‘Bay Ridge tradition’: Memorial run for fallen police officer kicks off in-person

Runners dashed through Bay Ridge in honor of Christopher Hoban, a fallen police officer.
Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

Runners raced through Bay Ridge on Sunday to once again memorialize a local police officer who was killed in the line of duty 33 years ago and whose sacrifice will never be forgotten by his community. 

Christopher Hoban, 26 at the time of his death, served in the Manhattan North Narcotics unit and entered an apartment building in Manhattan Valley’s W. 105th Street during an undercover operation on the night of Oct. 18, 1988. The young cop was killed when a shootout ensued as the suspects believed Hoban and his partner could be police officers. 

Hoban’s death was memorialized in New York history as it occurred the same night as another NYPD officer who worked in Manhattan’s 34th Precinct, Police Officer Michael Buczek. Buczek, then-24, was killed just three hours after Hoban while responding to a call in Washington Heights.

Hoban, a native Bay Ridgeite, graduated from the neighborhood’s Xaverian High School in 1980 — and the school has honored him with an annual 5K every year since his death, except for in 2020, when the event was forced to go virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Sept. 19, the area’s elected officials rejoiced in the in-person return of the neighborhood’s longtime tradition — and the unofficial start of the fall season.

“Our community is grateful for the sacrifices that were made,” said Assemblymember Michael Tannousis. “Every single day we have to show our gratitude and our appreciation to the men and women who wake up every morning — at all odd hours of the night — put on that uniform and go to their precincts and walk the beat, walk the streets keeping us safe. We have to keep those people in mind in everything that we do.”

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes was excited to share the race day with his son for the first time.  

“It’s so special to be together [in person this year]. This is really what tradition is all about — that an event could happen and … 33 years later, [we continue to] honor the life of someone we lost in our community,” said the pol. “Tradition means we pass it onto the next generation so I’m excited that my son Evan is here at his first race today.” 

US Rep. Nicole Malliotakis shared similar sentiments.

“We honor the memory of Police officers like Chris Hoban, who died in the line of duty, when we show respect and appreciation for the men and women in blue and support policies that help them do their jobs safely,” she said. “I’m always especially proud to take part in this annual run in Officer Hoban’s memory that supports student scholarships at Xaverian High School. It is the way we keep Chris’ memory alive and support another generation of community leaders.”

Each year, the Christopher Hoban ‘80 Memorial Scholarship is awarded to an incoming student of Xaverian High School who has a parent serving in the NYPD. The award is sponsored by the Police Alumni of Xaverian, Hoban’s family, and his fellow officers.

On Sunday, Bay Ridge councilmember Justin Brannan contributed $5,000 to the scholarship fund.

City Councilman Justin Brannan awarded $5,000 to a scholarship in honor of Christopher Hoban.Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

“As a Xaverian alum, this is a very special day, a very meaningful day,” said Brannan, class of 1996. “This is a very special and meaningful tradition for our neighborhood but it’s important to remember what this tradition is about and to remember the first responders, the police that put their lives on the line every day, staring down the unknown, to keep this city safe.” 

Following the check presentation, hundreds of runners kicked off from the corner of Shore Road and 71st Street, after which they ran three miles in a circle around the southern part of Bay Ridge.