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Police pull plug on R&B band in Washington Square Park

BY EVERYNIGHT CHARLEY CRESPO | Leroy Webb spent a good part of the summer evenings singing rhythm and blues and playing his electric piano by the fountain in Washington Square Park. Webb now leads a quartet which, he announced, plays in the park every Thursday night.

Leroy Webb and his R&B band performing before police shut them down. (Photo by Everynight Charley Crespo)

Last Thursday night, however, two police officers came by about 10:20 p.m. and ordered the musicians to stop playing amplified music and pack their instruments. The police also shut down someone who was playing recorded music from a 4-foot-tall boom box inside the fountain, which is now dry and draws skateboarders.

Technically, performers need to obtain a permit to play amplified music in the city’s parks. The officers explained this to Webb, adding that, even if he had a permit, he could not play after 10 p.m.


  1. Obiter Dicta Obiter Dicta December 9, 2020

    Many thanks to the fine officers of the 6th Precinct for enforcing the Parks Department prohibition against the use of amplifiers in Washington Square Park at any time without a permit and for the prohibition against the playing of any musical instruments after 10:00 pm. There are a great many of us who use the park in the evenings and live within blocks of the park who have been severely impacted by the deafening volume of music and piercing singing pouring out of high volume loud speakers which can be heard from blocks around. It’s not fair to others in the park who want to enjoy the park without being blasted out of it.

  2. Steven Hill Steven Hill December 9, 2020

    Great Job! When Will the Police End the Drug Dealing Heroin/Crack Smoking Oxy/Fentanyl Pill Dealing Mess in the Northwest Corner & West Side of the Park???

    I sent this email to New Deputy of WSQ Park:

    Good Morning,
    It has come to my attention that Park Rangers are now giving tickets to Dog Walkers for the grassy area Pet Violations. I have no problem with tickets of rule violations but I believe the Rangers are usings dog walkers as easy targets for city revenue.
    Why…because the rules of the Park are NOT being enforced equally and this is a NEW Tactic.
    Daily, dozens of Skateboarders Violate Park Rules…No One is Stopping them and they are a danger to Pedestrians. I have nothing against them… There are 3 children’s playgrounds…Teenages should have a skateboard area in the Park…I’m all for that!
    Now WORST VIOLATORS…the Northwest Corner of the Park…Drug Dealers and their Hanger-on Customers…I know the Rangers will do Nothing to stop the Drug Dealing (Police Issue)…but the Rangers deliberately avoid the area. After the complaints they show up for 2 days and disappear. There should be constant monitoring of this area by the Rangers and install a Camera as Well.There are CONSTANT DAILY HOURLY Park VIOLATIONS…Crack pipe smoking, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, gambing, trashing the area (litter) and Public Urination.
    LET’S have EQUAL Enforcement of the Rules. Same Violations goes on in the Chess area as well. & Why Chess Hustlers get to Occupy a table 24/7…there should be a limit for others who of course avoid the area.
    Thanks for your time.

  3. Jane Doh Jane Doh December 10, 2020

    PLEASE make this stop. My kids can’t sleep. You can hear this band in the back rooms of apartments two blocks away. It’s not fair to residents. It must stop. Leroy Webb, if you are reading this, understand that there are hard-working people in the neighborhood that deserve peace and quiet. It is selfish. It is a nuisance. It is noise. After jackhammers in the street all day doing construction, this is just an insult and could truly make someone go mental.

  4. Going mental Going mental December 10, 2020

    And he’s god awful. Tone deaf. No talent. James Brown without a sense of actual rhythm.

    • Charley Crespo Charley Crespo December 11, 2020

      Leroy is a talented rhythm and blues singer, keyboardist and entertainer. What might be his weakness is that rather than sing tight songs, much of his arrangements are soulful grooves with a few lyrics and then extended with lots of improvisational singing and audience interaction. Sometimes it seems like the songs are overdue for a proper ending. This is party music, however, not a recital, and sometimes these grooves get people dancing in the park. We have to allow for tastes and opinions, but the reader’s description of Webb as James Brown without a sense of proper rhythm is an unfair critique. Neither Webb’s singing nor his music is in the style of James Brown’s horn section-driven funk and, contrarily, Webb relies way too much on his rhythm. I do sympathize with the neighbors, however; I usually know when Webb is performing because I can hear the volume even before I enter the park.

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