Volume 18 • Issue 19 | Sep. 30 - Oct 06, 2005

Fireworks over fireworks

Some Battery Park City residents were startled from their homes Saturday night by a serious of explosive sounds off shore.

At 9:30 p.m., a barge floating off the esplanade near Gateway Plaza was shooting a fireworks showcase in celebration of “Let Us Do Good” Children’s Foundation’s annual Tunnels to Tower Run, organized in memory of fallen firefighter Stephen Siller. For some Battery Park City south residents, however, the fireworks were more cause for concern than celebration.

According to an advisory sent by the Save West Street Coalition, Gateway Plaza residents were evacuating in pajamas and with children and “go bags.” Whether shaken or simply angered, residents contacted the coalition, which sent an advisory email in response.

The fireworks company, Fireworks by Grucci, was granted a fireworks permit by the U.S. Coast Guard, as are all fireworks companies seeking to shoot from the waterways . The river site of the show is in an approved zone for fireworks displays, said Lieutenant Commander Mike McBrady.

McBrady said fireworks displays at the contested location are common. There are “anywhere between a handful and a dozen a year,” he said. And although McBrady had not yet contacted the fireworks company, he said “by all indications they parked the barge in the same area” as before.

Philip Butler of Fireworks by Grucci was out of town and unavailable for comment.

McBrady said he has received four or five complaints from residents.

“We will be checking into those complaints to see if there is anything else we can do to mitigate the displays,” he said. Usually the Coast Guard notifies the appropriate faction of the local community board, but “perhaps there was a disconnect.”

The foundation responded to the West Street Coalition apologizing for any unrest they caused. “We deeply apologize for having you or your family members or neighbors feeling frightened.  We are trying to help people heal from those horrible attacks on us.  We will keep this in consideration when we make our plans for next year and thank you for making us aware,” the email read.

- Caitlin Eichelberger


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