Press "Enter" to skip to content

Opinion: The state of Greenwich Village — where are we now?

BY BRIAN MALONEY | In 2022, The Village Sun broke the story about our Greenwich Village block finding it necessary to hire armed guards to protect the elderly, families, N.Y.U. students and tourists — people that live in and visit this historic district.

At the time there was blatant and broad daylight drug dealing. Our stoops were being used as “shooting galleries” and crack dens. There was public defecation and urination, trespassing, trash and discarded needles. There were daily package thefts and a real sense of danger and concern for our neighbors of all ages. And this was going on at all times of the day and night. We were experiencing 25 to 30 incidents daily, just on our block alone.

(Village Neighborhood Action Group)

At a meeting with our state senator we were told, “All of New York City is experiencing these issues,” as if to make us feel anymore secure. But nowhere, in fact, had these concerns appeared to be more dense, more intense and more dangerous than around Washington Square Park and its surrounding Village streets. Our state senator added, “These quality-of-life issues are more of an inconvenience for you versus anything life threatening.” Umm, right…O.K.

The Village Sun article went viral and became a national news hook for the New York Post and FOX News (which prompted many of us to think, “rightly so”). But more importantly, the story raised awareness for my fellow Village residents, causing them not only to ask, “Why is this happening” but “Why is this being allowed to happen?”

An addict panhandles on Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village. (Village Neighborhood Action Group)
On Barrow Street, discarded needles near a preschool entrance. (Village Neighborhood Action Group)

Questions ensued. … Do we need more New York Police Department officers in our area? What precipitated this trajectory of homeless and mentally ill living in our parks and on our streets? Can those whom WE elected help build a stronger sense of security and enhance the quality of life for both residents and those New Yorkers who are in a downward spiral of addiction and homelessness?

And that’s when a group of us got together and set out to get some answers to these questions and to make some changes. Or so we hoped.

The importance of calling 311/911

We arranged a meeting with N.Y.P.D. leaders, who indicated they “weren’t aware of the problems on our block,” which literally made our jaws drop. We’re a major feeder street from the W. Fourth Street subway station into and out of the park, and on any given night (if you dared to be out after dark) all this mayhem was hard to miss. But this comment was the precise moment many of us had lightbulbs go off — on high beam. I’ve lived in New York City for nearly 40 years. For 38 of those years, I just left “activism” up to others. Until now.

Nodding out. (Village Neighborhood Action Group)
Shooting up on Washington Place. (Village Neighborhood Action Group)

The police sergeant was right: He had not received one 311/911 complaint for our area. Perhaps many of us were simply hoping someone else would lodge a complaint? In fact, 311 (download the nyc311 app) is a critical tool to raise awareness of neighborhood issues with your local police precinct and your elected officials to hopefully get more resources into your area to help solve the issues.

What have we been doing the past two years?

We’ve created what we call Neighborhood Action Groups (NAGs) connecting 3,000-plus neighbors, business owners and residents via group chats (like WhatsApp, etc.), e-mails, newsletters and updates. When something is happening on a block, a photo/video is taken, an address is given and a description of the issue is listed for all to submit complaints to 311/911 — en masse.

Zonked out on Christopher Street. (Village Neighborhood Action Group)
Camping out on a stoop. (Village Neighborhood Action Group)

Is this working? Sometimes. … It takes a lot of time, effort and consistency, but it has given us a strong position to discuss specific area issues with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the N.Y.P.D., the Department of Sanitation and other city agencies, and has helped us build a tight-knit neighborhood community.

We have built community relationships

We now regularly attend the 6th Police Precinct’s Build-the-Block and Community Council meetings, and have participated in Community Board 2 discussions. We have ongoing dialogue with the Village Alliance and West Village Business Improvement Districts, several Village block associations and organizations that manage Washington Square Park. We connect regularly with representatives from the Mayor’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office and homeless outreach teams. And we do it all in our spare time.

(Village Neighborhood Action Group)

We strongly support our N.Y.P.D. and our Neighborhood Coordination Officers. They’ve listened, been responsive and actively help provide solutions to the mess we’re currently in. However…

We’re doing what the mayor said, but… 

After all this work, we seem to be getting nowhere, again. Today, two days after the start of summer, we are experiencing the same scary, dangerous, eerie and unsanitary conditions on our blocks and actually being told, “It’s only going to get worse.”

During a recent press conference, Mayor Adams urged New Yorkers to “get involved,” “speak up” and “contact your elected officials.” Otherwise, he said, we have “no reason to complain” and that he can’t “really do anything to affect change” if we don’t do this.

Hmm. … Now what, Mr. Mayor? We’re baffled.

(Village Neighborhood Action Group)

Clearly, we’re going above and beyond OUR call of duty. Enough is enough. We’re so exhausted by being told we must complain more, yell louder and “bump up our 311/911 numbers.” How about you demanding that our local politicians “get involved,” “speak up,” “listen to us.” Oh, City Council District 2 representatives, how about attending a meeting once in a while and helping fix this crisis we’re in?

All roads lead to whom you elect

As a lifelong Democrat I feel I can say this: Democrats are to blame for this mess we’re in. For voters: Please take the time to find candidates who are tough on crime and will support your quality-of-life issues, too. Blind blue voting? Yes, I’m guilty of this, too, but now I pay much closer attention to those candidates whom I believe can affect real change.

So what now?

We need more N.Y.P.D. officers. Police are overstretched and unable to respond to many of our 911 calls due to being tied up somewhere else on other matters (likely doing paperwork while the perp eventually is let go with no bail).

On MacDougal Street, outside the Washington Square Hotel. (Village Neighborhood Action Group)

We need to continue to review what parts of bail reform are working and which are not and need to be adjusted. Most of us agree bail reform was necessary, to some degree. However, the effect that bail reform and decriminalization of many of what used to be crimes is having on our neighborhoods is evident: It’s simply spilling back onto our streets, untethered.

