National community-building campaign brought to Port to promote partnership
On Tuesday, Aug. 2, Port Washington hosted its first National Night Out (NNO) at Alvan Petras Park. The national campaign is meant to cultivate relationships between the residents, police forces and elected officials. At NNO, residents have the opportunity to learn more about local organizations and meet the faces behind them.
After Manhasset hosted a successful NNO last year, Town of North Hempstead Councilmember Mariann Dalimonte was inspired to bring the event to Port. The Port Washington Police Department, the Sands Point Police Department, The Nassau County Police Department, the Nassau County PBA, the Port Washington Fire Department, the Littig House Community Center and the Town of North Hempstead Community Services Department were instrumental in preparation for NNO.
“[NNO] was such a wonderful night for everyone,” said Dalimonte. “We have three police forces in Port; the Sands Point, Port Washington and Nassau County departments were all represented. It was so beautiful to see they were all there and all were working together.”
Port Washington Police Department’s three Commissioners, Angela Lawlor Mullins, Frank Scobbo and Brian Staley, attended the event.
“Although [National Night Out] was originally started in August of 1984, this was the first endeavor here in Port Washington and I was proud to be a part of it,” said Commissioner Scobbo. “It was a success on many levels and part of that success can be attributed to the collaboration between the police, the fire department, the Town of North Hempstead and several community groups, corporations, business and volunteers here in Port. We look forward to being a part of it again next year.”
Also in attendance was Senator Anna Kaplan, Assemblywoman Gina Sillitti, Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena, Receiver of Taxes Charles Berman, Councilmember Peter Zuckerman and Councilmember Veronica Lurvey.
The event offered food, ice cream, and games for all. A giant Connect 4 game, mini soccer goals and the playground kept children playing and laughing all night.
In addition, police officers were getting involved by playing basketball with the kids and tapping into their creative side by hosting a face painting booth. Detective Anthony Guzzello grilled hot dogs and hamburgers for everyone who stopped by.
“There was a donation made of $1000 made to the Littig House from the Community Police Relations Foundation,” said Dalimonte. “Their donation allowed us to buy all the hamburgers, hot dogs, buns, water bottles and plates for NNO.”
A fire truck, a Nassau County Police horse and K9, motorcycles and cars were brought to NNO for residents to check out and learn more about. Nassau County Police Department arranged for one of their helicopters to do a fly-by of the park.
“The helicopter circled the park a few times,” said Dalimonte. “They came down low so everyone could wave to them, that was really neat, and the kids loved it.”
“I was worried about getting enough vendors, but when the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce spread the word, everyone was thrilled to participate,” said Dalimonte.
Various local businesses and organizations set up booths at NNO to support the community and participate in the activities. Organizations in attendance included: The Art Guild, Cassigns of Port Washington, Blue Moon, the PYA, PWPL, Spectrum Designs Foundation, Northwell Health and St. Francis Hospital.
Patrick Bardsley, Co-Founder & CEO of Spectrum Designs Foundation, said: “It was such an honor to participate in the inaugural celebration, especially one that is recognized on a national level. As a community-centered organization who have called Port our home for over a decade, we are grateful to our neighbors and law enforcement who keep our community the wonderful place we know and love. One where our neurodiverse employees feel safe, embraced and included.”
Among the many organizations in attendance, Port Washington’s SoulShine Art Studio brought a large canvas for police officers and residents to collaborate and get creative. Founder and owner of SoulShine, Dara Troshane (more commonly known as Dvora), facilitated the art project for everyone to enjoy.
“Dvora took a big canvas and wrote the word ‘unity’ on it,” explained Dalimonte. “She then divided the words into lines for people to color and design different sections. Now she will take the canvas, fix it up, and insert inspiring words from the community. The art piece will be hung in the Port Washington Public Library for some time before being moved to the Port Washington Police Department.”
Port Washington’s first National Night Out was an overall success. Community members of all ages showed up with their families and friends to support our local organizations and departments.
“It was really an event that everyone contributed to, and everyone helped one another,” said Dalimonte. “[National Night Out] was such a warm and welcoming event for all.”