A Beautiful Night Out


Celebrated nationally on the first Tuesday of August every year since 1984, National Night Out Against Crime has become an event that brings the community together with the law enforcement members tasked with protecting it. Rockaway has been celebrating since the late ‘80s, this year being no exception with an event sponsored by the 100th Precinct Community Council at the Beach 94th Street parking lot, as well as on Beach 17th Street with the 101st Precinct.

The 100th Precinct event featured bouncy houses, face painting, and popcorn for the kids, along with tables set up from Rockaway institutions such as Princess Cruises to the Rockaway Beach Civic Association to the local Boy Scout Troop. The event was organized by the precinct along with its liaison to the public, the 100th Precinct Community Council. “It shows everyone the police have a softer side, it's not us against them, it’s us together,” said Kathy Heavey, the newly-elected president of the community council and a 25-year veteran of the NYPD. “It all helps with the police-community relationship,” she said. 

The event was well-attended by the community the 100th Precinct patrols, which spans from the tip of the peninsula to Beach 59th street, along with Broad Channel. It was also attended by officers from the 100th including Community Affairs Police Officer Maurice Moore. “It brings everybody together and shows that cops are actually people,” he said. Also in attendance was the Executive Officer of the 100th Precinct, Captain John Ganley, who was appointed the precinct’s second in command back in September of 2018. “It’s always important to have events like this,” said Captain Ganley, who has fond memories of spending some of his youth in the Rockaways. “We come here to serve [the community], they are our eyes and ears,” he said.

Among the many locals who attended the event was Omar Newell, whose daughter, Leah, saw the festivities and asked to take part, and when The Rockaway Times spoke to them, she was already in full face paint and halfway through a bag of popcorn. “It’s a nice thing for the community, getting everyone together,” said Newell, clutching goodies from the various tables. The 100th Precinct’s National Night out also featured martial arts demonstrations from some of the local schools, as well as dancers from the Millennium Development after-school program. Local officials were also in attendance including State Senator Joe Addabbo and Councilman Eric Ulrich, who had a few National Night Out events to visit that night. “We need to bridge the gap between the community and the police, and events like this help out a lot,” said Ulrich, addressing the crowd.

On Beach 17th Street, spirits were also high as the community got to enjoy bounce houses, a barbecue, a basketball giveaway, Zumba, community resources and much more with the 101st Precinct and its community council. The event was attended by community members, officers, Councilman Donovan Richards and more.

Despite the good turnout, National Night Out has changed over the years. Many Rockaway residents remember the joint National Night Out festivities sponsored by both the 100th and 101st precincts, which included much of what this year’s events featured, along with a fireworks display. However, most can agree that fireworks or not, National Night Out will continue to be a positive event that brings the community together and further develops its relationship with local law enforcement.