Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Meet with Your Friendly Police Tonight

New York's Finest out in number on July 4, 2011
(c) Benepe
Once a year many police stations open their doors to the public on the first Tuesday of August, and New York City's are no exception.

Tonight, August 2, New York's finest will be holding community parties called "night outs against crime" that gives you dear citizen a chance to hobnob with your protectors, law enforcers, friends and potential irritants in person.

Though we checked the times in our hometown, the Upper West Side, there are fetes being held throughout the city. 

Below are the details for Manhattan's Upper West Side, courtesy of the office of New York Councilwoman Gale Brewer:

    • The 24th Precinct, which covers West 110th Street to West 86th Street between Central Park West and the Hudson River, will hold its National Night Out at the Happy Warrior Playground at West 98th Street and Amsterdam Avenue from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    • The 20th Precinct, whose territory spans from West 59th Street to West 86th Street between Central Park West and the Hudson River, will celebrate at Verdi Square Park between Broadway and Amsterdam at West 73rd Street from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. 
    • The Midtown North Precinct, which covers the area south of West 59th Street celebrates National Night Out in Hell’s Kitchen Park, 10th Avenue between 47th Street and 48th Street from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. 
    • The Police Service Area (PSA) 6, which patrols the NYCHA developments in the 6th Council District, celebrates on West 127 Street between 7th Avenue and 8th Avenue from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. 212-694-7723/7724. 
While visiting with your local police, you can weigh in on their measures this year to curb bad cyclist behavior by issuing more tickets.

Police car parked in bike lane in upper
Manhattan earlier this year (c) Benep
Perhaps you can ask your local police how many tickets they are issuing to cyclists versus motorists, since they have never answered my numerous Freedom of Information Legal requests asking for same (it's been about 6 months since I asked for the same numbers that the NY Post, that wonderful Murdoch-owned newspaper was able to obtain the same day they asked for it: must have been part of their quid pro quo system.)

You might also ask them how they are working to improve cycling SAFETY in the city: just how exactly are they doing that? Since that is also a question they have failed to answer. And, also, why are they not ticketing people with illegal faster and heavier electric bikes?

Finally, you could ask them kindly to stop parking in the bike lanes, so that at least when we are trying to get around town in them, we don't have to go out into traffic to be hit by cars.

If that doesn't keep the conversation going, you could also try and quote from Ed Koch's letter to the editor in the NY Times in which he calls the undercover police bike sale sting shameful.

Not that we agree with the ex-Mayor of New York, but it does raise the issue of who here is the real criminal and why aren't we going after the bankers, lawyers, and real estate brokers who perpetrated a much greater crime on New Yorkers? Good question.

A Traffic Enforcement Agent doing the right
thing and ticketing motorists parked
in the bike lane earlier this year (c) Benepe
In all seriousness folks, this is a good opportunity to build bridges with your local NYPD. Maybe you think it does not matter, it does help for police to hear our side of the story when we are not on the other side of receiving a ticket and pissed off.

Also, it gives you an opportunity to speak to officers who are on bike patrol and commiserate about the lousy way cyclists are treated by motorists in the city: that will give them pause to reflect on their experiences, which they may share up the decision making ladder.

Benepe's Bike Blog attempted to find a central location where you could identify your local precinct's night out, but the central NYPD agency said this came under the Mayor's office, and the Mayor's office only has information on those Night Outs that Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be attending.

Those are in the five boroughs and are as follows:
·          5:15 PM , Speaks at 43rd Precinct National Night Out Against Crime, Metropolitan Oval, Union Port Road at Metropolitan Avenue, BRONX
·          6:00 PM, Speaks at 106th Precinct National Night Out Against Crime, Centerville Playground, Albert Road between 96th Street and Centerville Street, QUEENS
·          6:45 PM, Speaks at 88th Precinct National Night Out Against Crime, Fort Greene Park, DeKalb Avenue at Washington Park, BROOKLYN
·          7:30 PM, Speaks at 10th Precinct National Night Out Against Crime, Chelsea Waterside Park,  West 23rd Street at 11th Avenue, MANHATTAN
·          8:15 PM, Speaks at Staten Island Precincts National Night Out Against Crime, Midland Beach Promenade, Father Capadanno Boulevard at Iroquios Avenue,  STATEN ISLAND

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