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Historic NYPD-FDNY Rivalry Tested on the Water

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TWC News: Historic NYPD-FDNY Rivalry Tested on the Water
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They've faced off on the ice, the football field and in all kinds of athletic venues, but the Fire Department and Police Department took their rivalry to the river on Sunday. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.

Most people know about the NYPD and FDNY harbor units that patrol and protect the city's waterways.

On Sunday, though, the Bravest and the Finest put a different kind of boat out on the water: racing shells.

The two rowing teams have been honing their skills for weeks.

"First, you work on the actual techiniques of it and then you have to keep practicing to get in sync with each other," said NYPD Officer Bryan Polster.

"We've had a lot of trouble at first, we're getting along. We could actually use another six weeks to be even more efficient," said FDNY Captain Patrick Gleason.

All that hard work was for a faceoff on the high seas. By high seas, I mean the Harlem River.

The police officers and firefighters raced for roughly 1,000 meters.

Many of the participants were from the 34th precinct, Engine 93 and Ladder 45, all in nearby Washington Heights.

It's first time this classic rivalry between the two services was on the river. After a tight start, the FDNY pulled away for the win.

"Everything is about timing and that's what we had over them because it's all eight of us...eight of us working as one," said firefighter Caleb Dauphin.

"Yeah, the result wasn't in my favor but there's always next year hopefully," said Officer Antonio Fernandez.

The race was organized by Row New York, a non-profit dedicated to getting kids involved in the sport of rowing.

Part of the reason the FDNY and NYPD got involved was to raise awareness.

"It teaches really good lessons about working together, delaying gratification, learning how to be coachable, how to stick with something even when it's hard," Row New York Executive Director Amanda Kraus said.

"It keeps them off the streets, it keeps them busy. It also gives them the opportunity for wonderful scholarships," said Sergeant Angelica Torres-Pintos

The kids who row competitively with the group say they're happy to have the police officers and firefighters learn just how hard to the sport is.

"You can translate what you learn in row to life itself, its something that you learn, it pushes you harder than you ever thought you'd be able to push yourself," said Deborah Pantaleon of Row New York.

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