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Opinion: Police park riot redux? Focus on car and motorcycle noise instead

BY STEPHEN DiLAURO | So, the rich have returned to their aeries overlooking Washington Square Park for a few weeks before it gets too hot and they head back to the Catskills or the Hamptons.

These rich folk are upset that the city is noisy. They want the pastoral silence they enjoyed in the countryside. Who did they call to complain? The Police Industrial Government Syndicate, who came up with the idea of a curfew in the park.

Now de Blasio, who will be seeking the donations of those same rich folk as he launches his gubernatorial campaign, is supporting the curfew. Police and government doing the bidding of the rich and corporations (N.Y.U., in this case) is a political philosophy that has a name — fascism.

So, the police, rather than actually enforce the existing regulations, started a “mini-riot” on the night of Sat. June 5, when they clashed with young protesters while trying to clear the park.

There are amplifiers, microphones and other illegal sound devices used in the park, no question. The simple answer to that is to confiscate the amps and so forth, issue a ticket to their owners, and arrest anyone who resists. They can get their gear back after they pay the fine. Instead, the problem has been ignored for years and suddenly the answer is to shut the entire park and use truncheons to attack everyone there.

The F.B.I. recently released a report that said police forces around the country are rife with white supremacists and right-wing extremists. Make no mistake. When you see cops sitting in their cruisers, engines running, air conditioning blowing, noses buried in cell phones, some of them are reading the latest dangerous lies and propaganda from QAnon and other right-wing radicals.

Rules against amplified music in the park have existed for a long time. The cops are too lazy to enforce them one by one, in the same way that they are too lazy to enforce regulations on the surrounding streets. Or maybe it’s not laziness but cowardice.

After all, the mission of the police nationwide has devolved in recent years from “protect and serve” to “officer safety uber alles.” Every cop gets up every morning and straps on a gun and heads out feeling above the law. To those who are going to cry “there are more good cops than bad,” I reply, “Bovine excrement!”

The cops and de Blasio also must come around to the idea that marijuana is legal now and it is not a hard drug. (It never was.) The local precinct launched a sweep against (Black) marijuana dealers a couple of days before weed became legal, supposedly on behalf of the same rich people complaining now. My guess is that it was one last chance to feed the Public Incarceration Government Syndicate with more Black men.

I have lived in this neighborhood within a block of Washington Square for years. I have walked through the northwest corner of the park too many times to count; but if I did count, the number would be in the thousands. Not once have I seen anyone using hard drugs there.

I have seen crack smoked and needles used countless times on stoops and under scaffolding as buildings are renovated on the surrounding blocks for the rich and N.Y.U.

So, is the closing of the northwest quadrant of the park really about hard drugs? Or is it accommodating the racism of rich people who are offended by the presence of unemployed Black men? If it was really about hard drugs, wouldn’t we be seeing Big Pharma executives across the river arrested and perp-walked for the opioid epidemic they created, all for profit?

Do the cops believe that hard drug use stops when addicts are removed from a certain locale? Or does it spread to other locations where they can ignore it? Who knows what de Blasio believes, if he believes in anything other than his own superiority and rulership.

There is plenty more that can be done to make the Washington Square Park neighborhood safer, and quieter, for everyone who lives here. Cops should be ticketing Uber drivers, engines always running, and other vehicle owners who take over the bike lane along MacDougal St. and cause traffic jams and beeping horns until well past midnight.

Motorcycles freely ply Washington Square Park nowadays. (Photo by Everynight Charley Crespo)

There are civilly challenged motorcyclists and car drivers who ride their penis extensions through the neighborhood every night and use muffler cutouts to make the streets sound like a war zone. That’s the real noise.

Get the cops’ air-conditioned noses out of the latest digitally transmitted conspiracy theory and have them open their traffic summons books. This city needs revenue. So, start fining the Big Pharma workers in their SUVs and the ride-sharing drivers who destroyed the taxi industry.

When, recently, I spoke to two cops on MacDougal St. and asked why they let all those cars defy parking regulations, one answered, “Well, it’s different people every night.” So, good: More people, more money for the city. How hard is that to figure out?

Oh, by the bye, it is different people in Washington Square every night, too. A lot of them are young. They want to celebrate the end of our long civic nightmare. These young people helped defeat COVID-19, too. If they are not violating any noise ordinance, they have a right to celebrate. The police are tasked with keeping the peace, not starting riots.

DiLauro is a playwright and musician who lives in Greenwich Village near Washington Square Park.

