Two comments jumped out at us this week, both posted beneath our story headlined, “Fireworks Crowd Prompts Police Review.”
Each mixed detailed observation, criticism and praise, which struck as marks of even-handedness. Plus, the authors used their real names, something we think there should be more of on the web.
The first is by Red Bank resident Craig Widmaier (who got no extra consideration, we swear, for living next door to the folks who publish redbankgreen) :
I too as a 20 yr resident of Red Bank always enjoyed going to see the show, my kids look forward to heading down to Riverside Gardens Park every year, as you can not beat the view from that location. The increase in the crowds was definetly noticable this year. If you didn’t have a chair or blanket in place to claim a spot for yourself in that park by 5:00PM, you were out of luck. That never seems to detour the “special people” of the world who think they can show up at 7:30PM and either park themselves on your lap, or practicly crawl up your rear to squeeze their chairs in. A few comments on the positive side, the show was great this year under financial constraints, timely to near perfection with the simulcast. I was very happy to see those buckets being passed with many people coughing up that donation. Any one get those buckets over to the other side of the river, some big money being spent over there on those party’s from what I could see with my binoculars? I look forward to see the published amount of what was raised? The street crowds leaving near Riverside Gardens were actually scary this year. And who the hell continues to allow some of those street vendors to block the passage way from the R.G. park to the street ? There was a gap maybe 10ft wide between the vendors that 1000+ people were bottlenecked through. People with small children were being crushed, even more scary for the people who had strollers. Thank God, I know the back alleys and roads, as I did everything in my power to get off the main streets away from the young mobs who were looking for trouble so I could walk home. Another great effort this year by the KaBoom Comm., but something has to be done next year to control the crowds.
The other is by Deborah Kacerek, who paints a pretty ugly picture of what she witnessed on her train ride back to Bradley Beach after the fireworks:
I had attended this year, after not attending for almost 20 years. My thoughts right now are never again, even though they were spectacular.
We decided to use NJT; which was a joke. We took a 2:43 train from Bradley and the conductor told us NOT to purchase round trip tickets, because after the fireworks, tickets would not be needed. Found out otherwise after we got back to the station. The crowds were out of control, the police were doing their best, and the RBPD were the ones that made NJT stop selling tickets and to just get people on the trains.
As for the rowdy crowds, I believe the majority were late teens/early 20s that apparently have NEVER been disciplined or reprimanded for bad behavior, or worse yet, never taught how respectable people act. From the towns they were heading towards, I would assume these were upper middle class and beyond people. I now have a new definition of white trash, or should I say trashed. There were very few exceptions, and those that were, were trying to help elderly people, people with children, and not acting like complete idiots. My ride back to Bradley was definitely on the party train, and some of these fine well bred young adults were carrying on, racing on the luggage racks, and thinking as if they were the only ones that mattered. And apparently they dont pay much attention to what they are taught in school, because most of them didnt know if they needed to board a northbound or southbound train, or maybe didnt even understand the concept of north and south.
Overall, I think the RBPD did a superb job, in the face of all of this, and that NJT has the bigger part in the blame for this mess. Either make it common knowledge that tickets are/are not required, make sure yoiur employees are on the same page, and be prepared to handle the volume with more cars on the trains, more frequent trains, better ways to queue the passengers waiting, whatever it takes!
If you see a comment that you think deserves calling out, and didn’t write it yourself, feel free to nominate it by sending us an email.