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Twenty-three arrested as cops clear Washington Square Park for early curfew

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | On second thought, maybe this won’t be going so smoothly after all.

On Friday night, police who had cleared Washington Square park for the new 10 o’clock curfew told The Village Sun that, “It went smooth” and that the revelers “went with no issues.”

But what a difference one night makes. On Saturday night, police trying to clear the park around 10 p.m. met resistance from some young parkgoers and things got physical. There were a total of 23 arrests.

Police did not immediately provide the arrestees’ names, ages and addresses or the charges.

(ABC 7 Eyewitness News)

Video posted by ABC 7 Eyewitness News shows police moving forward like a phalanx and using their clubs to push people toward the exits on the south side of the park. One cop is seen literally picking up a guy — presumably who was refusing to budge — and carrying him.

Meanwhile, everyone can be seen hoisting their camera phones high to document everything.

The previous night, although things in the park were quiet after the early curfew, one officer manning the gates said it didn’t guarantee they would stay that way.

“Summer’s still young,” he said. “Actually…it’s not even summer yet.”

Copwatch members at Washington Square Park on Friday night. (Photo by Everynight Charley Crespo)

The Parks Department and police recently decided to impose the early closing time in Washington Square on weekends due to neighbors’ complaints about the ongoing party scene, which was drawing large crowds, with amplified music, late into the night.

Neighbors were also upset about drugs — especially hard drugs — being openly sold and used, mainly in the park’s northwestern corner, graffiti and people selling shoplifted goods from local stores in the park. Police have barricaded off the park’s northwestern corner and plan to keep it that way for at least a few weeks.


  1. John Brown John Brown June 6, 2021

    The city has no right to beat young people into submission, hire more Parks Enforcement Police (PEP) cops if you need to, but closing the park is unacceptable and will probably be resisted all summer long. It’s trading one quality of life issue for another. Treat people decently and they may actually give a shit about your problems.

  2. cbob cbob June 6, 2021

    The park has been turned into an extremely unpleasant space in recent months, including people shooting up, people doing wheelies on bikes, new and more aggressive skateboarders, blowjobs, vandalism and garbage.

    But I don’t see how closing the park at 10 p.m. is going to help. A lot of it goes on during the day. Is obnoxious and even dangerous behavior OK when it’s light out but bad when it’s dark? First the basic rules of the park — like not riding bikes in the park – -need to be enforced. And that should probably be done by Parks Department folks, not the police.

    Before Covid, the various park constituencies seemed to coexist. I walk almost daily in the park and never felt threatened by a skateboarder who seemed to be aiming for me or by anyone doing wheelies. There must be more measured ways of dealing with the current mayhem than what happened last night.

  3. Nikki Love Nikki Love June 6, 2021

    What about the discarded syringes littering the park? Dumblasio didn’t remove the the drug addicts and dealers from the Bronx parks. Here’s what he did:
    The city will put up dozens of boxes for drug users to dump used needles at parks across the Bronx, officials announced Monday.
    The Parks and Health Department will begin installing more than 60 syringe disposal receptacles this month.
    Will Village park be next for this brilliant park amenity???

  4. cerqueuxles cerqueuxles June 6, 2021

    What I would like to know is…while the cops were at it, why didn’t they arrest all the junkies, confiscate their drugs, arrest the people that bathe and douche in the fountain, the ones that have their pants below their knees with their buttocks exposed?
    Why aren’t they breaking up the filthy homeless encampment strewn with rat-attracting discarded food and garbage littered all over the ground, not to mention the newest encampment addition that has furniture littered on the corner of Waverly and University.
    Why is no one, like the mayor and governor, addressing the homeless situation???
    There are more than 500 empty lots both publicly and privately owned that could be used for housing for the homeless.

  5. Obiter Dicta Obiter Dicta June 6, 2021

    I respect the police for the professionalism and measured restraint that they exercised.

  6. JackDog JackDog June 6, 2021

    When will NYPD enforcement be extended to the irresponsible bike culture so proudly enabled by Transportation Alternatives? The “hoax” perpetrated by TA and swallowed or at least truckled to by the mayors and craven pols is proving, accident by accident, head trauma by head trauma, to be a pathetic hypocrisy. Going green does NOT mean enabling a lawless bike culture and the creation of a public safety crisis.
    In my view and experience and that of internationally recognized transportation expert and biking advocate Prof. John Pucher, the withholding of enforcement by the NYPD is a fatal mistake. The hubris to imagine that the lack of enforcement would result in safer streets — and sidewalks — has proven to be delusional. There is NO SAFETY without a responsible bike culture. Prof. Pucher told me that he told TA, with regard to the irrational ploy to arm twist in favor of withholding NYPD enforcement, “DON’T DO IT.”
    However, Mayor Bloomberg — eager to attract the digital-commerce bike-riding crowd and boost real estate values — went along with it.
    Current Mayor de Blasio has fancy-danced in the face of ongoing media inquires about “What are you going to do about the bikes?” Apparently, “His Foolishness” is intended to outlast his term; lay the problem which will have seen further build-out of the aptly named Vision Zero off on the next mayor.
    I found it sad and telling that at a recent mayoral debate, “public safety” was cited as a concern — but nary a mention of the two-wheeled crisis fomented by the zealotry of Transportation Alternatives.
    The proof is in the pudding. Mounting critical injuries. Ceaseless sophistry.
    Neurotics build castles in the sky. Psychotics live in them. Psychiatrists collect the rent. The public pays the price.

  7. SMFH SMFH June 6, 2021

    Please report on the number of cops injured as there were many receiving treatment at nearby Lenox Health Greenwich Village. I personally witnessed bottles being thrown from a distance at cops who were just standing outside the park. An unprovoked attack, for what reason?
    Where was Dumblasio? Why wasn’t he here observing the chaos he created?
    So sad on so many levels. Is this the youth of today, causing injury and property destruction for what end? Enjoy your life, follow society’s rules and be a kind citizen of the world. I wish there was such passion for “real” issues, e.g. climate change, world peace, children’s causes, equality, healthcare, education. What a shallow and selfish demonstration.

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