Set against the sunset over the Hudson, local organizations and officials joined the community to honor Lower Manhattan’s cops at the First Precinct’s National Night Out Against Crime in Battery Park City on Tuesday evening.
Community leaders and elected officials took the stage at Esplanade Plaza near the North Cove, to highlight the good work of the precinct as well as Transit District 2, based at the Canal St. (A, C, E) station. The annual gathering connects police with local residents to promote crime prevention.
“Remember when Night Out was really about fighting against crime. This is a celebration of a very safe New York. This is like Thanksgiving, without the turkey,” said chief of transit, Joseph Fox, after being introduced by Anthony Notaro, president of the First Precinct Community Council.
N.Y.P.D. deputy commissioner Benjamin Tucker also highlighted the statistics, comparing 2,300 homicides in 1990 to an expected 300 this year. “We have come an enormous way,” he said, adding: “The notion of police being the public and the public being police really comes together here.”
With children running across the esplanade, chasing soap bubbles and jumping around on bouncy castles, the event was clearly a success with the community. The younger crowd were, however, somewhat suspicious of McGruff the Crime Dog, the N.Y.P.D.’s mascot, who made a bizarre exit in a golf cart.
Proclamations were presented to Captain Brendan Timoney, commanding officer of the precinct, and Captain Anthony Carter, commanding officer of Transit District 2, marking the only serious part of a lighthearted evening.
Also attending were Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, State Sen. Daniel Squadron, Councilmember Margaret Chin, and Chief William Morris, commanding officer of Patrol Borough Manhattan South.
Most enthusiastic about the local cops was radio DJ Shelli Sonstein, co-host of the “Jim Kerr Rock & Roll Morning Show” on Q104.3. “We’re here to say thank you to the absolute best police department in the world! Everyone knows we have the most awesome police,” she loudly proclaimed on stage.
Although the mayor didn’t stop by this year (Bloomberg did in 2010), turnout at the 31st National Night Out was good and the event well organized. Sizzling hamburgers and cold drinks, as well as a live band were the perfect frame to let the evening come to an end by the rocking boats of the yacht harbor.
— Yannic Rack