For 22 years, the 49th Precinct’s National Night Out has brought fun and awareness to Community Board 11. On Tuesday, August 3, it was no different.
Thousands of residents showed up to enjoy the tasty treats, play games and get to know their local officials and police officers.
“It’s about everybody coming out and sharing what we have in the community,” Neighborhood Initiative Development Corp. executive director William Foster told the crowd assembled along Pelham Parkway South. “When you look around you see a lot of different people. But we share common values. Most important is that we’re in a safe place where we can come together for ourselves and our community.”
The event was organized by about 30 volunteers, and grows larger and larger every year, said Vic DiPierro, 49th Precinct community affairs officer. About 100 community groups set up tables and informational booths around the festivities to raise awareness about their involvement in the community.
“It’s a mountain of information on one night, and everyone gets to meet the police officers,” DiPierro said. “It bonds the police department to the community for a night. A friendship is built with the community and it will keep going. We like to get the message to the kids that crime doesn’t pay, and that starts with kids and community groups.”
For NIDC director of employment Maryum Delves-Opa, who passed out pamphlets about the ongoing project to clean up Olinville Avenue and install doggy-bag dispensers throughout the area, National Night Out is one of the most successful recruitment nights of the year.
“Sometimes there’s not a lot of events, but we’re really happy to be talking to so many kids this year,” she said. “It’s one of our biggest recruitment events. It’s always easiest to do it all in one shot.”
By about 7:30 p.m. she had 25 teens and preteens signed up as new recruits to the program.
The Morris Park Community Association was looking for help with its civilian night patrol.
“We’re looking for new blood,” said member Tom Finelli. “We need people to sign up for the patrols. Many young people don’t seem to have the time. But we’re getting older and we need young people to be on the patrol and continue to watch out for our neighborhood.”
Along with the community booths, residents enjoyed live music, cotton candy, popcorn and inflatable rides. The event also featured a new attraction: a rock-climbing wall, which perhaps drew the largest crowd of all.
For Pelham Parkway resident Magli Ramos, who was taking care of family friends Analis and Joshua Reyes and Evana Rosa for the night, it was a spur-of-the-moment excuse for fun.
“I just got off work and then the youngsters saw all these things going on,” she said. “When they saw this, they wanted to come right away.”
Reach reporter Max Mitchell at (718) 742-3394 or mmitchell@