With its oversized Stars and Stripes draped across the stock exchange, sacred skyscraper that stands 1776 feet tall, and giant statue nicknamed “Lady Liberty,” NYC is widely portrayed as a bastion of patriotism and freedom. But when it comes to July 4, the nation’s most chest-thumping, independence-promoting holiday, it’s illegal to light what the law refers to as “sparkler devices” in the city.

Just one small step up from a candle, in most circles sparklers are basically fireworks for kids, while more experienced pyros won’t even grant them the fireworks designation.

New York State legalized boring ground-based fireworks earlier this year but left it up to individual counties to opt in, and City officials chose to keep sparklers illegal in the boroughs, which is terrible. Sure, the Macy’s fireworks are fun to watch, but not even an hour’s worth of high-soaring pyrotechnics is comparable to 15 minutes worth of M80s, bottle rockets and Roman candles that you light yourself.

(Photo: skippy)