Crowds Throng Astoria Park For 114th Pct. Night Out
More than a thousand people braved the city's worstever heat wave on August 1 to join 114th Precinct police and community leaders at the annual National Night Out Against Crime celebration, hosted this year at Astoria Park by the 114th Precinct Community Council and the 114th Civilian Observation Patrol (114th Civ-OP).
Area residents turned out in record numbers to show support for the crime fighting efforts of cops at the 114th Precinct and to participate in 37 exhibits and activities presented by sponsors, including crime prevention tips, VIN, bicycle and iPod etching registration, information on Safe Haven locations and the Child Photo ID Program.
Other activities included presentations by the 114th Precinct Auxiliary Police, the 114th Explorers Youth Program, the 114 Civ-OP, the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition (CALDC) and the 114th Precinct Community Council.
Area residents lined up to send volunteers splashing into a dunk tank manned by Crime Prevention Officer Peter Lauinger, while Community Affairs Officers Paul Chatham and Cesar Capunay sweated it out, barbecuing more than 600 hot dogs that were gobbled by the hungry crowd.
Astoria residents who suffered through the recent 10day blackout, swarmed a Con Ed exhibit where agency representatives doled out forms for the $350 reimbursement offered by the energy giant. Dozens of people walked away shaking their heads, clutching the forms and "how-to" tips provided by the reps.
Guest speakers included Joseph Bruno, director of the city Office of Emergency Management (OEM), City Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., Assemblymember Michael Gianaris, state Senator George Onorato, Assistant Chief James Tuller, Patrol Borough Queens North commander, and 114 Precinct Commanding Officer Inspector Brian McCarthy.
Tuller said the annual event "provides an opportunity for increased understanding between police and the community-a necessary tool in the NYPD's highly successful war against crime."
National Night Out Against Crime dates back to the 1970s, when organizers urged residents to "leave their lights on all night, sit on front porches and stoops," and walk through neighborhoods carrying flashlights to send a message to criminals: "People are sick and tired of being victimized-and we are taking back our streets."
The event, held each year on the first Tuesday in August, has since drawn more than a million New Yorkers each year to sponsored activities, police officials said.