On Prospect Park West during Friday afternoon, the scene in front of the movie theater looked like any other day a highly anticipated film is premiering, except for one little detail — a police officer stood under the marquee, head on a swivel, observing the crowd.
Within hours after a gunman opened fire on a crowded movie theater showing The Dark Knight Rises — killing 12 people and wounding 59 others early Friday morning — Police Commissioner Ray Kelly showing the film throughout the five boroughs.
, between 14th and 15th streets in Park Slope, is one of the theaters the NYPD is patrolling, “As a precaution against copycats” as Kelly said in his statement.
The lone policeman standing in front of The Pavilion told Patch that, “There will be cops here all day and all night.”
But in Park Slope, neither the tragedy nor the police presence has deterred people from seeing the newest Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises which was directed by Christopher Nolan. The Pavilion has 18 scheduled showings of the film on Friday, but by the afternoon seven of them were already sold out.
“I feel fine, they are here to protect everyone. I feel more safe and I don’t have fear because they’re here,” said Virginia native Marc Feliciano while standing in front of the Park Slope movie theater.
Another man who was waiting to see the 4:15 p.m. showing of The Dark Knight Rises said the NYPD really didn’t have another choice then to up its security at theaters.
“If they didn’t react, people would question it — it’s their place to enforce the law and keep us safe,” said Doug Cockrum, 44, who was going to see the movie by himself.
Cockrum said that if people planned to see the movie this weekend, they should still go.
“What can we do? I don’t think we should be afraid of going to see a movie,” said Cockrum, explaining that he wasn’t being insensitive to the tragedy but rather not letting fear rule this life. “I came here to get my mind off things. But, I’ll make sure that I know where the emergency exit is in the theater.”
A line of about 40 people formed under the marquee on Friday afternoon, and most people waiting to buy a ticket were going to see The Dark Knight Rises which is playing in four different theaters in the cinema to accommodate the high volume of patrons.
The theater’s manager, Lijia Ferreia, said that they are taking extra precaution on Friday in terms of security. The theater regularly has three security guards on duty everyday, one of whom is armed with a gun, but they will be on the highest alert during all showings of the Batman movie.
“We always have security and we take it seriously everyday,” Ferreia said while patrons filed through the door. “But, of course, tonight our security guards will take extra precaution because of what happened in Colorado.
“We are doing everything we can to make sure all of our patrons are safe tonight,” Ferreia said.
Although some patrons thought the NYPD’s presence wasn’t necessary, they were still comforted by it.
“I think maybe its overkill, at no point did I think my safety was an issue,” said David Boxer, who lives in Manhattan but came to The Pavilion to see the flick with his brother, who lives in Park Slope. “But, I appreciate that the NYPD is keeping us safe.”
And other moviegoers thought that the NYPD’s response to the tragedy in Colorado is spot on.
“With everything that happened, it’s a good thing. We have to take all the necessary precautions,” Edward Cherry said, a Park Slope resident who was standing in front of The Pavilion with his brother after they saw the movie.
“If one man does it in Colorado, it can be duplicated anywhere else,” said Louie Cherry. “The NYPD is reacting properly and all they want to do is make sure we’re safe.”