Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge block turns blue over NYPD deaths

Residents tie ribbons on trees in tribute to Ramos, Liu

January 5, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Blue ribbons have been tied to trees up and down 76th Street in Bay Ridge in support of the NYPD. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
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Residents on one Bay Ridge block are getting behind a campaign to support the New York Police Department in a big way by tying blue ribbons around more than two-dozen trees on their street.

As the city was preparing for the funeral of Det. Wenjian Liu on Jan. 4, residents of 76th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues got busy tying blue ribbons around trees on their block to show solidarity with police.

The effort was spearheaded by Eileen Long, a longtime resident of the block. Long said she was saddened by the assassinations of Liu and his partner, Det. Rafael Ramos (the two police officers who posthumously promoted to detectives) who were gunned down on Dec. 20, and wanted to show support for police. More than 20,000 officers from all over the country attended Liu’s funeral, which took place in Dyker Heights. Ramos’s funeral took place in Glendale last week.

“We are living in desperate times. It’s so tragic, what happened to them. I felt that I had to do something,” Long told the Brooklyn Eagle on Jan. 5.

Long purchased yards and yards of blue ribbon from a local store and went about giving the trees on her block a whole new look.

“I was careful. I didn’t put it on a tree in front of anyone’s house if I didn’t know them,” said Long, whose husband, Mike Long, is chairman of the New York State Conservative Party.

Another resident of the block, June Johnson, said she was proud of Long.

“The ribbons look beautiful and I think it makes a statement,” she told the Eagle.

Johnson estimated that at least 30 trees on the block are now decorated with blue ribbons.

The ribbons have also been popping up on trees all along Fifth Avenue.

It’s all part of a grassroots effort in the city by residents seeking to show support for the NYPD at a time of devastating loss.

The Staten Island Advance reported on Dec. 29 that the effort was launched by two sisters, Donna Cutugna and Linda Potenza, whose father, Det. Salvatore Potenza, was shot to death, along with his partner, Det. James Donegan, by a suspect on Oct. 15, 1961.

The blue ribbon campaign has caught fire, the Advance reported.

In Brooklyn, Councilmember Vincent Gentile called on all New Yorkers to come together and show support for police by wearing blue ribbons, tying blue ribbons around trees and displaying blue lights in their windows.

Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) said in a statement that the idea is to “let us come together as New Yorkers and show the men and women who put their lives on the line for us each and every day that we have their backs and that we appreciate the risks they take without question or hesitation.”

Gentile is offering free blue ribbons at his district office at 8018 Fifth Ave.

For the residents of 76th Street, acts of compassion and solidarity are nothing new.

“We do things like this a lot,” Johnson said. “During the children’s cancer campaign, we tied yellow ribbons on all of the trees,” she said. She was referring to the “Go Gold Bay Ridge” campaign sponsored by the group Bay Ridge Cares in which residents were asked in September to raise awareness for the need for more funding for research into pediatric cancers by tying gold and yellow ribbons on trees.

September was National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

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