Close to 200 people showed up to Greenpoint’s National Night Out – part of the nationwide annual event that promotes police-community partnerships and cooperation.
Tuesday night’s event was held along a block on Lorimer Street between Meserole Avenue and Calyer Street, across from the 94th Precinct.
Uniformed officers stood by the barricades that blocked off traffic for the block party-style celebration, colorful balloons were hung along the walls of the buildings lining the street, a group of teenage girls performed a dance routine, parents and children lined up to grab hot dogs, roasted vegetables, hamburgers, and donuts, and others waited on line for the inflatable bouncy castle.
“I’m happy to say that crime is currently down in the precinct from the same time last year,” said Captain James Ryan, the commanding officer at the 94th Precinct, as the crowds looked on. “We can’t do this alone, we do it with you, the community.”
Ryan was presented with a certificate by Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna, who was present at Tuesday’s event along Assemblyman Joe Lentol, to ring in the annual celebrations.
“This tradition was started when crime was rampant in the city,” said Lentol. “This is a way to show criminals that we are not afraid to go out on the streets. This event has gone down as a night of standing together and people coming together as a community on a nice August night.”
The food at this year’s event was sponsored by Broadway Stages, and the producers behind one of the hit shows that films in the Stages’ Greenpoint lots, the Good Wife, sponsored a Waffles and Dinges truck for the event to show their support to the neighborhood.
While the event only lasts about three hours, it takes several months to organize.
“Think of it like Macy’s Parade on a smaller scale,” said Tom Kennison, a member of the 94th Precinct Community Council, who along with its President Betty Hulsen, is responsible for putting the event together. “We’ve already started planning next year’s event. It’s really encouraging to see the turnout because it keeps increasing each year.”
This year event comes in light of a recent spate of police-community tensions most prominently highlighted in the death of Eric Garner in Staten Island, after he was put in a chokehold by officers who tried to arrest him, making Tuesday’s event all the more relevant for the community to get together.
The national night out was first organized 31 years ago by the non-profit group National Association of Town Watch (NATW), which works to create neighborhood watch groups, civic groups, and law enforcement agencies to create safer neighborhoods. The Night Out, held on the first Tuesday of August each year, was meant to show community solidarity in the face of crime. Today close to 38 million participate in the event across the nation, according to NATW.
“While the one night is certainly not an answer to crime, drugs and violence, National Night Out represents the kind of spirit, energy and determination to help make neighborhoods a safer place year round,” said Matt Peskin, the Executive Director of NATW, on its website.
Type your name and email address below, then click "Submit" to be added to our spam-free email list.