Crowds turned out for the 68th Precinct’s annual Night Out against Crime celebration in Shore Road Park at 79th Street.
The August 2 event — which is replicated in communities around the city and across the country — was begun in the 1980s as a way of building bridges between cops and community, as well as making a statement that the streets belong to law-abiding residents, not criminals.
The 68th Precinct’s event, one of the largest in the city, draws thousands of people each year to enjoy live music (this year, a Beach Boys tribute band filling the evening with the sounds of “Good Vibrations”), while youngsters bounced in the bouncy house, sat in police vehicles, and munched hot dogs, hamburgers, watermelon and ices.
Despite the fun, there was a serious message underlying the evening’s frivolity. “These men and women put their lives on the line for us each and every day,” stressed David Ryan, president of the 68th Precinct Community Council.
“Blue lives matter,” added State Senator Marty Golden, a former police officer, whose son is now a cop, a sentiment that was echoed by Assemblymember Pamela Harris, a former Corrections officer, whose nephew, a cop in the 67th Precinct, wears the same shield number she did during her years in law enforcement, and by Assemblymember Felix Ortiz, who also counts a family member in the force. “They risk their lives every single day,” Ortiz added.
The event is an opportunity, said Councilmember Vincent Gentile, “to say thank you and join in as a community.” The goal of the efforts, he added, is to “make sure Bay Ridge remains one of the best neighborhoods not only in Brooklyn but in New York City.”