Aug. 30, 2023 By Gabriele Holtermann
The NYPD Community Affairs Bureau partnered with New York, New Jersey Port Authority Police, the Police Athletic League, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the New York State Police, the NYC Department of Sanitation, the FDNY and NYC Parks for this summer’s fourth “Camping in the Park” bash with food, games and music from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Det. Tanya Duhaney, with the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau of Patrol Borough Queens South, explained that the event usually happens at night but fulfilled Councilwoman Nantasha Williams’ wish to hold the event during the daytime before the kids headed back to school.
Williams was excited that Duhaney had brought the event to her district and thanked Duhaney, the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau and all participating agencies and vendors for all their hard work.
“Everybody, enjoy the little bit of summer you have left,” Williams said. ” Thank you, everybody, for making this a great event for the community.”
NYPD Assistant Chief Kevin Williams, the commanding officer of Patrol Borough Queens South, said the event was an opportunity for everyone “to end the summer the right way.” He also cautioned attendees to be safe this holiday weekend.
“This weekend is Labor Day weekend. I’m just asking everybody, as you celebrate, please do it responsibly and safely,” Assistant Chief Williams said.
Kids tested their strength and agility at the NYPD rock climbing wall. Knockerball NYC provided activities like a bouncy house and youngsters and grown-ups alike had a blast diving into a sea of foam shot from a foam cannon. Other activities included shirt tie-dying, hair-braiding and a photo booth, courtesy of Photo Booth 360 VIP.
The Department of Transportation taught the youngsters about the Vision Zero street safety initiative and the FDNY provided hands-on CPR training, as well as informing families about fire safety.
The activities were accompanied by music courtesy of D.J. Remarkable, who ensured that the few rounds of musical chairs went off without a hitch.
Costco and Western Beef donated food for the event, which included barbecue and pizza, while Target hosted a s’mores table. And a summer event wouldn’t be complete without ice cream, courtesy of Bella’s Soft Ice Cream truck.
Rokhaya Sligh, 16, from Jamaica, is a member of the NYPD Youth Dance and Track Program, run by NYPD Community Affairs Det. Barry, and said she enjoyed the rock climbing wall because “it was a way to get exercise.”
“[The event] was really fun,” Sligh said. “It was really exciting to, you know, be in my own community and just chill and have fun with everyone here today.”
Matthias Dimamauth, 11, is an NYPD Youth Academy cadet and won one of the musical chairs rounds. He thought the event was “splendid” and appreciated how everyone came together.
“Anyone, even if you don’t know about it, and you’re near this part of the neighborhood, you can just walk right down because everyone’s welcome,” Dimamauth said. “Nobody’s discriminated because we all treat each other respectfully. And we all know even if we’re not blood, we’re still family.”
Some parents were excited to get the kids out of the house.
Audrey Daniels learned about the event while passing by the park earlier in the day, so she stopped by with her son Maaziah.
“It’s [to] simply to get him away from the TV, from the games and just to get [Maaziah] engaged,” Daniels said.
The Mitchell family drove by the park and also saw the set-up. Once their three boys noticed the bouncy house, they were “sold.”
Avernell Mitchell said she is always looking for summer activities for her kids.
“This is awesome. Look at them,” Avernell Mitchell said, pointing at her kids. “They’re running and excited, going from thing to thing.”
Jeremey Mitchell, the boys’ father, appreciated the NYPD putting together events for the community.
“[The NYPD] does a really good job every year. I feel like they have a lot of events,” Jeremy Mitchell said. “We absolutely appreciate it.”
Duhaney said the parents were happy that the NYPD and its partners put on the event.
“They were very appreciative that we had this event today, and the community, just anyone who was in the park, was able to participate,” Duhaney said, looking forward to next year.