Fireworks…by the middle of the afternoon in my neighborhood on Staten Island, South Beach projects you couldn’t even see the smoke was so thick and fireworks were illegal!!!! Actually the fireworks for the 4th usually started going off around June 20th (right after we got out of school) and we’d see all the people coming up from the South (where fireworks were legal) opening up their trunks and selling fireworks to anyone who had money…one summer we bought a mat of firecrackers (144 packs)…I was so tired of them after that!! Blue Angels always few at South Beach every 4th of July and you could see them from the roof of our projects…1976 4th of July was awesome…one of the best other than 1986 when the Statue of Liberty reopened after being renovated…one million people in downtown Manhattan…if you were claustrophobic you would have died! Bud beer being sold out of garbage pails in Chinatown…what a city! I live in California now and would never move back but my childhood was the absolute best! maryfinn
Ketchikan, Alaska in the mid-80’s. I followed a boy from NYC to “the zone” only to be told when we arrived that the only job I could get being a woman and my race is either a go-go dance or a prostitute. Deeply wounded, I cursed this former friend out and descended the mountain. Within an hour of knocking on every business door asking for a job and cheap lodging(and getting rejected), I came upon a large German woman married to an Hawaiian (with 3 dogs-puff, malaia, and kopaah). She checked my arms for needle marks, checked my record (from the police dept.)for priors, then hired me to run her youth hostel, while she ran her restaurant in nearby Thorn Bay, by seaplane. Her place, located right on the waterfront beside the cannery and the Princess line cruise ship loading dock, was the only affordable lodging for the young college boys/cannery workers. It was a young woman’s paradise. One house for guys, one for girls (my house-hardly any other women visited). I was in charge of the running the entire show, and the guys were my own personal buffed body guards. I never mixed business with pleasure, I dated no one, no matter how gorgeous, just loved hanging out with them. Unfortunately, it was true, that most of the young women I saw there were imported meat, or had 5 kids. Single young women were a rare commodity. I felt that dating would turn me into just another pinata for the male majority out there. I had a 17 yr old local boy that was obsessed and followed me everywhere. I really liked that kid. He taught me how to run across slippery logs on the cold lake. I turned 19 out there, and the guys gave me the best party. We were family. Jim, the guy who dissed me when we first arrived, eventually had to come down from “his mountain” due to heavy rains (tent and sleeping bag wasn’t working in that weather), the only place he could afford to stay was where I worked. I had long told Kathy about this guy and what he said to me, so when he came to her door asking for help, she bluntly replied “No, I don’t take ____” He got a heavy dose of his own medicine. (2 years later I saw him in NYC and he apologized to me, said he had it coming.) It was on the 4th of July that I had my first taste of the freshest sushi ever. Pat, Kathy’s Hawaiian husband, had Japanese relatives that came up. They prepared fresh from that sea sushi and introduced me to every young woman’s culinary rite of passage.
I remember when our family went to see the Macy’s fireworks one night about 25 years ago. We parked near Little Italy and Chinatown. After the main celebration we returned to the car. The fireworks were still going on all over the place down there. The air was thick with smoke from all the explosions (probably the smog too).