The mission of the event is to inform the community about safety measures and to form a strong bond with officers from the Police Department.
“National Night Out is an annual summer event designed to strengthen community spirit and raise awareness about crime and drug prevention and to generate support and participation in local programs,” said Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan.
In Astoria, children had the opportunity to ride horses, play carnival games, and eat hot dogs cooked by officers from the precinct. George Stamatiades, president of the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition, gave a presentation on “escape school,” which teaches children what to do when approached or grabbed by strangers.
“This is what its all about,” said Michael Serao, regional manager of Quontic Bank on Broadway. “Coming out and helping your community in any way you can. You have all your community leaders out and all your local businesses out to support the community to fight against crime.”
According to National Night Out, National Night Out first started in 1984 with just 2.5 million participants across 23 states. Today, over 37 million people participate in the event from over 15,000 communities each year.
The event in Astoria featured face painting, a ballerina, and a dance performance by members of the Variety Boys and Girls Club.
“It’s a fun night in the park,” said Terence Hughes, executive director of the Variety Boys and Girls Club, which gave away pajamas to children interested in joining the club. “You get information about stuff that’s going on. It’s just all good stuff.”
Mount Sinai Hospital, which has been a part of National Night Out for eight years, provided free blood pressure screenings to people of all ages.
“Our goal is to educate the community about issues that affect them,” said Ana Rodriguez, director of Community Relations at Mount Sinai Hospital. “It’s part of our mission to keep the community healthy and be involved in sickness and in health. Astoria is a wonderful community to work and live in. We are very happy to be part of this.”