Fireworks were a common way to celebrate Independence Day in most New York City neighborhoods. The cops had murderers to catch and weren't very interested in busting kids for illegal fireworks, as long as you kept it sane. At some point that last proviso was forgotten, but it wasn't us kids who screwed it up, but Neanderthal adults. They would light a fire in a big, cast iron garbage pail out in the street and just sit there lobbing in all sorts of fireworks, hour after hour. Some of these would be blown out of the pail and explode on someone's stoop or front yard. The poster boy for dangerous, over-the-top fireworks displays was John Gotti. Every year the Teflon Don would sponsor such an event in the Howard Beach community. At first the cops left it alone, but as Gotti became more notorious, they shut him down on Mayor Rudy Giuliani's orders.
For me fireworks on the Fourth of July were a part of growing up . They are less commonly seen in New York City neighborhoods these days because of a zero-tolerance crackdown by police. I guess that makes some sense, but I'm glad for the thrills we got from setting off fireworks as kids. To us it was mostly harmless fun (Brooklyn style) and I'm happy to report all fingers and toes are intact.