The Finest and the Bravest
We call them New York’s Finest and New York’s Bravest.
At times we forget, but this Monday and Tuesday — when our police and firefighters stood fast under the pummeling of a storm of historic proportions — we had no trouble remembering why.
As trees were whipped to and fro over Broadway and debris tumbled end over end down the street, it was the reassuring presence of 50th Precinct vans and cars that settled the nerves of motorists struggling to get home.
Power lines snapped in the high winds from Cannon Place to Palisade Avenue, but firefighters repeatedly raced to the scene to prevent any further damage or loss of life.
Though other boroughs fared far worse, Riverdale, Kingsbridge and Marble Hill still braced for disaster from Sandy, a scourge with a deceptively friendly name, and we continue to struggle — many of us without electricity — to recover from the storm.
While most of us prepared for the storm by stocking pantries, buying batteries and sandbagging around property, police officers and firefighters were standing at attention.
At the 50th Precinct, all officers — no matter how they are usually assigned — were in uniform and working 12-hour shifts.
Starting at about 7 p.m., when most of us were either rushing home or hunkering down, about 80 men and women who work in our community for the NYPD were going out into the storm.
“Our main goal was high visibility,” said Capt. Kevin Burke, commander of the 50th Precinct.
Capt. Burke said most residents heeded warnings from officers, reporters and the mayor and stayed inside. But those under his command did their duty despite being “out in the elements and exposed to the risks that come with being out in a hurricane” to protect the few who did not.
As we went to press, they were still hard at work dealing with the wreckage from the storm’s wrath.
Engine and Ladder Company 52 on Riverdale Avenue and Engine 81/Ladder 46 on Bailey Avenue also had a busy Monday night.
“These guys ran all night,” a lieutenant from Company 52 said.