Before I started at the Office of Public Safety at The Downtown Alliance — and after retiring from the NYPD — I took some time off. I went home from the Pension Section on Friday March 9, 2007 and returned to the workforce on Monday March 12th at the Downtown Alliance. It was a restful weekend.
For those of you who are unaware, the Downtown Alliance and the First Precinct share the same space at 104 Washington Street. For 10 years I walked in through the front door and made a left; on March 12th I made a right. That’s when my education into who and what the Alliance is took a turn I never expected. The Red Coats were now my guys and girls, and that’s when I realized just how much work the entire organization does.
Who understands these confusing vendor regulations? Oh yeah, my people do. This is an exclusive group, the “Understanders of the Vending Regulations People.” You’d be hard pressed to find many others in this city with the same kind of knowledge.
They are out in the rain, out in the snow, out in the wind. When it’s 20 degrees out, they are still giving directions, assisting pedestrians and motorists, relaying information from business owners, reporting potholes, calling in traffic signal and light outages, and reporting suspicious activity.
It was funny that after 10 years of cohabitation with the Alliance I thought I understood what they did, but I actually had no idea. And I haven’t even talked about how much the rest of the departments do. If I were to summarize the Alliance I’d say, “We kind of do everything to make this area better.” And although that’s a simple statement it really speaks volumes.
When I was in the police department I used to tell the younger officers that if you always treat people as if they were your wife, mother or brother then you will never have a problem. Now that I’m turning right instead of left… I still give the same advice. And it’s advice that I feel strongly about. We are here to assist, not categorize, and if you don’t know something: call someone and ask questions. Maybe you’ll learn something new. And there is never anything wrong with that.