I originally put this web page together after a trip to New York.
My very good friend, Bruce Peachy, who was very much a part of that adventure recently passed away, much too young I add.
The latter part of this story is his commentary and all those who knew and loved him will appreciate reliving his day of fun in “The Big Apple.”




A New York City Adventure - - - Thursday, July 14 2005

I recently took a trip to New York City to get a new NYPD ID card (the one I've been carrying was 22 years old).
A friend, who is a retired Delaware State Police officer, was gracious enough to accompany me on my trip. It had been a long time since I'd been there and I didn't know what to expect. I'm glad to say that the trip was pleasant for everybody.
When we got to the city we met up two of my old NYPD partners, one a retired bomb squad detective, and the other, now an attorney, who worked in the NYPD legal bureau.

Going back to NYC was a cathartic experience for me. After the September 11th attacks, I was in a state of great depression for a very long time and I avoided going back for fear it would re-kindle my depression, it had the exact opposite effect. The feel of the city is very UP-Beat and the energy level is higher than I can ever remember. Everybody was friendly and extremely helpful and, wherever we went, we were treated like honored guests.

Below are some pictures with commentary, and at the end is a commentary by my retired Delaware State Police friend. It's very interesting to read the commentary of a non New Yorker.

 

The church at the end of this street is Trinity church, one of the oldest in the USA

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On the right is Victor Solis. Victor is retired from NYPD as a detective in the bomb squad, he still works with bomb sniffing dogs and his services are, to say the least, in great demand.

Victor and I worked together in Mounted, troop A (lower Manhattan), until they made me a training officer and shipped me off to Brooklyn to train the new horses and riders.

The officer on the left is with NYPD's emergency services. These are the guys who COPS call when they need help.

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Victor, (his back to us) and one of his canine team talking to an NYPD ESS officer. 

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You can't walk ten feet in lower Manhattan without bumping into a cop.

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Victor, Bruce Peachey (Delaware State Police, retired) and one of New York's finest, in front of #1 Police Plaza (AKA 1PP).

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Bruce, Barry and an NYPD street cop on Wall Street.

Barry Smolowitz worked with me in the 61 pct before I went to mounted. He stayed there a while and then went to the NYPD legal bureau while he was in law school. He's now retired from NYPD and works as a lawyer on Long Island, along with teaching law, and also serves as a part time Small Claims Court judge. Bruce thinks he should get a TV show "Judge Barry", he thinks it would rival Judge Judy, I think so too.

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The day after we got home Bruce was so impressed with his NY visit he wrote about it and emailed it to a lot of people. 

Below, are Bruce's recollections of NYC

 

To All -

 

I'll try to keep this as brief, yet informative, as possible !! Let me say at the outset that I had a complete and total BLAST in NYC !!!!

On the road northbound with my friend Bill Allegretti, (NYPD Mounted Unit, retired), by 0700 Thursday, July 14, 2005 - destination - New York City, "The Big Apple", a place that I had not visited in 26 years, and didn't have particularly good memories about - but I was certain that under Bill's able guidance, it would be a lot of fun. THAT is an understatement !

We had a leisurely drive up the Jersey Turnpike, and onto Staten Island, which was a scenic area, mountains of green - which Bill told me were actually the result of years of landfill operations. We proceeded across the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, which, at the time had such a fog cover that you couldn't see the towers from which it is suspended. Eerie..........

On the other side, we entered the borough of Brooklyn, and I was introduced to the famed NYC traffic jam. We would be in heavy, nearly stopped traffic for most of the remainder of the day, but I won't complain about any Delaware traffic jams again !!! We traversed the "BQE", Brooklyn/Queens Expressway (more like a parking area), and observed an NYPD Emergency Services Unit and numerous NYPD vehicles pass in a Code 3 (lights and siren) condition - we were later to learn of a building collapse to which they were responding. We then crossed the Pulaski Bridge into Queens, after which we met up with Bill's former partner in the Mounted Unit, retired NYPD Detective Victor Solis.

Victor retired from NYPD when he was assigned to the Bomb Unit, and is currently the Director of Explosive Detection Services for a large private concern. Victor was kind enough to take the better part of the day off from work, and become our 'tour guide', if you will. After a tour of his facility, and meeting some of his dogs, we loaded into his vehicle, and off we went.....let me tell you, I soon realized that it was going to be the ride of a lifetime for yours truly !

Any of you who worked with me during my former career have probably heard stories about some of my driving exploits - and I must admit that I used to consider myself a good 'wheel-man'....well, let me just say right now that Victor should be teaching a course in "Big City Maneuvering" !! MAN !! I thoroughly enjoyed our initial blast through local traffic, and onto the Roosevelt Drive - high speed, constant lane changing, Victor's commentary and showing us points of interest - which led us into the business district (?) of Manhattan, and the heavy traffic which is "driving NYC". Victor never missed a beat, and the vehicle seemed to be in a constant , smooth motion. Overall an absolutely awesome ride !! You can't tell me that anyone else in New York can drive like Victor !!!!

