First Tuesday in August, it must the National Night Out Against Crime. There may have been a City Hall rally against corruption, but I was also to celebrate it the traditional way, hanging out at a crowded park on a summer night for a bit.
I usually see the Night Out festivities at Hamilton Park, but that is closed this summer for renovation. So I went to Enos Jones Park on Brunswick. The crowd seemed livelier, and bigger than usual. The idea is sort of, take back the night. People crowd into the parks and outnumber the criminals. It’s also community outreach for the police, who hang out and cook hotdogs and talk to residents.
The police, and many others, were wearing blue ribbons, in honor of Detective Marc Anthony DiNardo, killed in the line of duty last month. I knew what the ribbon was for when I saw it. I had the distinct feeling the cops liked being out with the people, more than usual, this year. Can’t really describe it, just a feeling, they needed some company and laughs. Between the shooting and the FBI sting, there is a different atmosphere about town—a surreal tension. Some relief from that tension—and maybe one hopes, their grief—seemed felt at Enos Jones Park.
There were the usual tables—Target always gives out something, this year, beach balls (last year, Frisbees). A local bank, a few other organizations, had tables. Mid-summer slowly turning into late summer. Mosquitoes are said to have increased 300 percent this season because of the record rainfall. Kids were dancing, rapping, riding bikes and skateboards. Everyone was gabbing.
You see some people you know, you see a lot of familiar faces. You smell the hotdogs. Must be the first Tuesday in August.