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Lowering the boom at Central Park

By Elizabeth Forel

Fireworks displays, like the ones sponsored by the Philharmonic and NYC Parks Department at the end of concerts in parks citywide, are a cliché.

The sound of explosions on a recent Wednesday night was all too familiar – like something was blowing up a few blocks away. But it was only the end of the Philharmonic concert in Central Park and the tired fireworks that many people wish would just stop. This same thing was repeated in Cunningham and Prospect Park. Enough is enough.

The City of New York’s rhetoric about their new WildlifeNYC Campaign is not believable. Those same raccoons lauded on subway posters are frightened out of their minds when explosions go off in the park – their home. I have been at the park when I heard the frantic flapping of wings in reaction to the first explosions. I wondered how many dead birds were found the next day when it was light. The wonderful music of Dvorak, Bernstein and Gershwin should be allowed to stand on its own.

Fireworks displays are an environmental disaster, releasing chemicals into the air, soil and water. The noise causes extreme stress to carriage horses, pet dogs, cats and the many wildlife species that occupy the parks. People who have pets can attest to how stressed they become. Terrorized dogs have been known to run off and get lost.

The noise can be heard for miles, sounding like explosions. The “bombs bursting in air” is upsetting to returning war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress.

The good news is that there are eco-friendly and quiet versions of fireworks – essentially light shows. Other cities are doing it. New York can do it also.

Please take a copy of this letter and share it with your council member.

Elizabeth Forel

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