Night Out Against Crime and Park Blackout…where does the buck stop?

Tonight National Night Out Against Crime takes place  in 70 NYC locations, including Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. The 17th Precinct hosts the event from 5 PM to 8 PM, offering crime-prevention tips (watch out for those phone scams), kids activities, live entertainment and free food, courtesy of Ali Baba Restaurant. With all the hoopla, don’t get distracted from the subject at hand: how can we work together for the safety of our streets and parks? 

Last week,  the park lamps failed to light up after dark. As of last night, the plaza was still in blackout mode. Not safe. Ironically, the focus  of tonight’s event  is crime prevention. At what point does a 311 complaint escalate to an emergency? Are  311 and 911 our only option? 


FDHP President Sherrill Kazan made phone calls. When she met  Manhattan Parks Manager Wesley Hamilton at  the Plaza to discuss the location of a sculpture exhibit, she asked, “who is  responsible for repairing the electrical outage?”  Hamilton said he would alert DOT (Dept. of Transportation).  That was more than a week ago; the Plaza  was still  dark last night.

Linfei Yang, who frequents the park, stated, “It was pitch black, you couldn’t see what anyone on the benches was doing. I definitely wouldn’t feel safe walking the Plaza,  and it’s been that way for at least a week.” An FDHP director who walks her dog on the Plaza at all hours  sent SOS emails to CB6 and city officials, citing  the large turn-out for tonight’s event. We reached out to CB6, Councilman Keith Powers office, and the 17th Precinct, alerting then to the electrical outage. Word finally trickled through and the lamps are back on. Yet we still don’t have a direct line to DOT to request service when this type of electrical failure occurs. In the past,  we were told that the Department of Parks (DPR) is responsible for the lamps located on the Plaza while street lamps fall under the jurisdiction of DOT.


We encourage you to attend the 17th Precinct Community Council and Build the Block meetings. Get to know our 17th Precinct officers. NYPD has a big job on their hands and we need them to do their job. Our block officers Christopher Carlucci and John Lamneck do patrol  the park but there’s no set schedule. We want patrolmen to get out of their cars and walk the beat. We understand that police authority is limited by civil liberties, but their presence helps curb illegal activity. 

You also have a role to play. It’s time to speak up about the safety of the general public in our parks and streets. Public space is for everyone. 


We  serve as community “watch dog” for Midtown East’s largest park and garden.  FDHP custodian Raymond recently reported that 11 flood lamps on the  retaining wall of the garden were out. He happened to notice when he left his cell phone in the  park shed  and returned  at night to retrieve it.  The city provides the power,  but we  purchase the light bulbs, expensive LED floods with a long-life. Just one of the many ways we keep our park clean, green and safe. 

Join Friends to support the beautification and safety of our park by clicking on the green button below. Ask your neighbors to join too. Healthy parks make healthy neighborhoods. 



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