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Illegal fireworks cause disturbance in Bayside, Whitestone

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The Fourth of July weekend brought a number of summons for illegal fireworks violations in Bayside, according to the 111th Precinct. This account, however, was not consistent with claims from one resident who said local law enforcement was reluctant put a stop to displays in the neighborhood.

Mandingo Tshaka, a longtime Bayside activist and former member of Community Board 11, voiced complaints about noise pollution and the possible fire hazard posed by the displays. He said this year’s 4th of July celebration found people shooting off fireworks in the streets and in playgrounds where he worries children could be hurt and houses could be set ablaze.

It was not the first time he has spoken out against weak enforcement of fireworks laws. In July 2015, Tshaka wrote a letter to the TimesLedger about the same issue and criticizing the police response.

“On the night of July 4, I went out on my motorized wheelchair, wanting to see who was involved in setting off the explosive devices that can kill or maim,” Tshaka wrote. “To my surprise, I did come across a patrol car by the Community Baptist Church here in Bayside, while a block away it sounded like a war zone. Two officers were just sitting in the car claiming they were protecting the church. Who was protecting the citizens?”

Community Affairs at the 111th Precinct did not give specifics on the number of people who had been issued with summons notices for illicit fireworks displays over the July Fourth weekend this year, but an officer said the law was upheld in a several cases.

State law signed into effect in 2015 allows for the private purchase of sparklers and other firecrackers which do not shoot upward. This law restricts fireworks from being purchased or ignited within New York City limits, while the sale to individuals under the age of 18 is not allowed.

“We need police reinstated in the area,” said Tshaka , who wants officers walking the beat on the Fourth of July weekend instead of patrolling from squad cars.

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said Whitestone is also a trouble area for illegal firecracker displays, and this year was the worst he had experienced.

But he pointed out that the inability of the police to take action lies in the fact that precincts in the outer boroughs lose personnel to the major fireworks shows in Manhattan, and as a result lose the manpower to effectively remove widespread violations from their own neighborhoods, Avella said.

“I’m sure Mandingo was right in terms of how bad it was in his neighborho­od,” Avella said. “It’s a hard thing for them. There isn’t enough police to investigate these things. All they can do is move around and discourage it from happening.”

Avella compared the extent of illegal fireworks displays in his area to that of a war zone.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

Updated 4:42 pm, July 11, 2016
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Reader feedback

anon from queens says:
All he does is cause trouble! He needs to get a life and stop butting into everyone's business! He ruined Martin's Park and made it a weed strewn memorial!!!
July 11, 2016, 6:59 pm
helloo out there from queens says:
That 'mandingo' character looking for his two minutes of attention for any reason whatsoever. Get a life, dude. No one cares about your piddling squawking and belly-aching.
July 12, 2016, 2:53 am
resident from bayside says:
fireworks on july 4th? unheard of
police protecting churches? shame on them

this person is definitely looking for their two minutes of fame. party pooper
July 12, 2016, 12:41 pm
why it is so from Queens says:
Police do not want to anger the local politicians who want the votes from the newly naturalized Asian citizens. These citizens used fireworks in their original countries and do not feel they should stop using them here despite the fact that they are illegal.
July 12, 2016, 2:21 pm
Mingster from Bayside says:
Nowhere in the 7/11/16 article ("Illegal fireworks cause disturbance in Bayside, Whitestone") were "Asians" cited as the people who were shooting off fireworks. When "why it is so from Queens" refers to Asian citizens, then he/she must be blaming only the Chinese (as they invented fireworks), or is he/she also including Koreans, Indians, Filipinos, Japanese, Vietnamese, Pakistanis, etc?

Were "non-Asians" absent from shooting off fireworks? I don't think so.

It's ignorant, bigoted people like you who help contribute to the racial turmoil in this country. The USA includes people from ALL countries across the globe. We need to move forward, not backwards. Count me in NOT voting for Trump!!!

Googling "who invented fireworks" provides some interesting information:

- "China may have invented the firework, but Italy invented the aerial shell ..."

- " ... fireworks play an essential role in helping people celebrate not only the 4th of July, but also countless other special occasions around the globe."

- "When the original 13 colonies declared their independence from England, fireworks played a central part in celebrating the occasion. The first 4th of July festivities took place in 1777, just one year after the Declaration of Independence was signed ... With the Revolutionary War raging and the outcome anything but certain, setting off fireworks helped steel the early Americans' resolve and gave them a common feeling of patriotism. Of course, the colonists eventually did win their independence in 1783, and fireworks have continued to light up the night sky in jubilation each July 4th."

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/14-fun-facts-about-fireworks-180951957/#8ozldflJMGoLyZgW.99

https://inventhelp.com/archives/07-05/inventhelp-newsletter-july-2005/the-big-bang-how-fireworks-became-the-worlds-most-popular-explosive
July 13, 2016, 10:05 pm
closed eyes from queens says:
The previous poster chose to look at the situation in Queens with closed eyes. Had he/she opened them, it would have been obvious who was setting off fireworks. It was not the Hessians or the Amish. Wake up and get off your silly liberal pedestal and join the real world.
July 14, 2016, 11:01 am
Diae from Bayside says:
Instead of them worry about fireworks y they do their jobs and stop the drug dealing that goes on under their noses
July 19, 2016, 3:44 pm

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