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Parks Dept. cracks down on amps in Washington Square, but skateboards slide

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Call it Operation Unplugged.

After two weeks of seriously amped-up music in Washington Square Park, the Parks Department is clamping down.

Sunday night around 10:45 a knot of about 10 Parks Enforcement Patrol officers were standing in the dark on a path inside the park near the Thompson St. entrance.

A duo played rock and funk instrumentals with amplified sound in Washington Square Park a couple of weeks ago. Amplified music isn’t allowed in the park without a permit. (Photo by Everynight Charley Crespo)

The place was fairly empty save for some youth circling the fountain plaza on skateboards and electric scooters, or gratingly clacking their skateboards while doing tricks, while others hung out listening to amplified music at a low volume or sat scattered around on benches.

A sign telling people to dismount from “wheeled devices” is completely ignored in Washington Square Park. (Photo by The Village Sun)

Asked if the PEP officers were, in general, doing any enforcement on skateboarding in the park, which is technically not allowed, one of them told The Village Sun that it’s not their main focus right now.

He said the officers currently are mainly keeping an eye on amplified music, along with social distancing and mask wearing.

The amplified music had been very loud the previous two weeks and Parks had gotten complaints about it, he acknowledged. As a result, the number of PEPs in the park was beefed up. Things have been quieter lately, he said, “because we’re here.”

Everynight Charley Crespo — who covers music Downtown, including in the parks, for The Village Sun and who is a lifelong East Villager — said when he was in Washington Square a week or so ago, the park was the loudest he had ever heard it.

The eastern side of the Washington Square Arch is basically a “wheeled devices” superhighway despite the warning sign. But everyone seems to ride pretty slowly and carefully, so maybe the sign has the effect of keeping the speed down. (Photo by The Village Sun)

Meanwhile, on the northern side of the park on Sunday night, more than half a dozen police stood guarding the Washington Square Arch. Four more cops were stationed on the park’s eastern side, a pair each at two entrances there.

Asked why so many police were detailed to the park Sunday night, one of the officers posted on Washington Square East said he wasn’t sure but to call the Police Department’s press office. A press spokesperson said he didn’t have an immediate answer.

It seems everyone is skateboarding in Washington Square Park these days. (Photo by The Village Sun)

However, protests in New York City recently have ratcheted up yet again, this time over accusations that ICE detainees in Georgia underwent hysterectomies without their consent.

As for skateboarding, some locals complain that it has “taken over the park,” predating the pandemic. A sign is posted just to the east of the Washington Square Arch telling people to dismount from skateboards, bikes and scooters, but no one follows it. However, it probably at least does make everyone slow down.


  1. Barbie Painter Barbie Painter April 14, 2021

    I was hit by a skateboard of a novice ‘just learning how’. Another time a bike clipped my wrist while I was walking in the park. I have neurological issues, as a result I stumble and fall more easily than did before chemo. If the ‘No wheeled devices’ is not being enforced, the signs should be removed and replaced with signs that the park is no longer safe for people with disabilities.

  2. Obiter Dicta Obiter Dicta October 1, 2020

    While I submitted a comment earlier this week commending the Police Commissioner and the 6th precinct for initiating a crackdown on the very loud amplification of music and singing in Washington Square Park, nothing has changed. For the last two nights there has been high-decibel amplification of drumming, singing and other music for hours in Washington Square Park, and calls to the 6th Precinct are met with responses that they know nothing about the Police Commissioner’s directive. I hope that he was serious about it.

  3. STEVEN G HILL STEVEN G HILL September 24, 2020

    No Reporting on the DRUG DEN (40-50 People) in the Northwest Corner of the Park…Drug Dealing…Shooting Up…Garbage all over the place…Defecation…Drinking…Gambling…Occupation by Drug Dealers

    • The Village Sun The Village Sun Post author | September 24, 2020

      Yes, we are working on that, as well. Just spoke to a resident very upset about those conditions.

  4. Laurie Moody Laurie Moody September 23, 2020

    I am not sure anyone (bikers, skateboarders or scooter riders) slows down in the park.

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