By Maria Rocha-Buschel
National Night Out Against Crime, an annual event aimed at strengthening relations between law enforcement agencies and communities that has, over the years, morphed into becoming block parties for different police precincts, was held on Tuesday night. At the event organized by Stuy Town resident Jo-Ann Polise and the 13th Precinct Community Council, it was a mix of local organizations and businesses exhibiting, offering free food and other giveaways as well like caricature portraits. Cops from the 13th Precinct manned the grill, cooking countless burgers and hot dogs.
Representatives from various local organizations, businesses and city agencies had tables at the event, including Community Board Six, the District Attorney’s office, the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, the Board of Elections, M&T Bank, thrift shop Cauz for Pawz, the Bellevue Community Advisory Board, the Gramercy Neighborhood Associates and others. New to the event this year was Cub Scout Pack 422.
Cubmaster Maureen Riley said that assistant Cubmaster Kim Salvo had been coming to National Night Out for the 13th Precinct with her kids in previous years and suggested the event as a way to get interest up in the community about scouting.
“It can be really difficult getting people involved because they don’t think of it as something they can do in the city,” Riley said. “We want kids to know that it’s not just something that exists in the suburbs.”
Salvo was manning the event table with Riley and both were in uniform, trying to entice passing children with activities.
“How could you not love this?” Salvo said as enthusiastic kids swarmed their table to make necklaces.
It turned out that the ST-PCV Tenants Association’s bright yellow t-shirts were also a big hit at the event. TA President Susan Steinberg said that she brought the rest of the neon colored shirts that the TA couldn’t use because they were all size small and no one in the TA could wear them.
“I brought them out thinking that at least one person might want one,” she said. “Thirty seconds after I put them out, they were all gone!”
Another popular freebie of the night was a book published by the Gramercy Neighborhood Associates, called Gramercy, Its Architectural Surroundings: Preserving the Neighborhood’s Important Contributing Buildings. GNA President Alan Krevis said that the book, written by Andrew Scott Dolkart, was actually published in 1996, but he wanted to bring something to give away to attendees and he said that people seem to like the book. Stuy Town resident and CB6 Chair Sandro Sherrod enthusiastically took one of the last copies Krevis had on display.
In an annual tradition, the 13th Precinct was given a proclamation from the mayor’s office, which commanding officer Captain Brandon Timoney accepted from mayoral community liaison Jeff Dupee.
“This event is an example of what this administration wants to demonstrate in regards to methods of dealing with crime,” Dupee said. “We’re building bridges between the community and the NYPD and we couldn’t do that without the work from the police officers.”
Councilman Dan Garodnick briefly popped by as did State Senator Brad Hoylman. Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh was unable to attend at all, but Andrew Hendrickson, his director of community affairs, said that it was because Kavanagh was in Seattle. Kavanagh was hosting a national coalition on gun violence there with the American State Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention, an organization founded last December.