As I had done on the way into Brooklyn, off and on throughout our time in Victor's vehicle, I had my mini-camera hanging out of the window, snapping photos of the skyline. I must mention, also, that we took a tunnel under the East River to get into Manhattan, and the signs of heightened security were ever present - all trucks were being stopped and searched before entering the tunnel, in light of the recent terrorist bombings in London.

Only through Victor's "contacts" downtown did we find a parking spot, at which time we took to the streets. Packed with people, none of whom were 'strolling leisurely' - we, and they, were moving out with every step ! The streets in NYC do something to you - Bill calls it the 'energy' of the city. A lot of sights to take in and process. We moved all around the downtown areas of the famed business district, and made our way to 1 Police Plaza - headquarters of the finest Police agency in the world, the NYPD !!

Security was tight around, and inside "One PP" as Bill and Victor called it, an imposing multi-story building.......we were escorted inside by a uniformed NYPD officer, at which point we met up with another of Bill's former partners, Barry Smolowitz, Esquire. Barry retired from the NYPD Legal Unit, which is located inside "One PP". Barry is quite a character - he had us all in stitches for the remainder of our time together ! He definitely says what he thinks (sort of reminds me of some other members of this 'expedition') !!

We proceeded to the 5th floor in "One PP", where Bill, Victor and Barry all obtained new NYPD Retired photo identification cards. While we were there, a Bronx Detective who was in the process of retiring joined 'the gang' in getting his retirement credentials. As we made our way back down to the lobby, I was taken aback by the huge, ornate panels, full of names of those NYPD Officers who had made the ultimate sacrifice - literally hundreds. That hit me hard, just the sheer number. It made me wonder how many people who enter that building actually stop, look, and ponder the enormous sacrifice that the NYPD has made over the years, serving the citizens of their great city. I'm not sure if ten more trips into that lobby would really make it sink in..........

We left "One PP", and walked into the midst of the new, incoming NYPD recruits, apparently in a 'day one' status, all wearing suits, standing in unit ranks, on the front plaza area of "One PP". There must have been 500 of them - much larger than any Police Academy class in Delaware !!! As we made our way past them, we encountered a rather large crowd and traffic jam - replete with an NYPD Bomb Unit Truck, and FDNY apparatus......and news crews. Apparently, there was a bomb threat of some type on the subway, right below where we were standing. Saw an NYPD Bomb Unit member, all suited up - he must have been roasting in that heat.

During our time in this rather packed area, I saw, on the street, among others, FDNY's Engine 10 and Ladder 10, two units who, along with their station house, were completely lost in the 9/11 terror attacks. (Their station, "Ten House" was located directly across the street from the World Trade Center.) Bill took some photos of those units for me, and I had to stop and just take in the apparatus - both with the names of their fallen brothers, from that date, painted on the cab. I need to also say that EVERY FDNY engine or ladder that I saw yesterday had "We Support Our Troops" in large white letters, across the top of the windshield, and all were flying American flags. Awesome.

As we made our way to our lunch stop, along Broad Street, I was treated to the sight of FDNY Engine 24, trying desperately to make it's way to another alarm in the same general vicinity of the bomb threat.......I wondered how those guys make it through traffic up there. The answer is, they don't. It took those guys at least 3 minutes to go 2 blocks - I realize now that in gridlock, NOBODY goes anywhere. Even emergency vehicles !

We passed within a block of the World Trade Center site on several occasions - at one point Victor stopped, and showed me where he was that fateful day, at the time of the attacks. Victor was one block away, and actually witnessed the second plane striking the Towers........and was on the street during the collapse of the Towers. There is no way that I'll ever be able to fathom what happened, what it must have been like that day, even after seeing what remains, and all of the images that I have from that day, and from the recovery efforts - but I must stop at this moment, and say another prayer for those who lost their lives that day. Innocent, all of them - civilians, police and firefighters. That the City of New York has picked up, and refuses to stop after such vicious attacks, is a testament to the will of those who live and work there - and says more about them as a group than I can adequately say. I want to thank Victor for sharing what he did with me about his 9/11 experiences, as I'm sure that is NOT something that he talks about very often, and for good reason.

It meant a great deal to me that he talked with me as much as he did regarding the worst terrorist attack in American history.

Barry shared his experiences about 9/11 as well. Barry lives on Long Island, and, with the help of some friends, loaded an 80 foot trailer full of boots, gloves, clothing and gear, and arrived at Ground Zero two days after the attacks. Barry spent several days working in the recovery efforts there, and his thoughts and comments were very much appreciated.