16 Comments

  1. T Sweeney T Sweeney July 1, 2021

    Hey, Village Sun, are you trying to become the Onion?
    This article is a joke, hope you didn’t pay for it.
    Sheesh, you were a credible local news outlet for a while. Good while it lasted.

    • laura rubin laura rubin July 3, 2021

      either sarc or the worst piece of propaganda i have read. not worthy of our thoughts or response.

  2. The Village Sun The Village Sun Post author | July 1, 2021

    This is a first-person opinion piece — not a straight news article — by a longtime Villager who lives near the park. This is one person’s take on the issues. The newspaper is trying to provide a forum for various voices. And if it starts a discussion, great.

  3. Walter Goodman Walter Goodman July 1, 2021

    Thank you, Mr. DiLauro. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  4. Carmine Strada Carmine Strada July 1, 2021

    If this is an opinion then please label it as such. As an advertiser, I don’t wish to risk a boycott by my customers believing that I support or subscribe to such dreck portrayed here. People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.

    • The Village Sun The Village Sun Post author | July 1, 2021

      Yes, as already stated, it’s a first-person talking point / opinion piece. Not necessarily the newspaper’s opinion, but obviously the writer’s.

    • laura laura July 3, 2021

      every single thing written is a lie. it’s not an opinion, it’s fiction. true that the noise & violence was ignored. now its gotten to be a danger zone. shut down the park @ 10 PM. it takes more than an hour to vacate. yes the amps should be shut off or lowered when they start. if not, arrest & seize the equipment. using race & covid is a cheap shot. who is this shill??

  5. cerqueuxles cerqueuxles July 1, 2021

    It seems that you should vet your opinion pieces to a higher standard.
    Obviously, the person who claims to live near the park probably doesn’t. He has not mentioned the people buying and selling hard drugs, the people douching in the water fountain, those walking with no pants or underwear…buttocks exposed, defecating on the pathways while sticking needles in their arms and legs.

    • The Village Sun The Village Sun Post author | July 1, 2021

      He does, in fact, live near the park. What he says he observes or doesn’t observe, well…

  6. Steven Hill Steven Hill July 1, 2021

    The writer did not do his homework. On a casual walk through the northwest corner, I saw Pills and other Substances (packets were requested) openly sold. I am a witness. My dog-loving friends were witnesses to drug sales in the morning or late afternoon. As we walked the path from the northwest corner to the arch daily, there were 20 to 30 drug addicts sitting on the benches smoking crack pipes & shooting up without a care….a few feet from the children’s playground. The topper was a woman pleasing the drug dealers (lined up for each one’s turn) orally around 8 a.m. in the northwest corner. These are the Facts. We witnessed them all.

    • Stephen DiLauro Stephen DiLauro July 3, 2021

      I’ve walked my dog through the NW corner too many times to count, as noted; but not in the last month, as it’s been closed. I live a block from the park. I’ve not witnessed any of the sensational events the reader claims to have witnessed.

    • laura rubin laura rubin July 3, 2021

      addicts were shooting heroin as far back as 1963, sitting on the grass in the NW corner. the park is a sleeze pit. it was not that bad in the mid-’60s, it’s grown into a monster. why any residents would go there is beyond me. De Blasio is an awful person but if he supports the curfew that’s a good thing. his motive is not the issue.

  7. Obiter Dicta Obiter Dicta July 1, 2021

    I applaud The Village Sun for publishing opinions, that are labeled as such, across the full spectrum of viewpoints, including this total piece of hogwash.

  8. Stephen DiLauro Stephen DiLauro July 3, 2021

    One word like “hogwash” doesn’t really address the valid issues raised, whatever the pseudonymous writer’s opinion of her-/himself. At least this person supports the continuation of a free press…

  9. Stephen DiLauro Stephen DiLauro July 3, 2021

    To All Comment Makers
    Thank you for your time and opinions. I overreacted to a couple of comments.
    I wrote my opinion piece. There are facts that are accurate included in it. That’s all.
    This is a space for you to disagree or agree. Or whatever. Please don’t let me dissuade anyone from speaking out.
    Thank you.

  10. Henry Scott Henry Scott July 5, 2021

    Whether or not you like what Stephen DiLauro has to say, you have to praise The Village Sun for providing a platform for opinions from all sides of an issue. That is what a real news organization does. And it is one of the rare local news platforms that actually focuses on the news of the communities it claims to cover.

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