It was ‘Domino Day’ in Sunset Park as the 72nd Precinct hosted its first annual tournament for children (and adults) on Saturday, July 7.
Held outside the precinct, 830 Fourth Avenue, the fun-filled day that included a barbecue and drinks was sponsored by Cardona Tax and D & G Tax and Business Services.
Several youngsters from the Explorers program took place in the competitive but friendly tournament.
“It went great. The Explorers played with the police officers and we had neighborhood kids come over and they played as well,” said Deputy Inspector and Commanding Officer of the 72nd Precinct, Emmanuel Gonzalez. “We had a barbecue right in front of the precinct. The kids were walking in and out of the precinct. It really sent a message that we are here for them. The precinct is part of the community and they can come to the precinct with their needs.”
“We wanted to bring it to the youth,” added Police Officer Gerber Fernandez. “My concern was maybe the community doesn’t know how to play. Although some of them didn’t know, they were willing to learn, and take direction from the CO and from us. They had fun. We had food for everyone. Some of the older generation stopped by and played among themselves so it was very successful.”
George Cardona, who sponsored the event, was thrilled to bring the tournament to the kids of Sunset Park.
“The CO knows I do a domino tournament at the senior center at 53rd and Fifth and in Industry City,” he said. “He asked if I would do one for the police to get involved with the kids. I did it at no charge. I put out eight tables thinking that would be enough. I needed more.”
Many businesspeople also stopped by, wanting to donate.
“They were so impressed, they wanted to give donations,” Cardona added. “When I do an event I don’t collect funds. I don’t find it proper. I avoided that. [The owner of] a local bakery brought his sandwiches and cupcakes, no charge. Someone came with cases of water. It’s good for the police and kids get to know each other. I would do it again.”
Each kid that participated was given a 72nd Precinct medallion.
“It strengthens the relationship between the community and us. We want the community to know that we can have fun as well,” said Fernandez.
“It was also a great recruitment for the Explorers,” added Gonzalez. “Many of them aspire to be police officers, but you don’t need to have that desire, just a desire to interact and participate with the community and help it. These kids have that sense of community.”