HAWTHORNE, NJ - National Night Out, we hardly knew ye. What would have been a fun-filled evening of entertainment for residents of Hawthorne and Prospect Park was abruptly canceled when Mother Nature decided to crash the party. The Hawthorne Police Department was hosting its 3rd Annual National Night Out and Prospect Park its 2nd Tuesday evening. The festivities kicked off at 5:30 p.m. in Hawthorne and 6:00 p.m. in Prospect Park, but by 6:30 p.m., a violent lightning storm and torrential rain swooped in and snuffed out the events.
The last two weeks have been marked by rains and humidity, with summer plans taking a back seat to atmospheric conditions. Unfortunately for the two boroughs, this evening was no exception.
Hawthorne had a number of events lined up at the Boro Bandshell area off of Wagaraw Road, including a Swim Meet and a concert performance by country band "Radio Nash".
Prospect Park had blocked off North 10th Street between Brown Avenue and Planten Avenue adjacent to Public School #1. At 6:00 p.m. the northern skies were dark and threatening, but that did not deter fun-seekers. The street was well attended with families of all ages and backgrounds. Faith-based and community organizations set up, distributing leaflets and selling food. The Prospect Park Police Department had set up a cotton candy stand and dunk tank where a Special Police Officer had been detailed to the watery work that would follow the accuracy of children's pitches. The police, however, along with everyone else, were going to get rather wet regardless.
While the rains may have put an end to the festivities, the spirit of community in the two boroughs shone as brightly as the sunshine they wished they had had.
Councilwoman Esther Perez of Prospect Park said she initiated the borough's National Night Out the previous year. "It became annual and we're excited to have the community coming out. Look at the beautiful diversity we have here," she said, indicating the visitors who spanned the spectrum of age and color. "We also have Hispanic Heritage Month to showcase talent, typical foods, and it is open to all."
Rosa Lara, a Prospect Park resident of 22 years originally from Peru, manned the table for Hispanic Heritage month and offered snacks and literature alongside a display of South American crafts.
Instashan Chowdhury, aid to Mayor Khairullah, said that National Day Out represented an opportunity for residents to get to know their towns. "This is a partnership with police and the community, to show kids that the police are your friends. A night out means getting everyone together: faith based, community leadership."
The skies cleared later in the evening. Prospect Park dried out and continued their National Night Out efforts. The movie "Justice League" was shown as part of the "Movie Under the Stars" in the parking lot of Public School #1.
At the time of this writing, the Hawthorne National Night Out had been canceled with no reschedule date yet announced. The Boro Bandshell, however, will continue to host concerts throughout the balance of the summer.
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