By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Community residents and local law enforcement celebrated National Night Out Against Crime on Tuesday evening, marking the 31st year for the annual event. At Simon Baruch Middle School’s playground, police officers from the 13th Precinct on the next block over manned the grill, including the precinct’s former executive officer, Frank Sorensen, who was recently promoted to commanding officer for Specialty Units in Manhattan South.
The event, organized by the 13th Precinct Community Council, is aimed at raising crime awareness and building working relationships between law enforcement agencies and communities. In recent years though, it’s also become just as much about having a block party on a usually sweltering day.
In addition to the usual burgers and dogs, new local business The Halal Guys were also offering their famous gyro and rice dishes to attendees, with all the chow being free. Caricature artists and balloon artists were there for the children’s entertainment, as well as a bouncy house. Representatives from local businesses and organizations had tables at the event, including Community Board Six, the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, Valley National Bank, thrift shop Cauz for Pawz and the Bellevue Community Advisory Board.
Local elected officials also made appearances at the 13th precinct’s event. Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh stopped by the playground after visiting other events in his district for the Ninth and Seventh Precincts. City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez commiserated with City Councilman Dan Garodnick’s son Asher about the lack of pepperoni pizza at the event, which he has said is his favorite.
Coinciding with the dog days of summer, a number of local residents came to celebrate National Night Out with their animal companions. Barbara Terpo, a resident of East 26th Street, spent some quality time at the 13th Precinct Community Council’s table with her 7-year-old American Cocker Spaniel Charlie, who she got at the Yonkers Animal Shelter six years ago. East 28th Street resident Tracey Howard, who said she comes to the 13th Precinct’s National Night Out celebration every year, brought her 3-year-old shih tzu Cece along and even got her a flower balloon from one of the balloon artists.
Rebecca Lynch, a member of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s community affairs unit, made an appearance around 6:30 p.m. to drop off the Proclamation, which officially signified Tuesday as National Night Out Against Crime and underscored the importance of the relationship between the NYPD and members of the community. Although Mayor Michael Bloomberg personally dropped off the Proclamation to the event last year, current Mayor de Blasio was in Washington D.C. on Tuesday and couldn’t make it.
(Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)