To elected officials: Simply telling us that you’re “investing millions of dollars for the mentally ill and drug users” without showing us your success matrix is only reinforcing the fact that whatever you’re doing “is not working.”

We need Parks Enforcement Patrol officers to enforce the laws in Washington Square Park.

(Village Neighborhood Action Group)

Again, we come back to the question: Why is this being allowed to happen? We’re not being listened to, and we continue to bang our heads against a wall, with no progress in sight. This is not O.K. anymore. We have elected officials who are failing miserably at balancing the needs of those in crisis with prioritizing them at the expense of local residents, creating a deteriorating and sad condition in the Village.

Maloney is a founding member, West 4th Block Association.

67 Comments

  1. Pete Anderson Pete Anderson July 7, 2024

    What do you expect when every sector of the economy has been “disrupted” on the back of offshoring US production to Mexico/China…leading to the erasure of the middle class!?

    Ladies and Gentlemen…this is way past “late-stage capitalism.” We are now effectively in Techno-Feudalism, and yes, this is going to get worse, WAY worse. NYC has never been a good place to raise children. Now you’d be hard-pressed to find any area of the country with a stable economic outlook and a child-friendly community.

    This is what happens when the social fabric has been unraveled over decades of neglect and active disintegration.

    Come on guys…didn’t Phillip Seymour Hoffman OD right in your neighborhood with a house full of drugs and paraphernalia?

    This was a wealthy and famous person. How do you expect the average person to cope… Yes, the stock market is at record highs (a setup for a massive correction), and unemployment numbers are counted in an extremely skewed way… forget what the official line is… This country is in free fall, the evidence is all around you, and it’s going to get WAY worse. Strap in, it’s going to be a wild ride.

  2. mikey cortez mikey cortez June 25, 2024

    Rivera hasn’t ever been effective in her district and now she has another murder to explain away. How many more lives must be sacrificed before she does her job??? and Marte, where are you ???

  3. apolsinelli apolsinelli June 25, 2024

    Thank you, Brian, for saying what we are all thinking. I wish you would run for office.

  4. SB in GV SB in GV June 25, 2024

    Where’s the plan Mr. Mayor??? No strategy??? No interest???
    Calling on Governor Hochul to intervene, send help fast !!!

  5. Washington place landlord Washington place landlord June 25, 2024

    I am sick and tired of feeling threatened on my own street. Of witnessing blatant crime and then talking to the police repeatedly, only to hear there is “nothing they can do.” This is where the woke agenda has taken us. An inability to police our own streets.

  6. John John June 25, 2024

    Those people that are being elected have no ability or intention of managing or running anything. They simply pander to the electorate with silly political posturing and cash in. NYC needs to throw off the corrupt Democratic cocktail crowd and elect people who are qualified and honest, without an entitled chip on their shoulder, and motivated to run the city.

  7. Linda Linda June 25, 2024

    Simple – Vote Republican! Open your eyes. We need elected officials to protect victims not criminals. Bring back our safe New York.

    • apolsinelli apolsinelli June 25, 2024

      YES!!!!!!!!

  8. Solly H Solly H June 25, 2024

    Thank you Village Sun for the hutzpah to continue cover such important community issues! Local/community journalism is precious. Thanks for being diligent!

  9. Long Time Village Resident Long Time Village Resident June 25, 2024

    100% agree with A Villager, above! It’s a terrible situation. I was born off Wash Sq Park in the ’60s and I dare say it has never been this bad. It’s such a shame. There is a domino effect — if people don’t feel safe, they move, stores close, quality of life degrades, real estate goes down, etc. What is the tipping point? We must raise our voices.

  10. A Realist A Realist June 25, 2024

    Epic and career-defining failures on the part of our current politicians and local officials!
    And what did you think would happen when you voted them in?? Finally, the community is enraged when the cesspool overflows and the crap is all around us? Bail reform, discovery reform, Dumblasio and the missing money by his Mrs., closing Rikers Island with no alternative, a DA who decriminalizes and doesn’t prosecute, lack of mental health resources and drug treatment services, a defunded and demoralized police force. Party politics prevailed over intellectual integrity. What happens when even the most basic rules/laws are left unenforced, like: skateboarding in the park, scooters and e-bikes, loud amplified music, drug selling, shoplifting that goes unfettered, fare beating, drug usage on the streets? How much crime goes unreported? When is a crime a crime? It’s boiling the frog; this bad behavior has become normalized and now somehow acceptable. Less than 10 years ago not much of this existed in our community.

    Some perspective: Things started getting worse a few years before the pandemic, by 2020 it was quite bad, especially in Washington Square Park, and overflowing into the surrounding areas. Neighbors tried to cry out at various meetings, and at a pivotal juncture a seminal letter to Mayor Dumblasio from residents and businesses stating “WE ARE FED UP!” was issued in late 2020 / early 2021. It was picked up by the media and circulated worldwide. It still circulates today, with most of those issues still unresolved. Following that, in June 2021 an “emergency” meeting was held by the NYPD for all local residents at Our Lady of Pompeii. Press coverage was extensive; park officials and the sleepy Community Board were chastised, the clueless green-uniformed Parks Enforcement Police stood motionless, angry neighbors reeled and some offenders pleaded their “rights.” It was a rude awakening brought to the forefront by vocal neighbors who were fed up and the NYPD who rightfully needed community support. Press coverage continued incessantly and then, finally, City Hall begrudgingly acquiesced to the community and the police were staffed to wrangle back control of Washington Square Park, which had slipped into notorious mayhem.

    What happened after that? Well, the worst had temporarily passed but normality never really returned and neighbors got used to the crap around them. Heck, it was better than the worst of times, but not like pre-Covid. Not too long after that, police staffing was cut, and cut more, crime remained high and quality of life declined to what we see now. This has now become the new normal. In comparison to 5 years ago crime is still higher by 25% (NYPD stats) and the 6th Precinct staffing is half of what it was then. In recent meetings it has been said that there are rarely more than 25 cops in the entire precinct on a shift. How can that possibly address what is arguably one of the most active areas of the city? The Village is a confluence of transportation routes and an entertainment/dining/shopping center and the home of several colleges and universities. It is also a vibrant, outspoken, inclusive and progressive community, which despite its liberal persona, WAS a safe and pleasant place to live or visit.

