The 110th Precinct Community Council held its first ever “Spring Night Out Against Crime” event outside their headquarters in Elmhurst on Thursday, June 10, offering community residents the chance to meet the precinct’s men and women in blue.
The event opened with the rendition of the national anthem performed by Camila Noguera, who also had sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the inauguration of Melinda Katz as Queens district attorney last year.
Traditionally, The National Night Out Against Crime is held on the first Tuesday in August. But since the event was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 110th Precinct Community Council President Albert Perna was excited to host the get-together for the community for some needed socializing after being cooped up and isolated for more than 14 months.
“We wanted to give back to the community. So I said, ‘Let’s do it now. Let’s do a summer night out,'” Perna said.
While the smell of barbecue hot dogs, sausages and steaks permeated the air, reminding everyone that a perfectly typical summer has made its return after dealing with a deadly pandemic, clown magician Eby Dee entertained the kids and grown-ups alike with magic tricks, a conga line and game competitions.
For Eby Dee, who has been entertaining for 25 years, the event was bittersweet.
“This is my last party because I’m moving to Florida,” she said, before amazing the kids with her magic tricks.
Michelle Dunston, the 110th Precinct school crossing guards supervisor and a candidate for district leader, was thrilled about the event.
“We’ve been in a pandemic for over a year. Finally, we can get out, enjoy each other, and also support our police department,” Dunston said.
Camila Noguera, who entertained the crowd with songs by the late singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez — known as the “Queen of Tejano music,” as she’s lovingly referred to by her fans — was glad everything appeared to be returning to normal.
“This is a great way to bring people out and to have our community united, and just to know that everything is going to be better and we’re all going to be OK,” Noguera said.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards expressed how good it felt to be outside and to get back to some levels of normalcy.
“It feels so good to smell hot dogs and burgers, because I have not smelled it from a grill in a year,” Richards said.
He thanked the community council and the 110th Precinct for putting the event together and bringing the community and NYPD together.
“We know that even throughout challenges, that it is so critical that we work together with the department,” Richards said. “Even if we have differences in opinion, the most important thing we can do to keep our communities safe is to ensure that we are working collectively together for the betterment of our community.”
The 110th Precinct’s Commanding Officer Captain Jonathan Cermeli said it was amazing to come out and celebrate, considering “that one year ago we were in a totally different place.” He then introduced Detective Wen as the latest recipient of the “Cop of the Month” award.
Wen, of the 110th Precinct Detective Squad, received the award for solving a homicide at the Grand Avenue subway station in April, with few leads to go on.
Wrapping up the official part of the event, Perna thanked all who made the event happen and, drawing cheers from the crowd, asked, “Are you ready to party?”