Miracle at the 42nd Precinct: Jail cells turned into holiday display

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Amy Freeze reports on the holiday-themed jail cells in the Bronx.

A police precinct can be a frightening place for a child, but one in the Bronx is looking to bring holiday cheer to theirs, even to their holding cells.

It's been a stunning transformation, in what some are calling a Miracle at the 42nd Precinct.

"On a daily basis if someone should happen to be placed into custody and processed, this is our processing area," said NYPD Deputy Inspector Ernest Morales.

But in a magical twist, the space is now a winter wonderland.

The jail cells in the Morrisania section are now made over into an enchanted Christmas delight with tinsel and bows. "This is truly a Christmas miracle and I want everyone to enjoy it," said Morales.

The tiny rooms are all different. It's tea cups and teddy bears, a room in all Tiffany blue and a Candyland surprise, and it all came straight from the Deputy Inspector's workshop about six months ago.

Officer Erica Bukowiecki became the project leader to turn everything naughty into something nice.

"The MTA Police did the Candyland theme, this one was designed by Officer Frank Soto," said Morales as he went through the displays.

It wasn't just the NYPD doing the makeover but also elves from local businesses, everyone pitching in with glitter and glam in a place where normally gloom is found.

Deputy Inspector Morales says businesses really became partners in the process.

"May from the 99 Cent store on Prospect Avenue, she came in and this is what she designed," he said, pointing to a unicorn display.

Everyone participated on their own time and at their own expense, even the detectives and community police officers, and Morris High School.

At the heart of the Miracle at the 42nd Precinct is the NYPD's policy of community policing, encouraging everyone to be inclusive.

In total, 14 cells are on display for community tours starting next week.

Bukowiecki is excited for the public to come see the festive atmosphere. "I can't wait for next week for all the kids to come and partake and see what's going on here," she said.

"Under the new neighborhood policing model, we want our community and police officers to be all-inclusive. This truly does bring the Christmas spirit alive," Morales said.

You can catch the Miracle at the 42nd Precinct from December 17th until the 21st, from 3 to 7 p.m.

Santa is set to make an early stop at the precinct on Dec. 22nd from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Parents are encouraged to attend with children 12 and under to receive a gift and hot cocoa.

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