(Photos by Gary Quintal)
By Michael Horowitz
BRONX, NEW YORK, August 10- City Council candidate Andy King headlined a group of dignitaries attending Tuesday night's National Night Out at the Section 1 Greenway, working the crowd and engaging leaders of civic organization in discussion about how life in Co-op City could be improved.
King, a long-time leader of the Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) in the Baychester/Edenwald area, interacted easily with Winston Dinkins, a long-time leaders of the Zodiacs Track Team, and Lorraine Rohlsen-Alexander, a founder and long-time leader of the Co-op City Tennis Club.
The candidate, the frontrunner in the contest to succeed Larry Seabrook as Councilman for the 12th Councilmanic District, promised to help Dinkins realize his dream of a track along Co-op City's Section 1 Greenway and to assist Rohlsen-Alexander in efforts to improve conditions at the community's tennis courts.
Those attending Tuesday night's National Night Out, a time to celebrate the solidarity among shareholders in the fight against crime, included Helen Atkins, president of the Riverbay board; Daryl Johnson and Al Shapiro, members of the Riverbay board; Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, and Rep. Eliot Engel.
In addition to politicking, Tuesday's Night Out was a time for Co-op City shareholders to get to know one another and to celebrate their common bonds.
For Melanie Fournier and her daughter, Nalani, 7, it was a time to enjoy refreshments that management and community organizations provided and to enjoy a beautiful night out together with each other and with friends in the local community.
“We've got a good thing going in Co-op City,” said City Councilman James Vacca, a former District Manager of Community Board 10 who represents Throggs Neck, County Club, and Pelham Bay in the Council. “However, we have to be concerned that the NYPD is down 7,000 officers since 2001.”
Rohlsen-Alexander, for her part, pointed with pride to what the Co-op City Tennis Club has accomplished in the local community over the last 25 years. Tea Braxton, 12, Leah Bentham, 10; Iaminie Stokes, 13, and Kyra Aska, 13, were there to lend their support to the tennis club that has meant so much to them over the years.
Rohlsen-Alexander, who has lived in Co-op City for 41 years, stressed, “It's wonderful that we can have a celebration, like this National Night Out, in our own backyard. It's wonderful that we have come together to interact and join in the fight to maintain Co-op City's safe and beautiful environment. We, as shareholders, should appreciate what we have and resolve to maintain it.”
Faye Bentham, a grandmother of Leah Bentham, a Co-op City Tennis Club member, stressed, “I have lived in Co-op City for 20 years, and I like the environment. Three generations of our family have, for years, lived in this community. The National Night Out gives us a chance to get together with our friends and neighbors and to celebrate what we have in Co-op City.”