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Hundreds of Upper Manhattan Residents Celebrate National Night Out

By DNAinfo Staff on August 2, 2011 8:17pm

Kids got free face paintings at National Night Out in Inwood.
Kids got free face paintings at National Night Out in Inwood.
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DNAinfo/Olivia Scheck

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS AND INWOOD — Hundreds of neighborhood residents turned out in Washington Heights and Inwood Tuesday for an evening of fun, food and children's games in the company of their local police departments.

The annual National Night Out events, held at J. Hood Wright Park in Washington Heights and at Anne Loftus Playground in Inwood, offered police and locals a chance to share their concerns and get to know one another.

"What's great about it is there are a lot of kids ... so it gives you a chance to show them what opportunities are out there," Captain Brian Mullen, Commanding Officer of the 33rd Precinct in Washington Heights, explained.

A group of auxiliary police officers — who volunteer four hours per week patroling the community and assisting with events — handed out applications to potential recruits.

Many residents lined up for perfectly-grilled hot dogs, while others awaited the result of a raffle about 5:30 p.m.

In inwood, children lined up for face paintings and jumped inside a moon bounce.

Deputy Inspector Jose Navarro, Commanding Officer at the 34th Precinct in Inwood, described the event as an opportunity for community members to "see behind the uniform."

"They get to see us as people," he explained. "We're parents as well."

Navarro said the 34th Precinct's National Night Out event had become so popular over the years that they had to upgrade spaces, moving to Anne Loftus Playground in Fort Tyron Park last year.

"It's a testament to the relationships that we're building here," Navarro remarked of the turnout. "My only regret is that it's only once a year."