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A Need for More NNOs

Last evening, people all over the city got together to participate in 2018 National Night Out (NNO). NNO, held the first Tuesday in August, is a community building exercise that is designed to get people out of their houses, to participate in neighborhood outings. I attended the NNO outing at Symphony Circle, which kicked off around 6pm. When I arrived, participants were grilling, listening to live music, and talking about important community initiatives. A number of Allentown business owners were on hand, talking about safety issues on the street. Other attendees included dog walkers, families, and community activists, all of whom were there to show support for their fellow neighbors.

Neighborhoods host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts, and various other community events with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events, visits from emergency personnel, and even exhibits.

My takeaway from the initiative is that there should be more NNOs, not just one annual NNO. This is the type of event that really gets people identifying issues, problem solving, and having some fun at the same time. It’s like going to a block club meeting that is not boring. The welcoming and festive atmosphere encourages people to come earlier and stay later. The casual approach to building neighborhood camaraderie is brilliant. I would love to see more of these types of NNOs in the future – maybe once a month (June, July, August, and September – to start). 

While the foundations of NNO are to create stronger bonds between residents and law enforcement, I believe that the underlying premise has actually morphed into something different. I’m sure that each NNO gather in Buffalo serves different purposes, depending on the neighborhood hosting the gathering. From what I saw last evening, community members were discussing handling many of the issues by themselves, merely by coming together to brainstorm and problem solve. Sometimes e-blasts and social media are not as effective as meeting others in person and striking up dialogues. It seems that we’ve lost this face-to-face form of communicating along the way. NNO helps to unite and strengthen entire neighborhoods, not just single blocks. No, it’s not a gimmicky ploy to build trust between law enforcement and residents. Rather, it is a brilliant way for everyone to come together to create a stronger sense of community, which is the ultimate form of grassroots empowerment.

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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