A group of West New York residents watched a team of North Hudson Fire and Rescue firefighters dismantle a car, while in Union City, some younger citizens took a ride on a trackless train.
More than 10,000 Union City and West New York residents took part in the outdoor activities set up in their respective towns as part of this year's Night Out Against Crime.
National Night Out, held on Aug. 6 in both towns, is sponsored nationally by the National Association of Town Watch headquartered in Wynnewood, Pa. and locally by the West New York and the Union City Police Departments.
"This [event] is a way of bringing the community and police department together," said West New York Police Director Joseph Pelliccio. "We are trying to connect with the community and let them know what the police department is all about."
The event is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support and participation in local anti-crime and anti-drug efforts, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community relations, and send a message to criminals that the residents are organized and fighting back against criminal behavior.
In West New York, McGruff the Crime Dog visited the senior citizens, as did Mayor Albio Sires and the Board of Commissioners, at 6 p.m. Two parties for seniors took place, one at Casa Manito Adult Medical and Day Care Center at 324 55th St. and one outside the facility on 55th St. between Palisade and Hudson avenues.
The town also held a block party at 7 p.m. on 55th Street from Park Avenue to Broadway. The party featured refreshments, balloons, and demonstrations by the West New York Police Department, the Urban Enterprise Zone Bicycle and Motorcycle squads, the North Hudson Regional Fire Department, and the West New York Volunteer Ambulance Squad.
West New York Captain Mike Caliguiro said that this is West New York's 19th year involved in the event.
In Union City, games, refreshments, demonstrations and music were available to the public on New York Avenue between 23rd Street and New York Avenue and in Ellsworth Park on 23rd Street and New York Avenue.
Ellsworth Park featured games for small children including sand art, giant slides and balloon sculptures. On New York Avenue, food stations and two carnival tents were set up. There were also a trackless train ride, basketball stands and sprinklers.
According to Union City Mayor Brian Stack, there were between 5,000 and 7,000 people at the event.
A strolling mariachi band was to play, as well as the popular Latin band Oro Solido.
"These kind of events should be done more often," said Pelliccio. "We want to send the message, not only to the kids, but to the whole community, that it doesn't take too much to get along."