THE ANNUAL ASSAULT ON SIGNAL HILL: A GUIDE FOR WATCHING FIREWORKSBy Louise Cunningham
Independence Day is in the air, and around the flatlands of Greater Long Beach the patriot’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love for the residents of Signal Hill. It’s the best place in the area to see fireworks. Every year thousands of people assault the summit of our little hilltop community. If you intend to be one of them, here’s a brief guide.
Rule 1: Make friends, even superficially, with someone who lives on The Hill—even if it’s just for awhile, like ‘til July 5th. We can let you up to the Hilltop, maybe even give you a good parking place, a balcony to lounge upon, and the chance to experience Signal Hill on the 4th of July as a local.
Warning: The Signal Hill Police Department will NOT let you and your 5,000 friends drive up the hill after 6:00 pm. So either plan to park “down below” and trek up (please practice walking the hill a couple of times before the 4th or you’ll see internal fireworks when you see stars before your eyes about halfway up). It’s not that we aren’t friendly (OK, we aren’t), but there’s no parking available for all of you.
Rule 2: Be self-contained. Lawn chairs, blanket, water, snacks. This isn’t a carnival in the true sense, just in the crowd sense. No concessions or things to buy. Hmm, note to self: offer this idea to one of the nonprofits up here. The restrooms are free. Consider yourselves lucky, OK?
Rule 3: Look north and south. First get a good spot to see the Southward view at about 9:00 p.m.—the entire coast lights up, not just Long Beach. A fun extra bonus is watching the helicopters fly in and bust people in Long Beach who are illegally firing up. Then, go to the other side of the hill and watch the northern view. These are the cities that allow fireworks, as well as Veterans Stadium. It’s spectacular: BLAM! There goes Lakewood! KAPOW! Downey up in flames! It’s a smaller show with less “oooooh, aaaah” factor, but cool nonetheless to see all the little shows across the horizon. It’s like watching a bizarre war zone in our own safe little world. The distant muffled pops made by the sound over hugely expensive fireworks go on for hours. Much to the delight of our pets who are embedded in places thought too small to house a dog.
Rule 4: Go home. Take your trash with you, please. Some of us have to go to work tomorrow and don’t appreciate being entertained by the free spirits who are wandering the hill in a loud and aimless beer-induced haze. Nor are the hillside plants there as a men’s room opportunity. We see you …. and we laugh.