A Kiddush Hashem in the Eyes of Law EnforcementDate: May 21, 2012
Misaskim received much praise at the conclusion of the Asifa at Citi Field. The acclaim originated from individuals within the law-enforcement community who has been working hand-in-hand with Misaskim for months prior to the event.
One security official expressed his admiration to Misaskim regarding the politeness and respectful attitude of the audience. He remarked that, despite the fact that most of the participants don't normally visit a ball park, "They navigated very skillfully and found their seats with no trouble at all."
Citi Field maintains a diverse work force, including its Event Planning Staff. They did a superb job throughout the planning stages. Most of these individuals have had little or no previous exposure to the orthodox community. "Everyone came away with a very positive impression," said one staff member.
Members of the more than 28 agencies and departments involved in planning and executing the event echoed similar praise. They were astounded by the respectful and dignified behavior displayed by the attendees. The orderliness was a true Kiddush Hashem. The police department created an inner circle on the field that was declared a non-trespassing zone. Not one person attempted to cross the line. Members of the FBI also remarked on the absolute quiet and derech eretz that was evident while rabbonim spoke.
Moving more than 42,000 people in and out of the arena was no small feat. NYPD Chief of Departments, Joseph Esposito, assigned hundreds of officers to coordinate an orderly flow. They worked in conjunction with Traffic Control, Highway Control, Intelligence, Crowd Control, Aviation and several other agencies. The authorities also had to arrange parking for thousands of cars and -- according to an official count -- 698 busses. Boruch Hashem the entire operation went smoothly, without any significant incidents.
Misaskim wishes to express its gratitude, appreciation, and admiration to all the officials working behind the scenes to ensure security at the Asifa. It is evident that the tireless efforts of Assistant Chief Diane Pizzuti of Patrol Borough Queens North and Captain Tom Conforti, Commanding Officer of Citi Field, were very effective. Mike Rodriguez of the USTA (United States Tennis Association) and Vice President of Security at Citi Field, Rob Kasden, also went out of their way to ensure that every detail was addressed.
Kasden offered special accommodation for elderly rabbonim in the most respectful manner. He created a frozen zone so that they were able to easily and quickly enter and exit the arena, and he also reserved facilities specifically for them.
Toward the end of the Asifa, Chief Diana Pizzuti of Patrol Borough Queens North, who oversaw the security coordination, was so touched by the self-discipline and co-operation of the attendees that she walked into the arena at the time of maariv to personally witness the crowd singing and davening in unison.
It is apparent that all agencies involved in organizing the Asifa are pleased with the outcome. Misaskim will now draw on its Asifa experience to help plan another gathering -- one that promises to be twice as large. The Siyum Hashas will IY"H take place in August, and Misaskim is already gearing up to assist Agudath Yisroel of America in planning this monumental and memorable event.