    Thank you to the defund-the-police candidates you voted into office. Thank you to bail reform. Thank you to discovery reform. Do you expect these same folks to fix this problem? As the sign says “You Are Here” and you have nobody to thank but yourself.

    People, swift and definitive action is needed. Take to the streets, get involved, organize, volunteer for offices, speak out, act up! But don’t stand by and let your life’s efforts get stolen from you by the ineffective and uncaring politicians who brought you here. Where are they? Why do they not show up at meetings? Why don’t they respond? They got your votes, and now hide from scrutiny, so screw you.

    Yes, this IS epic and career-defining failure on the part of our current politicians and our local officials…really.

    • old hippie old hippie June 25, 2024

      Jeez, when you put it like that it’s a real eye-opener. As Patti Smith said, “People have the power.” We need to change this!

    • Gerard Nelson Gerard Nelson June 26, 2024

      Thank you, A. Realist, for accurately detailing how we got here.

      I do not know how we can “put the toothpaste back in the tube.” I would add the entire false narrative that “broken windows” policing was somehow racist. For example, peeing in the street was decriminalized as a racist law (huh? how patronizing). If you look at the world through that prism of race, as the far-left DSA politicians and supporters do, you end up here. I am sorry to say but the reality is the vast majority of the drug dealers are African American. So when you arrest them the numbers will reflect that — well it does not mean it’s racism. It just is what it is. I would note the addicts appear to be a cross section of all races. The bigger question is why in 2024 are young black men (some, not all!) not working in mainstream society and instead remain in the hustling street lifestyle? It used to be the old guys selling pot in the WSP northwest corner, perhaps they are a lost cause. But now I see a whole younger generation selling pot around the park fountain circle and harder drugs in the park corner and the surrounding community (along 6th Ave). That is what the politicians need to address — jobs, education, opportunity (and yes jail time for recidivists) — and that is the failure of government and society as a whole. Harsh reality? Well yes but we cannot fix the problem unless we talk about it without fear of name calling. I would add that these guys are as smart as anybody else — they can do other things that we need — perhaps joining construction jobs, medical support or job training to qualify for city employment. We can fix this!

  11. Lower 5th Ave resident. Lower 5th Ave resident. June 24, 2024

    The Village neighborhood is fast becoming a slum. My building routinely spends thousands of dollars on private guards to keep our neighbors safe. We have security cameras that record crimes that are sent to the 6th Precinct. Is anyone ever arrested because of our efforts? NO! Where’s the Mayor? Where’s the funding to support more neighborhood police for the park, for Sixth Avenue, especially near the subway station? 311 calls and 911 calls are not enough. Even when you call 911, you’re lucky if the police turn up in 20 minutes or more.

    • Carol Ann Carol Ann June 25, 2024

      so true, so true…so sad.

  12. neighbor neighbor June 24, 2024

    The Neighborhood Action Groups have a real sense of compassion AND purpose. However without the attention and real action of our leaders, I’m afraid we’re going nowhere, fast.

  13. Nick Nick June 24, 2024

    A related aspect to these problems is the use of stolen CitiBikes to facilitate crimes. On any given day, several stolen CitiBikes are in Washington Square Park and environs and being used by the same junkies referenced above. These stolen CitiBikes are used to transport drugs and stolen goods (mostly Amazon packages, whose contents are sold or bartered for drugs). We in the neighborhood have asked the NYPD to address this issue, but their response is “How do we know the bikes are stolen?” Every CitiBike has an ID number that can be checked with Lyft, which owns the CitiBike system. However, to date the NYPD has not yet established a protocol with Lyft/CitiBike. Some of us are trying to facilitate this. Lyft/CitiBike is awarded its contract by the City, so hopefully feels some obligation to combat crime conducted with its assets.

    Separately, the stolen Amazon package issue that funds drugs is in part the responsibility of landlords who do not have effective video door systems, security cameras and package drop areas, and their tenants who buzz anyone in who says USPS/FedEx/UPS/Amazon without checking. An unfortunate feature of the many buildings without doorpersons, but still something that can at least be partially addressed with some concerted effort, if residents care.

  14. Trevor Sumner Trevor Sumner June 24, 2024

    The deterioration in Washington Square Park is the predictable result of the neglect of the Mayors Office, NYPD and Narcotics, the District Attorney, mental health services and of course our councilmembers. Yes, budgets are stretched thin, and much-needed services have been shut down, but fundamentally the biggest issue is the complacency of our government officials in letting our neighborhood slip away.

    People don’t feel safe leaving their homes stepping over overdosed vagrants. Parents don’t let their kids play in Washington Square Park for risk of fentanyl exposure or needles littered all over the ground.

    It wasn’t just last year that we had to remind them that open-air drug markets 50 feet from a childs’ playground was a painfully obvious and visible dereliction of duty.

    What will it take for officials to take notice now? It’s clearly not the stabbings and shootings that we now see. It’s not the exponential rise in 311 and 911 complaints that largely go ignored. It’s time to hold our officials accountable and we have an election coming to do just that.

  15. Vocal Village Voices Vocal Village Voices June 24, 2024

    Having attended the police Build the Block meetings and the district attorney meetings — it has become crystal clear what the issue is: Bail Reform and Discovery Laws impeded the ability of the NYPD to arrest and the DA’s Office to prosecute and hold criminals accountable. This has a direct impact on our safety and quality of life in our communities.

    Review how your state Senator or state Assembly representative voted for Bail Reform and Discovery legislature. If you continue to vote them into office then you are condoning this environment.

    • Rozanda Ruiz Rozanda Ruiz June 24, 2024

      Kavanagh, Hoylman-Sigal, Glick, Epstein all backed the laws to decriminalize or even sponsored them.

