Sunset Park once again celebrated diversity during National Night Out Against Crime.
Held on Tuesday, August 7 beginning at 4 p.m. inside the soccer field in the park at 44th Street, the day — whose goal is to bring together cops and community — once again provided tons of information, food, games, fun for children and live entertainment.
Deputy Inspector Emmanuel Gonzalez, the commanding officer of the 72nd Precinct, discussed the importance of the event hosted in Sunset by the 72.
“National Night Out is about getting to know your neighborhood cops, especially the NCOs assigned to each sector, but it’s also about getting to know the community partners,” he said. “We come together as one to celebrate our crime fighting efforts and to get to know one another.”
Gonzalez praised the variety of services available during the evening. “We have the DA’s office so those here can ask them questions. We have NYU Langone here and people can ask questions on their health. Every aspect of the community is here. We have the Chinese Observation Patrol, auxiliaries and Explorers if people are interested in joining them. We also have several banks. There are lots of giveaways provided by the companies “
The highlight of the day for most was the basketball game between the police officers and residents.
“We play neighborhood youth,” Gonzalez explained. “It helps us connect. This is something they look forward to every year. Sports and games are a great way to get to know your police officer.”
Executive Director of the Sunset Park Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) David Estrada focused on the diversity on display.
“You have Victory Outreach Church next to the Muslim Community Center next to the senior center. That’s Sunset Park and it’s beautiful,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to let people know that the precinct is here not only during emergencies and problems but also when things are going great.”
The BID played an integral part in putting together the annual community event, bringing different groups into the event. “It’s a chance for people to reach out to resources they may not have known about,” Estrada stressed.
The event included a lion dance, bouncy houses, hoops and appearances by mascots.
Awards were also given out to the precinct and to Gonzalez.
“It’s very nice,” said local Veronica Tymczyszyn, whose son Tyler played a game sponsored by Cricket which included prizes. “It’s the first time we’ve been here. It’s something to do to get out of the house even if it’s hot out. It’s been great.”
“Every year, it’s an event for all of us to get together and celebrate our beautiful relationship with our precinct,”added Councilmember Carlos Menchaca. “So much of what we do everyday to feel safe is in cooperation with the precinct, whether it’s the NCOs or the community affairs unit or all the auxiliary officers that take time out of their schedules and make sure the parades we love so much are successful. That’s community power, and that’s what we are celebrating here today. How great is it there are so many kids here that can celebrate that together. Let’s give everyone a round of applause for what they can do and for the leadership in our community that continues to get better every year.”