Fun in the sun at the 10th Annual NYPD Brooklyn South Community Unity Showcase

September 18, 2013 Heather Chin
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The sun was out, the samosas, hot dogs and lo mein were ready to be served, the climbing wall was standing tall, and the stage was set for a fantastic community festival at Bartel-Pritchard Square in Prospect Park, courtesy of the NYPD’s Patrol Borough Brooklyn South (PBBS).

Police officers from 13 precincts serving 40 neighborhoods ranging from Red Hook to Bay Ridge, and Borough Park to Canarsie, were in attendance from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 15, answering questions about fire and gun safety. There was also a plethora of food representative of the many cultures that call Brooklyn home—vegetable samosas and beef patties from Flatbush, baklava and Chinese lo mein from Sheepshead Bay, and nachos and burritos from Sunset Park.

“It’s nice to walk around and see a slice of south Brooklyn all in a 15-minute walk,” said Assistant Chief Owen Monaghan, commanding officer of PBBS, as he welcomed revelers to the festivities. “It’s like the Epcot of Brooklyn.”

For the Blake family of East Flatbush, the event was literally a family affair as five young cousins joined their grandmother in supporting their sons/uncles/fathers who are New York City police officers and EMTs. The cousins said they were most excited for the rock climbing wall, which was a big hit with long lines of Brooklyn kids.

“It’s fun and a good idea to meet local police because it’s important for kids to understand who they are and that they’re not just going to arrest you,” said 10-year-old Kenna, who was biking through the park with her mom and sister, and stumbled across the festival.

“We see them mostly on TV chasing bad guys,” noted Kenna’s mother, Beth Peeler, of Gowanus. “It’s important to see what they do.”

It is also important for residents of different neighborhoods and ethnic groups to interact with one another, noted Deputy Inspector Michael Ameri, commanding officer of the 78th Precinct, which serves Park Slope. “It’s good for people in Park Slope to see what people in Flatbush do,” he explained.

Examples of what people in Flatbush, Gowanus, Bay Ridge, Sunset Park and elsewhere do in their communities was on full display on the Showcase stage, where Chinese fan dancing, American Idol-like crooning, martial arts demonstrations, reggae beats and stilt-dancing entertained the crowd.

Performers included Christian Branch, Ileo (aka I Di Lion), the Gowanus Wildcats, the Brooklyn Jumbies, and the Sunset Park Dancers.

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