  16. Maud Maron Maud Maron June 24, 2024

    We get what we vote for. All of these problems are largely manageable if our politicians prioritized families and voters over drug addicts, vagrants, thieves and mentally ill homeless populations. But they don’t. So our neighborhoods deteriorate.

  17. Juanita Washington Juanita Washington June 24, 2024

    We are in crisis in Greenwich Village and not one of our elected officials cares enough to address the real issues which were brought upon by them. We need them to pay attention to us — the taxpaying, hard-working, law-abiding citizens who are penalized and attacked daily. Stop calling this a mentally ill or homeless issue. It is a bail-reform issue thanks to Hoylman, Marte, Glick, Kavanagh, Rivera and the rest of the woke crowd. We count and we will not stop until we are heard.

    • Msry Msry June 24, 2024

      Agree 100%l, it’s a mess. It’s all over the neighborhood.

    • Bonnie Francoponia Bonnie Francoponia June 24, 2024

      Spot on, Juanita!

      The local woke progressive elected politicians of Lower Manhattan (however well-meaning) are the actual architects of most if not all the laws to legalize things we used to call breaking the law. Using Covid, George Floyd and Cuomo running scared, plus no Republican pushback, they passed all these new laws in the name of “justice.” Anyone with a memory could have (and did) predict the results.

      Now they run unopposed — most folks are not that politically aware and do not realize the Democratic Party has been hijacked by those who are not actually democrats. Just watch yesterday’s rally for Jamaal Bowman with AOC.

  18. Village resident Village resident June 24, 2024

    Agreed

  19. Resident for 45 Years Resident for 45 Years June 24, 2024

    OMG, drug addicts have become VISIBLE! Bring back the good old days when they gathered in crack houses in the lower far East Village, while the upper far East Village was burning. Now that it’s completely gentrified, where’s a drug addict to go? NYC has two — count ’em, two — safe injection sites, one in East Harlem, one in Washington Heights. Housing for the mentally ill? Yep, Manhattan has at least one of those, in Hell’s Kitchen (gentrifying as we speak into Clinton).

    I’m not so stupid as to think that drug addicts don’t commit crimes in order to pay for their drugs. Willie Sutton robbed banks because that’s where the money is. Guess what — beggars go where the money is, too.

    All of you who made fun of ThriveNYC — who now think drug addiction and mental illness are a crime — and who think alcohol, marijuana and cocaine are just fine, but opioids are a scourge — check your moral high horse at the door. Hiring more cops, building more jails, making poverty a crime — out of sight, out of mind!

    • True New Yorker True New Yorker June 24, 2024

      So much to unpack. Resident for 45 years. None of us commenting are snowflakes who want a picture-perfect suburb. Hardly, we live in the Village. That said, we too have been here for decades and what is happening now in our midst is not okay in anyway. First, where are drug addicts to go? Well, not here — virtually none are from Manhattan or Downtown, in particular — just ask them: Ohio, Penn, Cali. Sorry, but we are a neighborhood we cannot solve the country’s problems, nor do we have the pocketbook. Contrary to the far-left mantra — New York and Downtown have tons of supportive housing (and stabilized, controlled, Section 8, Scrie, Drie, IMD, NYCHA). Sorry, but that too will not solve the problem: We are a magnet for out-of-towners and yes because many of us are generous and give or look the other way when they steal at local stores. BTW — showing your age with Hell’s Kitchen being called Clinton (the kids call it Hells Kitchen).

      As for ThriveNYC, do you seriously think anyone had a problem with addressing mental health? No. This issue was the ONE BILLION DOLLARS that unelected Chirlane de Blasio still has NEVER accounted for (where did it go?) We do not print money — we can only be taxed so much. The gov’t role is basically to provide clean safe streets for all and they are failing miserably. You really are projecting on a whole group of people. (I for one do not think any substance abuse is OK and pot should be regulated).

      Sorry, but your far-left-extreme shaming does not work anymore (high horse!, poverty a crime! you forgot to call us racist too…) Umm, no to all of it. We have tried it your way and clearly it does not work. And yes while our quality of life has gone down, at least we do not have the shootings plaguing other communities. But you, the far left, don’t care about them either. Unless a cop is involved. Not sure why you would even try to shame your neighbors who want a better city and community for all. Peace Out.

      • Resident for 45 Years Resident for 45 Years June 24, 2024

        I didn’t write, “likely doing paperwork while the perp eventually is let go with no bail.” And it is beyond laughable for you to say that someone without a residence isn’t “from Manhattan or Downtown,” as if their place of birth or prior residence means anything. I seriously doubt that California — which has a sizable apartment-less (I prefer that to homeless) population — is exporting their residents to NYC.

        BTW, just as we all used “Lower East Side” before the gentrifiers forced us to use “East Village,” we all used “Hell’s Kitchen” before the gentrifiers started to use “Clinton” (oh, so now it’s fashionable to go back to Hell’s Kitchen?). Apparently, some think that ends at 8th Avenue, which is why Fountain House is at 9th Avenue, I guess.

        I’ll stick with liberal, I don’t need “far-left” or “progressive,” thank you. And if there wasn’t such a pile-on in agreement with this op-ed, I wouldn’t have said anything. I never called anyone a snowflake or a suburbanite. It’s not my fault that the Overton window has been moved so far that bail reform is being blamed for all ills.

        I used to live on Avenue C — where some landlord burned down the building next door, full of hard-working families — and now I live on Greenwich Street — in a building which went non-evict co-op, so I get to live with my landlords. Back in the pre-AIDS days, The Stroll and the piers were full of drag queens and prostitutes. Washington Square? That’s NYU-territory, one of the top-10 most expensive universities in the U.S. I actually appreciate your response, but don’t put words in my mouth or assume you know where I’m coming from. Since ThriveNYC had an annual budget of $225 million (cut back to $115 million) and came to $850 million in total, your “ONE BILLION DOLLARS” is hyperbole. Its 54 initiatives were cut back to 30 — certainly you don’t think that none of that money was used or distributed?

