As people prepare to pop champagne to ring in the New Year, some will partake in Bushwick’s unofficial tradition of celebrating: popping a cap in the air.
Bushwick old timers say the tradition has spanned decades beginning sometime in the early 1970′s, when the demographic of area began to change.
"We moved here from Puerto Rico, when everyone living here was Italian," said a man in his 70s, who bought his house on Cornelia Street nearly 50 years ago. "I love my people but when we started moving in here we really messed the place up from what it was," he said.
Over the years the sound of celebratory gunfire on New Year’s has become such a common occurrence that for some residents it goes unnoticed.
"Who isn’t afraid of getting shot? But it’s not like they are shooting at people on New Year’s," said 22-year-old Joey, who grew up on Jefferson Street. "It’s kind of stupid but I guess that’s the way they celebrate because they think they gangsta."
Some people are more cautious as the clock strikes midnight.
"They are probably drunk and clearly are morons. We would just stay inside when it was midnight and not venture outside until hours later when the gunshots died down," a woman on Irving Avenue told BushwickBK.
Illegally discharging a weapon within New York City is a felony and doing so can land you in jail for three to fifteen years. But even with the threat of prison some Bushwickers are not dissuaded from ringing in the New Year with hot lead.
"The key is to shoot from a roof so you can see the cops before they see you," said a Bushwicker who plans to shoot some 100 bullets in the air at midnight.
Has he ever thought about where the bullets were landing?
The author then Twittered about it all night long...