From The New York Shitty Inbox: Eyes In The Sky
A person we’ll call “M” writes:
Dear Miss Heather,
Just wondering if you have any inside scoop on the very Apocalpyse-now-like low-flying copters and jets that circled—yes circled and circled—upper Greenpoint non-stop during the last 15 minutes of the fireworks this evening? Maybe a NYPD community connection can shed some light on this?
Though the under 25 crowd on our roof (all craning to see over buildings to glimpse the fireworks) was, to my surprise, totally unaffected by the loud and invasive display of what appears to be NYPD bravado, the rest of us not so young-uns were cringing and fairly horrified—the loud copters drowned out all cheers or singing—it truly scary for our kids who previously were enjoying the fireworks. We noticed planes on the other side of the Hudson (a few) but why Greenpoint was targeted we could not fathom.
Per the NYPD’s own website there were flyovers over the HUDSON river:
In addition to the fireworks at approximately 8 p.m. on Wednesday evening the NYPD Aviation Unit helicopters will fly over the Hudson River between the Verrazano Bridge and Pier 86. “
Now WHY the cops need to fly over the skys during fireworks is a wonder to us regular folks anyway. (Do fugitives take to roofs on the night of the 4th? Were they using infrared photography to find some poor kid with illegal fireworks from Chinatown?) BUT again, they said the Hudson River, not the East River—and never mentioned flying SO dangerously low (it looked less than 100 feet up frankly) that we feared one of them would land on the roof, possibly by accident—the close range plus the very loud sound had our kids so scared we left (on a very unpatriotic note I can add). Were the British coming back for an attack? No they were American planes… Not do date myself the following came to mind (in addition to Mr. Coppola’s epic):
“This is the hand, the hand that takes / Here come the planes / They’re American planes. Made in America / Smoking or non-smoking?” – Laurie Anderson
Thanks for any info you might have (or be able to find out) on the foregoing loud creepiness that did not seem to contribute to an atmosphere of celebration in Greenpoint—I would be surprised if we roof-sitters were the only ones that observed us..being observed. I just hope this will not be a regular ominous feature of the 4th hereabouts.
Unfortunately, I have no answers for M— but I can tender a few thoughts/piquant observations:
- Inasmuch as I hate to say so, I have become acclimatized to this kind of thing. Sort of.
- Ever since 9/11 the police/eyes in the sky patrol our waterfront with a vengeance. It was NOT this way before.
- I know this because:
- I celebrated 4th of July here in the late 90’s and have lived here for over 12 years now.
- Is there a bona fide threat to our national security in Greenpoint? In my opinion, this is very unlikely. However, I am not in the position to make this kind of assessment.
- It has been told to me by someone who has lived in this community much longer than myself that shortly after 9/11 that some fellows— three methinks, who had made commendable progress divesting a bottle of Finlandia vodka of its contents— decided it would be fun to place a bet. It went (more or less) as follows: whoever calls in a bomb threat and gets the attention of the authorities wins another bottle of Finlandia. Thus, a threat was issued and the local constabulary (tracing the call) did arrive. At their doorstep. The punchline: at the time the caller was out securing his “prize”.
- Was this an intelligent thing to do? No, it was not. But it is not exactly the stuff which makes one a viable enemy of the state either. But I digress.
When my husband groused about July 4th being on a Wednesday (and as such having to go to work the next day) I presciently suggested:
Get drunk on Tuesday instead.
And sure enough, someone did. From my inbox (on July 3rd at 1:45 p.m. hailing from Eagle Street and Franklin Street)
If you want to see the results of a DWI ( property damage only). Cops on their way… i’m over in bushwick. (a neighbor) calls me and he says ‘is your car parked in front of the building? cuz a drunk driver just came around, smashed into four cars and then smashed into the wall across the street. cops are on their way.’ i haven’t been home yet to see what’s up but i figured if you were close by you’d be interested. AMERICA!!! FUCK YEAH!
Conclusion: the greatest public safety threat Greenpoint has to offer is not in its skies, but on its streets (and liquor cabinet). Speaking for myself, I do not really see the point of hanging out here and trying to watch the fireworks from my roof: a number of “nondos” have rendered my view null and void.
Thus I saw fit to spend yesterday in Queens with friends. There was quite a spectacular display of fireworks there. These were, of course, totally illegal— but the helicopters didn’t show up until they were almost done. This is a tip something worth considering come July 4th, 2013!