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Washington Square gone wild? Cops break up park parties after curfew

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | A heavy force of police in riot gear cleared partiers out of Washington Square Park on back-to-back nights over the weekend after some of the revelers refused to leave — and in one case bombarded the officers with thrown bottles.

In addition, one officer was punched in the face while trying to make an arrest outside the park early Sunday morning, while a youth punctured a police car’s tire inside the park Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, locals lament that conditions in the square are the pits and are declaring that it’s time to “take our neighborhood back.”

The Daily Mail reported that hundreds of young partiers packed the park — which, the article noted, “is regarded as the heart of New York University” — on Friday and Saturday nights, in defiance of ongoing coronavirus rules limiting large gatherings.

Neighbors might take exception to the landmarked park being called the heart of N.Y.U. rather than the heart of historic Greenwich Village, but there’s no denying that it was jam-packed with hundreds of people both nights.

The gatherings were for pleasure, though, not protests for Black Lives Matter or other causes as has often been the case over the past year.

In a new twist on the park scene, a video posted with the Daily Mail article shows the park literally “get lit” Saturday night, as a woman is seen twirling fire batons before an appreciative crowd.

However, a large detail of helmet-wearing police ultimately swept into the square after midnight on both nights to snuff out the party and enforce the park’s curfew.

Evrim Can, a community affairs officer at the Sixth Precinct, told The Village Sun that police well know that neighbors are not happy with the boisterous scene.

“The buildings surrounding the park are constantly complaining about the park and noise and everything,” he said.

A deejay playing dance tunes with an amplifier on the south side of the park’s fountain on March 21. (Photo by The Village Sun)

He said that on Saturday night, as usual, about two to four officers from the precinct went to close the park for its curfew around midnight. Typically, the officers just move the metal barriers into place in front of the park’s entrance areas and that’s it.

“We normally don’t run into problems closing the park,” Can said.

But this night, not everyone was leaving — plus some people also reportedly started throwing things at the officers. As a result, a larger force of dozens of police ultimately was called in.

“By 2 a.m. the situation appeared to have been brought under control,” the Daily Mail reported.

According to police, later that morning, around 3 a.m., cops were trying to stop someone on Washington Square North “for a violation,” when a man obstructed them. When the police tried to arrest the obstructor, he reportedly punched one of them, giving him a small cut inside his mouth and on his hand. The officer refused medical attention.

Police claim this man hit a cop on Washington Square North early Sunday morning. (Courtesy N.Y.P.D.)

Police also reported that the previous morning, Saturday around 3 a.m., a young male punctured one of the front tires of an unmarked police vehicle inside the park. Cops are seeking the suspect on a charge of criminal mischief.

Sugar Barry, a Washington Square Association board member, shared with The Village Sun an excerpt from an e-mail by a neighbor, whom she did not identify, who did not find the Daily Mail article, or the raucous park scene, amusing.

“The park situation is outrageous and horrific,” the writer fumed. “This is a sample of what goes on almost every night, more so on the weekends.

“This article glorifies the situation by calling it a party and makes no mention of the constant attack on the police and vandalism of the park.

“This past weekend, these thugs hurled glass bottles at the police, physically attacked them, slashed their car tires and continued the pattern of harassment that has gone on since last May,” the neighbor said. “It is not safe for our community to have this blatant disregard for law and order. The police don’t deserve to be abused for trying to protect us. This has to stop.

Hit and run: Someone rushed up and threw paint onto the park’s paving near the north side of the fountain on Sun., March 21, then fled. (Photo by The Sun)

“Additionally, the park is a mess,” the local lamented. “There are always bullhorns and amplified music played regularly, which has been so loud, I can’t hear my own TV even with my windows closed!

“The bikers and skateboarders are reckless and no one is enforcing any rules about public safety. There is graffiti, garbage and broken glass everywhere.

“I know there are cameras in and around the park,” the writer said. “We need to organize an appeal to our elected officials to take serious action…to take our neighborhood back.”

2 Comments

  1. Obiter Dicta Obiter Dicta April 13, 2021

    The Parks Department is totally inept, ineffectual, paralyzed and utterly devoid of leadership. There are good rules on the books, but zero attempt is made to enforce them. They are totally invisible after 6:00 pm. Why? Because they don’t work after 6:00 pm, and when they do work during the daylight hours, they see the rules being violated but do nothing about them. I think they view their main job as serving as walking scarecrows, hoping that when violators see their uniforms, they will immediately begin to observe the park regulations, so they just walk around all day preening and displaying their uniforms. They do absolutely nothing to control the ear-splitting amplified music played all night and up until the PD tries to close the park. They embolden the revelers to feel that they own the park and can do whatever they want (which they can). Parks is a totally do-nothing organization. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the NYPD which knows what to do, does it, but can’t do enough of it because their budgets have been depleted by our not-too-soon-enough to be forgotten mayor who has diverted those funds to his pet projects designed to immortalize his rein. Thumbs up for the PD, especially the dedicated officers of the 6th precinct. Thumbs down for duh-Blah !

  2. Village Neighbor Village Neighbor April 13, 2021

    Same old story…this happens because it is allowed to happen. City agencies/elected officials need to do their jobs. Now comes the part where rich privileged neighbors are blamed for complaining??? Wrong; the fact is the park is to be enjoyed by all …lawfully and peacefully… obey the rules, don’t destroy the park, don’t deal drugs, don’t be a nuisance. Allow for the peaceful enjoyment by others. Neighbors will not stop, yes, in fact we will take our neighborhood back for all to enjoy and replace officials who can’t do their jobs.

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