        I understand that de Blasio bashing became very popular, but Andrew Cuomo – remember him? – did his damnedest to make de Blasio’s life miserable. If the two of them had actually worked together, we might have accomplished something, and de Blasio (and his ex-wife) wouldn’t be such a punching bag.

        • True New Yorker True New Yorker June 24, 2024

          I am not talking about folks with a residence who live here. I am talking about out-of-towners who come here to take advantage of our goodness and chose to live on OUR streets rather then the homes they left. Just ask them, many will tell you they come from homes but want to get high — here. The blond woman forever at the corner of 8th Street and University Place is straight outta Southern California.

          Yes, Cuomo was bad, he pandered to the far left and didn’t push back on any of the laws. Two wrongs not making a right.

          You like ThriveNY. I merely think the funds should be accountable for.

          I understand and appreciate you have been around a long time. So have many of us. Glad none of this bothers you. But maybe, just maybe it is negatively affecting others and their children. Perhaps have some respect for your neighbors, who clearly are upset (and, in my opinion, have every right to be).

          • Resident for 45 Years Resident for 45 Years June 24, 2024

            This opinion piece starts by linking to a news article written by The Village Sun — the comments there were much more balanced and nuanced. Listen, I’m not going to defend someone defecating on your stoop, but over in the West Village the Bleecker Street Playground has a bathroom and we hired one of the apartment-less people to run the place and let the others use the bathroom. Eventually, the Parks Department was shamed into hiring her as a full-time employee. You’d think that NYU, and local shopkeepers and doormen, would at least do something to compensate for the lack of public restrooms in the city.

            I am not in denial — I do think there is more hostility and anger and even fear and violence than there was, even if “major crimes” are down. I lived near Tompkins Square at a time when you didn’t dare go in there.

            Washington Square was ALWAYS beset by drug dealers, no matter what the police tried. In Wallace Shawn’s “The Fever,” there is a great passage about “good” neighborhoods and “bad” neighborhoods. Watching someone else’s “bad” neighborhood turn into a “good” neighborhood, and watching your “good” neighborhood turn into a “bad” neighborhood, is upsetting. If the lockdowns at Washington Square are causing spillover into the side streets — well, what did you expect?

            There are facts, and there are fears. Much of what I’m reading here is fear, fear, fear. Most EDPs (emotionally disturbed persons) are the victims of violence, not the perpetrators. But in this article everyone is a “perp.” You get to know someone so well you talk to them and know their name, and you’re afraid of them? I don’t get it.

        • Village Green Preservation Society Village Green Preservation Society June 25, 2024

          Your perspective is important, and your voice should be heard. Please join us at the 6th Precinct Community Council meeting Wednesday, 6/26, 7:00PM at Lenox Health Greenwich Village (30 7th Avenue @ 13th St).

  20. Henry Broadwater Henry Broadwater June 24, 2024

    This is an important issue and important article. I have seen people set up drug markets out in the open on Washington Street, and they weren’t selling weed. If you think this won’t spread to every city neighborhood, think again. While the Mayor dithers and hangs out at Zero Bond, he’s ignoring an issue that is going to cost him the election and any future in politics.

  21. Sonya Martin Sonya Martin June 24, 2024

    The problem with this article (while well-written and well-intentioned) is that our elected officials do not care, especially ones like our State Senator Kavanagh, who is running unopposed for reelection. At meetings their representatives are dismissive, chatting the entire time when they are not snickering. Also at the monthly meetings, people who speak up about the situation are told this is not about our elected officials and are silenced. They, the 6th Precinct Community Council, have an agenda and as long as their block is clean, they don’t care. People need to get angry at these meetings and all people need to speak out. There are 2 or 3 people who appear to have all the facts and stats and people want to hear what they have to say but they are silenced by the Commanding Officer and the head of the Community Council! So how will this ever get fixed?????

    • Neighbors Neighbors June 24, 2024

      You must be living in a different world. My husband and I we have been going to these meetings and the new 6th Precinct Community Council meetings this year are way better than ever. Statistics are broadly discussed, responsible officials are brought in to speak to the issues, community members engage openly, and after each meeting handout lists of elected officials are distributed and attendees are encouraged to reach out to those elected and voice their concerns. It’s obvious you must have not been to one this year — though more and more people are finally attending. Please educate yourself or attend and see what they are really about. Encourage your elected officials to attend and address the issues directly too!

      • Brian Maloney Brian Maloney June 24, 2024

        Yes, the new Community Council leadership is making smart, effective and engaging decisions to give 6th Precinct residents news and information that is useful to them. Sonya, the new CC team is changing the course of these meetings for more dynamic interchange that will lead to better solutions regarding these neighborhood issues. Please join us on Wednesday, 6/26, 7PM Northwell (13th @ 7th Avenue.)

        • Sonya Martin Sonya Martin June 25, 2024

          Brian and Neighbors, I go to all of the meetings and this wanting to play nice and say that the politicians and their representatives are hearing us and not snickering in the background shows you live in a world of denial. That the meetings are better, more organized and have coffee, yes, but are more effective — seriously, your article even indicates the results are not there. So IMO results are what make them better not coffee and croissants. Your op-ed states it’s getting worse. The political officials and their reps smile and say hello to a select few of you when you walk in and you feel seen and heard, but they don’t care. While well-intentioned, the 6th Precinct Community Council cares about their blocks/their buildings. At the last Our Lady of Pompeii meeting, a man in the audience — tall guy with glasses — spoke about the “stats” and explained quite clearly that the police always refer to year over year not pre-pandemic numbers because it makes their numbers sound better than they are. He also explained how the types of crimes and how they are recorded have changed, so many serious crimes are now misdemeanors, making the numbers look better. He also tried to say we should all vote differently, and Steve who heads up the council rudely told him to sit down, we are not here to discuss legislation or political candidates — SO if not here at these meetings, where? Also at the Lenox Health Greenwich Village meeting, prior to the Pompeii meeting, a former lawyer who worked for DA Robert Morgenthau started to speak out and question many of the “facts” that the DA reps were stating, and the woman representing the DA got very flustered and annoyed and didn’t realize this man knew what he spoke of, because she was trying to lay it all on the judges. And again he was asked to sit down because it was taking too long! So dear gentle neighbor take note, I attend all the meetings. I just take off my rose-colored glasses before entering the building and enjoy the floor show with my free cup of coffee because that’s all this is — performance art.

