GREENWICH VILLAGE — The man responsible for New York's Finest stopped at the Jefferson Market Library in the Village Wednesday afternoon to read to some of New York's youngest as part of World Read Aloud Day.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton introduced himself to the roomful of kids as "Bill," and told them about discovering a book called "Your Police" at the Boston Public Library two blocks away from his house when he was their age, in the same building as the local police station.
He brought a copy of the book with him, and held it up for the children.
"It is a picture book of the New York City Police Department," he explained, thumbing through the book so the children could see the illustrations of "police, police cars" — in his signature Boston drawl — "police horses, police doing their work."
"All types of interesting information," he said. "I used to check this book out all the time and I loved it and I loved reading it."
But he read them a different book, called "Officer Buckle and Gloria."
"Is anyone here named Gloria?" Bratton asked the children. He was met with silence, until the adults in the room broke into laughter.
"I didn't think so," the commissioner said. "That's good, because Gloria is a dog."
The book was about a police officer who goes into schools and gives safety tips. Bratton paused intermittently while reading the book to ask the children questions.
When Officer Buckle gave a presentation to kids who not only weren't listening, but were snoring, Bratton stopped and asked, "Are any of you snoring?"
The children looked around at one another, and Bratton added, "I hope not."
No one was snoring.
One of Officer Buckle's safety tips was "never stand on a swivel chair." After one of his safety presentations, a teacher named Mrs. Topple stood on a swivel chair, clearly not heeding Officer Buckle's advice.
"I hope she does not fall down," Bratton said to the kids.
"I hope not," a little girl agreed.
"Yeah, exactly," Bratton responded.
Bratton was a fan of Officer Buckle's "very cute and very obedient" dog Gloria.
"Are you very cute?" he asked the kids.
"Yes!" they shouted back.
"Are you very obedient?" he asked.
The response was a little bit more tepid.
"Mixed reaction there," Bratton said.
Bratton identified with the book near the end, when Officer Buckle is seen watching himself on TV.
"This looks like me at 10 o'clock at night," Bratton said, "watching New York One in my bathrobe."
"But I don't have Gloria sitting beside me, I have my wife Rikki sitting beside me," Bratton added. "I think Rikki is much prettier [than Gloria]."
After reaching the end of the book, a smiling Bratton told the kids he had fun reading to them.
"Thank you for the opportunity to spend time with you today," he said.