By Maria Rocha-Buschel
National Night Out Against Crime, an annual block party aimed at bringing members of law enforcement agencies and community members together, was cut short this year due to a thunderstorm. However, before the blackening sky shut things down last Tuesday evening, the event held by the 13th Precinct Community Council in the Peter’s Field playground on Second Avenue in Gramercy managed to draw a steady stream of neighbors.
As always, participants got to speak with NYPD officials and representatives from other agencies and local businesses and nonprofits at informational tables over plates of free food. There were also free activities for children.
The storm was no joke, though, as Gothamist reported last Wednesday that three people had been struck by lightning.
But prior to the event shutting down after two hours instead of the usual three, in keeping with tradition, a representative from the mayor’s office brought a proclamation.
Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman, in his first National Night Out since becoming commanding officer of the 13th Precinct, announced that a community policing initiative will officially be coming to the precinct on October 2. The precinct will be holding an event that day to kick off the program, but a location and time have not yet been decided.
In his first NNO back at the precinct since working as the executive officer a few years ago, Hellman said that he was glad to be back in the neighborhood.
“We had a good turnout this year,” Hellman said. “It’s always good when the community and the police department come together.”
Some of the exhibitors at the event included the East Midtown CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), Community Board 6, the Department of Public Service and the Bellevue Community Advisory Board. There for the first time was Ferry NYC, which is launching a Lower East Side route on August 29. State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Harvey Epstein also stopped by as did Council Member Carlina Rivera.
Organizers of the event were Jo-Ann Polise, Pat Sallin, treasurer of the 13th Precinct Community Council and Detective Vinnie Arlotta and Police Officer John Considine of the 13th Precinct’s Community Affairs office.