The 36th annual National Night Out Against Crime for the 72nd Precinct was held at Sunset Park’s soccer field on Tuesday, and included entertainment for kids and adults, speeches from elected officials, community organizations, food and more.
Executive Director of the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District David Estrada stressed a need for such a night in the diverse neighborhood.
“It’s been a rough couple of months for Sunset Park between ICE and tragic loss of life on Third Avenue to traffic violence, shootings all over the country and in Brooklyn,” he told this paper.
“National Night Out takes on a special meaning when you have families afraid at home that ICE is knocking on the door. Kids are not going to school, people are not going to doctor’s appointments and people are calling in a panic. People can let off a little steam here, breathe and realize they’re not alone,” he said.
Councilmember Brad Lander also stressed the importance of this year’s event, citing the mass shootings in Brownsville, Dayton and El Paso.
“We are seeing some of the things that are demons inside us and our country like the white nationalism that led to those crimes, the demonizing of immigrant communities and communities of color unfortunately from the highest office in the land,” he said. “We are going to build a democracy that is inclusive, and where everyone can work together to … make sure everyone is safe from the smallest to the oldest and across every line of community. That is the spirit of National Night Out.”
Gonzalez also discussed what the night offers.
“National Night Out is about having fun, but it’s also about educating ourselves and learning what is in our community,” he said, mentioning several tables and services in attendance, such as NYU Langone. “We really want you to stop by these tables, grab pamphlets and learn about these organizations.”
For entertainment, kids enjoyed meeting their favorite characters, including Big Bird, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Pikachu. They also watched Hui’s Lucky Lion Dance Team perform, had their faces painted and played sports.
Cathryn B., who’s lived in the neighborhood for about 30 years, was enjoying all the festivities with her son.
“We usually go out and after 15 minutes or so, he asks when we can go home,” she said. “We’ve been here since the beginning and he still hasn’t asked. He’s having fun. It’s good for the community.”
The Sunset Park BID produced and sponsored the event along with the precinct.