After checking out some NYPD Harleys parked along Broad Street (one Evo, one Twin Cam), we stopped and had a fantastic lunch at "China", yes, you ARE reading this - a CHINESE restaurant !!! On Bill's advice, I ordered and consumed pepper steak, which was absolutely incredible ! I still can't believe that I dined on, and enjoyed such fare, but when you are with 3 Retired NYPD guys, you eat where THEY want to eat ! Scrumptious meal, to say the least, and the 'antics' continued the entire time ! Bill got a great photo of Barry 'expressing himself' at the lunch table.! Still can't believe that I managed to eat anything, I was laughing so much !

After lunch, we took a stroll down to the Wall Street area, where we watched one of Victor's Explosive Detection dogs at work, and talked with an NYPD officer on what we would call in Delaware "pay job duty". The security in that area is intense, as is the display of Patriotism. The front of the Stock Exchange is covered by a humongous American Flag, accented by American Flags on flagpoles below it - a beautiful sight ! Saw 2 more NYPD Emergency Services Unit trucks in that area - and thousands of people.

We made our way back to Victor's vehicle, and got back into the Manhattan traffic. We dropped Barry off at Penn Station (?) where he was able to catch the Long Island RR train back out to his home. Barry claimed that he would be making a trip to visit Bill in Delaware sometime in the future - hopefully Bill will hold him to that. Victor again expertly navigated us through the Greenwich Village area, and eventually back to his office in Queens, where we took a break, and just B.S.'d for a while. We then hopped into Bill's car, and followed Victor to the New York Police Shop, located in Middle Village, Queens.

NYPD officers are responsible for purchasing ALL of their equipment, including weapons. The NYPD has an equipment 'bureau', where all uniforms and gear can be purchased, but there are also shops, such as the one we visited, where an NYPD officer can buy the same items. While we were inside the store, Bill and Victor were talking to some NYPD uniform guys who were in DAY 1 on the job !! They had just finished their training on Wednesday, and let me just say that they looked like 16 year olds with guns !! No way that Bill, Victor, Barry or I EVER looked like that !

After some purchases, we left the store, said our good-byes to Victor, and headed back to Brooklyn........I have to say that after just a few hours, I feel like I've known Victor for years, and Barry almost as long - I will never be able to adequately thank them both for their hospitality and insight ! They made the day a great one, and one that I will never forget.

Bill took over the 'tour guide' position as we headed into the Sheepshead Bay area of Brooklyn, an area that he used to patrol. We stopped at "Randazzo's" - a small Italian (obviously!) eatery that Bill used to frequent....(he had mentioned it several times that afternoon, but wouldn't tell me what kind of a place it was - I was afraid that he was taking to me to a strip club!) We proceeded to dine on the most incredible calamari that I've ever eaten ! Bill said that he NEVER goes through Brooklyn without stopping there and having calamari ! I ordered up some shrimp, which was excellent, and we had a much-needed beer - fuel for the trip home. Incidentally, Randazzo's is known city wide for having the finest seafood in NYC! . . I concur !!

We then stopped and visited the 'barn' at NYPD Mounted Patrol Troop "E" - a place where Bill worked during his tenure in Mounted. The 'barn' was built in the 1890's, and the horses actually reside on the second floor of the facility ! We were lucky to gain access to the barn and observe a beautiful group of horses !!

After leaving the 'barn', we proceeded down into Coney Island, where we located an NYPD Mounted Officer and his Horse.......man, what a sight !! (I had always hoped that DSP would start a mounted unit, even though I know nothing about them, I've always admired horses). That made our day complete, as we hadn't seen any Mounted Officers at all during our travels.

We continued through Coney Island, where Bill had spent his first 6 summers on the job as a foot patrol officer. After a cruise around the area, we headed back onto the Verrazano bridge, across scenic Staten Island, and back onto the New Jersey Turnpike, arriving in metropolitan Blackbird around 9:30 pm.

I have a few observations about NYC that I need to point out - the people aren't necessarily 'rude', most are polite, but move quickly along the sidewalks. I didn't see any crimes committed, or anyone causing any type of public disturbance. The traffic is grid-locked, and yes, some 'fancy driving' does occur, but I suppose that's necessary if you want to get anywhere within an hour's time ! NYPD carries 9mm Glocks or Smith and Wesson DAO's, FDNY trucks DO look exactly like the Code 3 models, the sheer volume of people is difficult to comprehend, and there is absolutely no parking........the buildings are imposing, "Ground Zero" is sobering, to say the least, and the displays of Patriotism are never mentioned by any media outlet - but they should be.

I had, in a word, a BLAST ! Exhausted, but pumped was how I felt when I arrived home last night ! I had the best time, as I felt like a little kid in awe, all day. I can't thank Bill, Victor and Barry enough for an incredible time. Bill could have just 'flown solo' to see his old partners, but was nice enough to invite me, and I look forward to our next 'adventure' ! Victor and Barry seem like old friends now, and I can't wait to see them again, and hear more stories of their exploits with Bill. The 3 of you are the BEST !!! Thank you, again, for a great time in "The Big Apple", a city that I will forever respect and admire.

 

Bruce

aka/ PeAcH

aka/George

 

 

 

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