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Reprinted from Downtown Express, Volume 21, Number 13 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | AUGUST 8 – 14, 2008
California resident Jared Townley 7, said hello to Sgt. Kevin Brady and Lt. Freddy, a police horse named for Lt. Federico Navarez, who was killed in the line of duty 12 years ago, above. They were out for the First Precinct’s National Night Out event Tuesday in Zuccotti Park. Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna spoke with Pat Moore, chairperson of Community Board 1′s Quality of Life Committee, center. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver spoke with Marvin Markus and his son Ethan, 12. (Downtown Express photos by Jefferson Siegel)
Downtown comes out against crime Tuesday night
By Sisi Wei
Residents and officers of the First Precinct ate cookies and drank tea together at Zuccotti Park on Liberty and Church Sts. for the National Night Out’s 25th anniversary event on August 5, 2008. The First Precinct Community Council organized the event.
Held in previous years at Duane Park in Tribeca, the community council moved the event to Zuccotti this year to increase exposure to the community and to highlight the Financial District’s growing population. The bigger location also caught passerby such as Anthony Delmar, a resident of New Jersey who stopped by to grab some food and look at the booths.
“It’s good to give information out,” he said while holding a muffin, a cup of tea, and multiple pamphlets. “People can always use more information.”
National Night Out hosted booths from organizations such as the auxiliary police officers, Downtown’s Community Emergency Response Teams, and the New York City Police Museum, and provided informational pamphlets on each organization as well as general safety tips for residents and businesses.
“[National Night Out] gives us the opportunity to reach out to the community,” said Nancy Tran, the developing and marketing director for the New York City Police Museum. “Kids from low-income families may not have positive interactions with the police and this gives them a chance to see the officers in a different setting.”
The event ran from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., providing those at the event opportunities to speak with any of the 20 to 30 police officers present. At about 7:45 p.m., New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver addressed the crowd.
“I am really proud to see so many people here,” he said. “All of us together are [the police officers'] eyes and ears and working together will make our community safer. It’s not the politicians who are making the streets safer, it’s the police.”
Afterward, State Senator Martin Connor delivered a similar message.
“Think back 25 years ago. The concept was people should come out in the evening because it wasn’t safe to come out,” he said. “Look at where we are now. We owe it to our police officers and to the people who…have faith in our police officers to protect us.”
And Phyllis Marcus has seen the difference personally.
“I used to work in the neighborhood many years ago and it’s definitely changed for the better,” said Marcus, a resident of Chelsea, who came to the event with her husband and two sons, who used to attend school in Lower Manhattan. Marcus said because many people might work but not live in the area, National Night Out gives them important information about local police resources.
“It’s real necessary that everyone, [police officers and community members] is on the same track,” said Alexander Gonzalez, an auxiliary police officer from the First Precinct. “It made me feel good to see cooperation from the community. As a team we can get real far.”
Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, the First Precinct’s commander, Anthony Notaro, president of the community council, and Liz Berger, president of the Downtown Alliance, also attended.