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Happy 4th of July! Our office is closed, but we still have a few things to say

It sort of feels like we’ve been celebrating the Fourth for a while now in NYC, thanks to nightly fireworks displays.

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Brick Underground is closed today—we’re taking the day off from posting stories in honor of Independence Day, but it sort of feels like we’ve been celebrating the Fourth for a while now.

That’s thanks to fireworks going off nightly this summer, jolting New Yorkers out of bed and scaring our dogs. The New York Times reports that the city received 1,737 fireworks complaints in the first half of June, compared to a grand total of 21 in the same period last year.

In New York City, it is illegal to use, buy, and sell fireworks, even sparklers. A crackdown on the supply of fireworks coming into the city launched in June, with the police department making numerous arrests and seizures.

If your dog gets upset at the sound of fireworks, the American Kennel Club has some advice on how to calm your pet, such as using white noise to mask the sound and creating a quiet haven stocked with some toys and treats.

And speaking of celebrating freedom: There’s an interesting parallel between this year’s protests in support of Black Lives Matter and efforts to remove monuments to racism, and our nation’s birthday.

Right after our new nation declared its independence from a despised ruler, colonists protested by knocking down a two-ton statue of King George III on Bowling Green, according to this article in National Geographic. That was just the start of an effort to destroy the symbols of oppression. Ending the monarchy was a much harder struggle.

As the author notes, “The ongoing effort to end racism—and live up to the aspirations of the Declaration of Independence—doubtless will prove just as challenging."