Who Knows Wrong from Right and Is Red All Over?

The Downtown Alliance continued a decades-long tradition on Tuesday by honoring members of its Public Safety Officer program who have rendered meritorious service in the last year. In a ceremony held at Bobby Van’s Grill & Steakhouse on Broad Street, Alliance president Jessica Lappin observed, “this is one of my favorite days of the year, as it gives us the opportunity to appreciate the team’s work as a whole, and to also recognize the individuals who have gone above and beyond for our neighbors.”

The Alliance’s team of 60 Public Safety Officers, who are a conspicuous presence on Lower Manhattan streets, owing to their bright-red uniforms, regularly intervene in situations ranging from medical emergencies to disputes between involving aggrieved tourists, who believe they have been ripped off by unscrupulous street vendors.

Among the nine officers honored Tuesday were Nafacia Evans, who was trying to return a missing handbag to its owner on March 5 when she came upon a woman who appeared to be sleeping in the Wall Street subway station. While attempting to wake the woman, Officer Evans determined that she was unresponsive and summoned medical attention, possibly saving the woman’s life. (The victim later turned out to be the owner of the lost handbag.)

On March 22, Supervisor Jaquan Brown witnessed a woman get hit by a car at the intersection of Park Row and Beekman Street. After calling for medical assistance, he also summoned other Public Safety Officers, who took over directing traffic at the scene, while one of their number, Officer Ivan Rivera, began to administer first aid.

Four days later, Officer Jerry Marcus watched as a parking attendant ran after a moving vehicle on State Street. When the pursuer caught up with the car, a physical confrontation ensued. Officer Marcus separated the attendant and the driver, and then determined that the latter had allegedly left the former’s garage without paying. He then brokered a truce, in which the driver agreed to pay, in exchange for the attendant not pressing charges.

In September, Officer Marcus observed a young woman behaving in a suspicious manner near the Charging Bull statue at Bowling Green. When he approached, she ran away, and subsequent  inspection revealed that the sculpture had been defaced with blue paint. Although the woman escaped into the subway, Officer Marcus’s description made it possible for detectives from the NYPD’s First Precinct to locate and arrest her shortly afterward.

The mission of the Downtown Alliance is to enhance Lower Manhattan for businesses, residents and visitors. (Along with providing security, the Alliance also provides trash pickup and operates the business improvement district, or BID, that covers the area south of Chambers Street.) Among the services provided by the Alliance that Lower Manhattan residents especially prize is the Downtown Connection shuttle, which ferries passengers (free of charge) between 36 local stops that link residential areas neighborhoods with business and shopping districts. Running from 10:00 am to 7:30 pm, seven days a week, the Downtown Connection was launched by the Alliance in 2003 and expanded in 2009. Funded in part by the Battery Park City Authority, the Connection shuttle is currently utilized by more than 800,000 people each year.

Matthew Fenton

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