          • Brian Maloney Brian Maloney June 25, 2024

            I clearly write in the article that the politicians are not listening to us, so thanks for your pedantic response here. And nowhere did my response about the Precinct Community Council meeting indicate what you’re accusing me of. In fact I too was at all of the meetings you discuss and I agree with you. Thanks for your lecture. I hope you use your voice to get things done rather than scolding folks who are working to make changes.

    • Jeffrey Carlton Jeffrey Carlton June 24, 2024

      It’s been fixed, Sonya. Go on Wednesday.

      These are not the Covid, extended Zoom calls with no follow-up and stifled questions all funneled through one person.

      Actually these meetings are proof positive that nothing beats face to face meetings. Let’s end the last residue of Covid already — enough with the masks, especially outside. Get rid of the outdoor shacks that breed filth and rats. Meet your neighbors, get involved. Before it’s too late.

      • Sonya Martin Sonya Martin June 25, 2024

        Jeffrey, I attend all the meetings in-person and did not live in my cocoon during COVID-19. My point is that the stats mentioned are always this year vs last year but when the gentleman that attends all the meetings (sorry I don’t recall his name) asks if we can discuss pre-Covid crime stats (when things were better in our neighborhood) he is told to basically sit down and stop asking questions and the commanding officer rolls his eyes when he asks. They don’t want to discuss why it was better pre-Covid and what laws were in place pre-Bragg. I am involved and even tried to support the new candidate one of the groups was running against State Senator Kavanagh but sadly she dropped out. IMO these meetings are positive for community building (meeting neighbors and having coffee) but they are not effective in changing policy. I hope that changes. Effective = results and the pictures Brian kindly posted in his op-ed show the opposite of effective results. Again, you say you see improvements thanks to these meetings, I do not. But I will keep showing up and I will keep voting. Arguing with each other serves no purpose. Saving my energy for State Senator Kavanagh, Councilperson Bottcher, Bragg’s office and the rest of the corrupt officials who think 40 extra beds for mental health patients will resolve our crisis! Look forward to meeting you on Wednesday for civil discourse.

  22. WV Member WV Member June 24, 2024

    The author, Brian Maloney, is spot on! The city needs to DO MORE. The most basic duty of the local government is to keep its citizens safe — they are failing the residences of the neighborhood, visitors to the West Village and the homeless/drug addicts themselves. This problem is not new, but our elected officials are now derelict in their responsibilities, always pointing fingers at others.

  23. Davide Gentile Davide Gentile June 24, 2024

    This is happening because the progressive thing to do is to watch people in distress commit slow-motion suicide. Limousine liberals and the laptop class are so out of-touch that they cannot see what’s going on around them due to some woke-theological trance. Extreme leftists weaponize empathy to the detriment of everyone. PLAY STUPID GAMES, WIN STUPID PRIZES. Vote. Them. Out.

  24. Jose Martin Jose Martin June 24, 2024

    Dearest Gentle Readers – please go LIVE

    The NYPD 6th Precinct Community Council Meeting
    will take place in-person Wednesday June 26th, 7:00 PM

    Location: Northwell Lenox Health Greenwich Village,
    30 7th Avenue at 13th Street,
    Conference Center Room 643

    Make your voices heard! Politicians please show up too.

  25. SC SC June 24, 2024

    This article is so on point and, truly, it’s worse in real time. The pics are clearly disturbing but imagine what it feels like to live with this going on 24/7 with no solution in sight. The Mayor and Governor need to spend 24 hours here to really see what is going on and then they need to provide REAL solutions — more beds, psychiatric help, increased rehabilitation centers…this would be the minimum. And we need to vote Carlina Rivera OUT — she never shows up — shows she does not care about the people she represents. No more photo-ops in our neighborhood!

    • Barbara R Barbara R July 8, 2024

      SC: You have hit the target. I have read all the negative, upsetting descriptions about the situation and the lack of relief by electeds and the local police.
      What stands out to me is the mountain of distress and human suffering that is unaddressed. Drug addiction nationwide is an enormous problem. Our neighborhood is a mirror.
      What is needed here is a real targeted solution. A focussed outreach program with experienced mental health personnel and concrete support services that aim at recovery and wellness and outreach. What the Mayor has offered is totally insufficient. Other cities and communities can provide experience solutions as examples. Real program and staffing are decisions to be made and funded. That is what the neighborhood should fight for. The police really are not the solution but could be an effective part of a team in the proper outreach program intended to help the addicts and the mentally ill. Replace complaints with a program solution. Do your research for solutions and demand implementation.
      — A Villager since 1956.

  26. Mike Conway Mike Conway June 24, 2024

    As a lifetime Democrat, I see that beginning with de Blasio and now Adams, the city has gone down the tubes. DA Bragg taking felonies, turning them into misdemeanors and then letting perps go under “No Jail, No Bail” allows them to continue crimes against us. First, Sanctuary City status should be revoked, but it won’t happen.Why? Because we have feckless politicians who are afraid of being called “racist and not caring,” instead of caring about the future of the city. Our useless City Council only cares about being reelected and bows at the feet of organizations (primarily Real Estate) who fund their campaigns. The NYPD has been castrated because of the City Council’s clueless “anti-cop” decisions. Thanks to them, we have fewer officers to handle more crime.

    The only way for us to survive is to stop voting for the same people who have put us in this mess. Today’s Democratic party is not the same one that our parents and grandparents grew up with.

  27. anonymous anonymous June 24, 2024

    All of this work, time and effort and nothing really is improving.
    This pied piper mayor is leading us back to the ’80s! Only the conditions feel much worse!!

