New York Post: Washington Square Park to get its own police station

Updated 4:51 p.m.

Today’s Sunday New York Post, Washington Square Park to get its own police station by Kate Briquelet

Washington Square Park, once a bastion of free love and cheap drugs, will soon get a police station.

The $4.3 million post will replace an abandoned NYPD trailer just outside the park’s southern end.

Some park watchdogs are fuming over the plans, which they say were never presented to the public.

“For years, the powers that be have wanted to squelch the freewheeling spirit of [the park],” said Cathryn Swan, who runs the Washington Square Park blog.

“The idea that it was kept from the public raises concerns.”

But some park users were glad.“It would make me feel safer,” said Luca Damasco, 18. “Bad guys don’t like police.”

This piece was likely cut from its original length because it reads like half a story. Nonetheless, at least someone is paying attention.

To be clear, the building will also house the long-awaited bathrooms and the administrative offices at the park.

Plans for this all-encompassing building (the architects referred to it as a “pergola”) never showed NYPD offices within it and the idea was never mentioned at any meeting discussing this Phase III building.

When I first got an inkling there would be an NYPD presence in the building and asked the Parks Department press office in December, the response from the spokesperson was “we don’t comment on NYPD security matters.” At the March 5th Community Board Parks Committee meeting, when I asked WSP Administrator Sarah Neilson about it, she said there had been “conversations” — clearly it was much further along than that.

I wonder if some of Community Board 2’s Parks Committee members were already aware of this (and hadn’t informed the community) when I brought it up at the March 5th meeting (see link below). They had such a strange reaction to the discussion of it (Parks Committee Chair Rich Caccappolo basically shut down the discussion).

Also, it should be mentioned that Central Park and Flushing-Meadows Corona Park have police outposts within them – each of those parks are over 800 acres. Washington Square Park is under 10.

* Previously at Washington Square Park Blog:

Washington Square Park’s Long Delayed, Soon-to-Open New Bathroom Building to House the NYPD? March 10, 2014

Also worth reading, this piece by Naomi Wolf from The Guardian addresses the bazillion surveillance cameras at the park, what type they are and what they can DO:

The new totalitarianism of surveillance technology by Naomi Wolf, The Guardian, August 15, 2012

Photo: J.C. Rice / New York Post

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