cars. When you call them on it you run the same risk of insult.
    This is why I stay home on the 4th. To protect my property. There is a risk, based on previous years and proximity to a prime fireworks setting that some idiot may try to set fireworks off in front of my house.
    In past years I’ve employed passive-aggressive methods of leaving on the sprinkler and occassionally soaking the sidewalk.

  4. Wow, you saw police stopping cars? I didn’t see a cop the entire night while watching the show from my front stoop. We just figured they were all down on the Mall.
    To Aaron: You did the right thing. The cops wouldn’t have come even if you had called them. Don’t let the jerks run you off.

  5. I was returning home from a July 4th party and was driving up 1st St. NW at around 10:15pm. Somewhere around P or Q Streets people were lighting off fireworks right in the middle of the street! I was so annoyed, and a bit shocked by the sound of my neighborhood. It seemed like I was in Bagdad. I wasn’t around in 1968, but I had a sense of what it might have been like. This was my first DC July 4th, and the noise was quite dis-heartening. If I end up buying a home in Shaw, which I hope to do in the next 6 months, I’m going to try to turn my block into a fireworks free zone. Or maybe I’ll leave town and hope for the best.

  6. Tom be careful about trying to get the environment (block) to bend to your will. Try to find one that pretty much is similar to your thinking and sans children/teens. Richardson Pl didn’t have anyone blowing up anything.

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