  28. Mike sanchez Mike sanchez June 24, 2024

    We live in the City Of NO. Marte, Rivera, Hoylman, Braggs, Kavanagh are incompetent and misguided. Say their names! They need to take responsibility for every crime that we endure. Shame on them. Maybe they should each bring home a couple of these criminals and let them live with their families, let’s see how they like it.

  29. Steven G Hill Steven G Hill June 24, 2024

    Excellent article…last night walking my dog I saw a man on someone’s stoop on 11th St between 5th Ave and University Place Smoking Crack. It’s all over the streets surrounding the WSQ Park Drug Den…smoking Crack and Shooting Up. Thanks for the Pics they expose the Horror that we are living in.

  30. Blanca R Blanca R June 24, 2024

    In part of Councilmember Carlina Rivera’s district, ’nuff said. When your councilperson spends time defunding the Police and removing flags from fire stations, are you surprised? People, you get what you vote for. Have you seen any action from that office other than photo-ops? If you thought things could not be worse than Marte, well here you are now!

    • Mike Mike June 24, 2024

      She should be defunded.

  31. Keith Keith June 23, 2024

    I worked at NYU for 10+ years. Sadly, this area is a hellscape of an open air drug den and rampant crime. It’s all done in broad daylight. It strains credulity that the local precinct doesn’t know this stuff is going on. It requires zero investigation.

    Separately, I’ve emailed Carlina Rivera’s office, which can’t be bothered to respond.

  32. Tyler Malone Tyler Malone June 23, 2024

    Here is a disturbing point I would like to make — the plan for a solution is .. there isn’t one.
    The police are trying (but, yeah, they could try harder), they are making arrests but they also look the other way all the time. There is no incentive to make arrests if the perps walk, the officer will get accused of whatever (brutality, racism, excessive force, etc) why bother? But yes they do make arrests and the District Attorney fails to prosecute or even ask for bail.
    Which leads us back to the politicians who hand-tied the police. They will not even acknowledge their mistakes and dial them back. No, they are doubling down (see the recent “how many stops” law passed by the City Council). I do not have an answer but I am an old New Yorker who remembers when we were told in the ’80s that this is just the way it is. A mayor came to office who said NO, the residents of NY deserve safety and it starts with “broken windows” and zero tolerance. That man has since gone insane, but the following mayor continued making the city safer FOR ALL. But somehow that was not OK and then extreme-left candidates were voted in who changed everything around. So, for the short term, no answers, sadly.

  33. Concerned West Villager Concerned West Villager June 23, 2024

    These problems now extend far into the West Village, not only around the park. Even in the bad ol’ days of the ’80s and early ’90s, I never saw FOUR addicts in one week shooting up in the afternoon, less than half block from my quiet residential neighborhood. Several of my neighbors have had homeless persons break into their apartment buildings and set up a living space. Police had to be called when they refused to leave. My own building had three, with one person trying to live in the stairwell one floor below me. Discomfiting, at best.

    During Covid, many homeless gravitated to the Village, as there weren’t enough people in Midtown and Downtown to support them. It was rare to see homeless or addicts west of Seventh Ave. pre-Covid. There were few sidewalk cafes and no roadway sheds where panhandlers could ask patrons for money. With so many homeless in and around Washington Square Park, they had to spread out farther to panhandle. The roadway sheds provided a smorgasbord of opportunities, with donations in the day and sleeping accommodations at night. There was improvement when many sheds were removed, but we still have many sidewalk cafes where they were not allowed before pre-pandemic.

    It is imperative to expand the city and state budgets to provide more beds and professional services for the mentally ill and addicts. Can’t get them help if there’s nowhere to place them.

    Concerned West Villager

  34. JJS JJS June 23, 2024

    The mayor could open up thousands of unused beds for mentally ill and drug-addicted homeless. We would probably need to hire nurses. He has not done anything. Why?

    Bail reform could be amended so judges had less discretion. Why have politicians not done anything to reform the law?

    It would be great if journalists at the NY Times and local TV news stations followed The Village Sun’s lead and started asking these questions and put pressure on leaders. The data is pretty darn clear at this point.

  35. Susan Susan June 23, 2024

    It is a sad state in the historic and landmarked Greenwich Village. I have been here for 50 years, I have gone through times with problems, but it has never been this bad. I have to call 911 to get out of my house or into my house because some potentially violent drug abuser is using my stoop. The police say be careful, don’t go out late and be especially careful of the small dark streets, like the one I live on. It is not just the filthy sidewalks encroached upon by outdoor dining sheds (the sheds house the junkies), it is the lack of regard to us the residents. We have asked that the 20-mile-an-hour speed limit be enforced — cars and huge trucks go down the street 40 miles per hour, break off tree limbs and jump the curbs. It is dangerous.
    What we ask for is basic enforcement of the laws — can we ever hope that this will happen? It used to be a most wonderful place to live and now it is a living hell. We are very afraid.

  36. ted todorov ted todorov June 23, 2024

    Its a hard truth but those with addictions simply cannot be given the choice to receive treatment. Interventions are necessary. Nobody gains from them being left to fend for themselves on the streets — except perhaps the “progressives” (especially elected officials but also in the public) who want to see standards of living & property values creep down.

  37. Edie J. Edie J. June 23, 2024

    I think the comments here say it all. We Villagers have no decent quality of life. We have tried to go through proper channels for years to no avail and our only recourse is to vote out the elected officials who have been ignoring our pleas and supporting policies that support criminals and not taxpaying residents.

  38. SAT SAT June 23, 2024

    A really bad situation.

    And worth mentioning, some connected impacts and issues……such as my co-worker (lifelong Village resident) and her husband who were regulars at Lincoln Center, typically taking the M5 to/from. (subway not easy due to mobility issue)

    When the M5 was split into the M5/M55 the route to/from Lincoln Center became much longer. And over the past few years, menacing people have been hanging around at night at transfer-point bus stops in Midtown.

