By Maria Rocha-Buschel
National Night Out Against Crime, an annual event aimed at growing relationships between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve, took place on Tuesday night.
The event organized by the 13th Precinct and the precinct’s Community Council, went off without a hitch at the M.S. 104 Playground, despite some blustery wind and clouds that looked to be threatening rain. Fortunately, after two weeks of scorching heat and rain, many attendees from the neighborhood commented that they enjoyed the rare breeze. Families from the surrounding neighborhoods mingled with the local cops and business owners who had booths at the event while chowing down on chicken and rice from the Halal Guys, as well as burgers and dogs cooked up on the grill by officers from the precinct.
Gramercy resident Laurie Gillon said that she and her daughter Kaitlin have been coming to the event for the last few years and she appreciates that the kids have a chance to get to know the officers in the neighborhood.
“I like the community aspect of it,” she said.
Geraldine Rosa, who lives in the Strauss Houses at 243 East 27th Street, said that as a single mom, she likes to volunteer to keep busy and has been helping the community council at National Night Out for the past six years, in addition to volunteering for local politicians and working on the tenants association in her building.
“I like when the neighborhood comes together,” she said. “I want to remind people about the good things we have going on in the community.”
Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh and his Republican opponent, 13th Precinct community council president Frank Scala, exchanged friendly words at the event and other local political hopefuls made appearances, including Peter Cooper Village resident and City Council candidate Keith Powers and Carlina Rivera, a district leader in the Lower East Side who is running for term-limited Councilmember Rosie Mendez’s seat. Mendez also made an appearance as did Council Member Dan Garodnick.
Event organizer and community council member Jo-Ann Polise had previously announced that she was looking for someone in the neighborhood to take over the event but admitted she hasn’t had luck finding anyone so far.
“If we wait too much longer, I’m not going to be coherent enough to explain it to whoever takes over,” she joked. “I need to pass the baton. I would hate for it to be diminished in any way because there’s no one to organize it.”
Eric Holguin, a community liaison from Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office, presented a commendation to the community council for the event and Kavanagh took the opportunity to applaud the officers at the precinct for their relationship with the community.
“To get quality of life issues under control, it works in a community like this because everyone participates,” he said. “The 13th Precinct works so hard and the community works so well with the precinct that I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that.”