Thousands of local residents descended on Shore Road Park at 79th Street for the 68th Precinct’s annual Night Out event, which featured free food, a concert from a Four Seasons tribute band, kids’ activities and giveaways from area companies.
The “love-fest,” as the precinct’s commanding officer Captain Raymond Festino called the gathering, was held on Tuesday, August 4, beginning at 6 p.m., bringing together cops and community – the goal of the 31-year-old event, started in 1984 as a visible demonstration of the unity, as the two strove to “take the streets back” in a time when crime was more prevalent.
Night Out “commemorates the very successful collaboration between the police officers in the 68th Precinct and the community members,” stressed the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Management and Budget Vincent Grippo. “We are here to thank you and to pledge our continued support.”
Andrew Gounardes, on hand to represent Borough President Eric Adams, a former NYPD captain, concurred, explaining that it is Adams’ belief that “the only way to keep neighborhoods safe is when the community and the police are working side by side.”
The area strongly supports its police, noted Ilene Sacco, the longtime president of the 68th Precinct Community Council, which organizes the event. That, she added, is evident in the community-wide response to the council’s Summer of Support initiative, which has generated letters, posters, banners and thank-you cards from people of all ages.
“We want to show New York City and the entire country that there are communities that really support our police,” Sacco stressed. “They put their lives on the line every day to protect us. This is our community. These are our guys.”
The cops on hand clearly felt the love.
“Because the community cares, it makes us want to work harder,” Festino told the crowd. “We love you and appreciate your support.”