    Going home in a taxi at night keeps getting more expensive and when Congestion Pricing does get implemented, there will be an additional taxi and Uber fee.

    Of course, Lincoln Center ticket prices keep rising.

    The upshot: As bus transit and street safety is worse and costs keep increasing, they’ve significantly reduced going to Lincoln Center…..

    It is one thing to deal with one or two impediments in the course of a day, but when every aspect of daily life or chores or activities is unpleasant or worse, unsafe, there is nothing left…..

  39. Sharon Sharon June 23, 2024

    Thanks, Brian! Your article is great and shows the truth of what’s happening in our neighborhood.

  40. Val Johns Val Johns June 23, 2024

    Everything in this article is true. I live in the area and it isnt getting better.
    -Addicts on our doorsteps is the norm.
    -Walking your dog at night is dangerous.
    -Drug dealing is rampant.
    -Random assault is common.
    Perpetrators and thieves almost never face repercussions. We have heard for 4+ years about new initiatives and how things will get better with outreach…but these pictures speak a thousand words. Things arent getting better!
    The experiment of extreme leniency has failed! Outreach helps maybe 10%…what are our state senators, assembly ppl and city council ppl doing about the other 90%? They havent laid out any plans or solutions. All we hear about is prevention, but we need solutions for the NOW.

  41. Mike sanchez Mike sanchez June 23, 2024

    Wake up, Hoylman! Your bail reform doesn’t work!!!

  42. Jane Jane June 22, 2024

    Superb piece, Brian Maloney. Every word is true. Our elected officials have ignored, deferred or minimized the impact of the myriad safety and quality of life problems the West Village faces daily. We need attention paid — NOW. We need resources. And we need to — and we will — replace the people we’ve entrusted in city government if they cannot act on our behalf.

  43. Alan M Cohen Alan M Cohen June 22, 2024

    Conditions are not improving. They are getting worse. I cannot leave my home at night because Washington Place is filled with dealers and addicts, who take over the streets. We have banded together, used 311 and 911, attended community meetings — to no avail. Unless our elected officials take the conditions seriously and move from their doctrinaire denial, we will have no other choice than to do our best to vote them out of office. I truly hope that is not necessary

  44. Rachel Rachel June 22, 2024

    Well said and unfortunately too true. The fault lies with our elected officials and they need to feel some pressure now to step up.

  45. A Villager A Villager June 22, 2024

    We are the neighbors, residents, businesses, taxpayers, associations, stakeholders, and voters in the area immediately around Washington Square Park. Our goal is to bring awareness to our elected officials, community associations, and city agencies that we will no longer tolerate the illegal activity within WSP and spilling out into the immediate Greenwich Village neighboring areas.

    We are delivering this unified message to tell you:
    · We are fed up with the lack of enforcement of basic long-standing laws and the illegal activity that regularly occurs in and around the park.
    · We are fed up with the lack of enforcement of standing curfews.
    · We are fed up with loud amplified music that runs well past midnight.
    · We are fed up with the residual trash, broken glass, food waste and human waste that remains after those illegal events.
    · We are fed up with the destruction, defacement and vandalizing of park monuments, the Arch, structures, gardens and benches.
    · We are fed up with drug dealing, drug use, and junkies commandeering and regularly occupying the Northwest and Southwest quadrants of the park for the purpose of drug sales and use.
    · We are fed up with the filth, urination, defecation, spitting, discarded drug paraphernalia, alcohol bottles and cans and general filth in those areas of the park.
    · We are fed up with public alcohol use and sale, crack, cigarette and pot smoking.
    · We are fed up with junkies: sleeping, having sex, generating trash and intimidating patrons of the park.
    · We are fed up with not being able to take our children to the children’s play area for fear of finding needles or being exposed to marijuana smoke or being exposed to the criminal elements.
    · We are fed up with our businesses being victims of shoplifting only to see those goods then sold on the West side of the park.
    · We are fed up with what now has become regular fireworks in the park and the fire hazard it presents in the park and nearby buildings.
    · We are fed up with the ineffective Park Enforcement Police coverage and inaction.
    · We are fed up with illegal bicycles, scooters, motorcycles, skateboards and similar running rampant in the park posing a danger to seniors, pets, children and others.
    · We are fed up with the lack of what was once a regular NYPD Police presence in the park due to lack of funding/staffing of our local Police Precinct.
    · We are fed up with our elected representatives not being attentive to these issues or even having an active voice in potential remedies or support of their constituents.
    · We are fed up with the lack of sufficient staffing/funding of our local Police Precinct contributing to a decline in quality of life and increase in violent and other crimes.
    · We are fed up with the negative impact this has on our neighborhood safety, property values and quality of life.
    · Mostly, we are fed up hearing of multiple arrests, especially those arrests of repeat offenders that are not prosecuted by our district attorneys and judges. This lack of prosecution is a grave concern and a threat to public safety and enjoyment of our park.
    We are calling on our local authorities, elected officials, Mayor’s Office, candidates, community agencies, judges and district attorneys to take immediate action. We won’t tolerate this regular, overt, illegal and detrimental activity. We won’t let this happen in full view of our children’s playgrounds. We are raising public awareness, protest and engaging media attention to bring a prompt remedy to this situation. We, as your constituents, are unified and mobilizing and we’re not letting this go until the park is returned to a safe and pleasant environment for us all.
    We will VOTE YOU OUT, if you don’t take immediate substantive action and let this condition continue. We will continue to bring public awareness and build support of this issue. We will not let this issue rest!

    • neighbor neighbor June 23, 2024

      Thank you!

  46. Ron Wisniski Ron Wisniski June 22, 2024

    Well said, Brian. And couldn’t agree with you more about our elected officials. They are a timid bunch and beholden to “benefactors“ and lobbyists instead of citizens. It’s the same here in Hell’s Kitchen. Our councilman actually wastes time advocating for water fountains attached to fire hydrants. I guess we would wait in line behind pissing dogs!

Leave a Reply

Mission News Theme by Compete Themes.