In 1997, former Mayor Gulliani banned firecrackers in Chinatown as part of his “broken windows” policing policy. Before the firecracker ban, during lunar new year, dragons would dance menacingly in front of storefronts until the owners came out to throw lit firecrackers at them. The dragons would then dance mockingly on top of the firecrackers and then go on to the next store front. In 2003 Mayor Bloomberg allowed the reintroduction of firecrackers at officially sanctioned events, giving us the firecracker ceremony in Sarah D. Roosevelt park.
The firecracker ceremony never starts on time because innumerable officials must give innumerable speeches to thank innumerable people in two languages. The firecrackers are strung on a high wire which is not quite high enough to let everyone see. But even with the wait and partial view, the firecracker ceremony is more than worth it for the the sound and the crowd.
After the firecracker ceremony we wandered through Chinatown, where dragons still danced in the streets and confetti filled the air. We looked in the shops, grabbed a bite to eat and tried to be respectful when we peeked into a few temples. It’s was an interesting and fun day.