Mayor De Blasio & NYPD Over-the-top Response to Reported Homeless in Tompkins Square Park

Updated 7/23: There is now a petition to get the tower at Tompkins Square Park taken down! See link at end.

Are you kidding?

NYPD Watchtower now Installed in Tompkins Sq Park
NYPD Watchtower now Installed in Tompkins Sq Park

The New York Post and other publications who averted their eyes during the Bloomberg Administration’s all too dodgy and often underhanded activities came out swinging at Mayor Bill de Blasio in relation to the so-called horror of alleged homeless people sleeping in Tompkins Square Park. In response, Mayor De Blasio and NYPD top cop Bill Bratton decided to show how tough and mighty they can be – apparently unaware of a more compassionate, subtle and logical response.

Their solution to the Post’s outrage? Installing an NYPD Watchtower IN the East Village park!

After EV Grieve posted about this yesterday (referring to the Post accounting of homeless sleeping there as “anecdotal”), a slew of comments transpired with some back and forth, including this anonymous commenter:


According to A Walk in the Park Blog, the tower is called a SkyWatch tower:

The SkyWatch towers, manufactured by Forward-Looking InfraRed (FLIR) Security Systems, have four digital cameras including HD, thermal, and infrared which allow police to monitor and record surveillance footage. The tower also has a high-powered spotlight and various sensors.

The two story tall tower is a portable surveillance system that allows an officer a high vantage point to observe activity. The machine collapses and can easily be moved to various locations.

What a dramatic, over the top response. I don’t even think Mike Bloomberg would have done this!

The Post has also been griping a bit about sleeping in Washington Square Park too. Aren’t there bigger worries? Will Community Board 2’s Parks Committee, which has recently been angling to force gates onto WSP, something the community battled and successfully fended off years back, push the issue now? (This committee sadly has not always acted on behalf of the actual community.)

Please tell me if they ever attempt to put something like this tower in Washington Square Park that people will stop it. A secretly placed NYPD post is already in the newly built Admin building (while there remains not enough room for the actual Parks Department) and nobody really knows what goes on there.

Update: A neighbor is organizing an online petition to TAKE DOWN THE POLICE TOWER in Tompkins Square Park. I think it might take a bit more than that but it’s a start. The goal is 1000 signatures. Penny Rand, who created the petition, makes some good points within about New York Observer owner – and mega-developer – Jared Kushner, husband to Ivanka Trump, and his “Editors” plea to Take Back Tompkins Square Park. He only appreciates the park and the East Village from the perspective of a landlord and owner of many buildings (which, of course, informs the reason behind the editorial). He and Ivanka live on the Upper East Side (of course).

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Previously at Washington Square Park Blog:

NYPD to surveil Washington Square Park Users in Real Time February 9, 2015

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

Phase III: Washington Square Park New Bathroom/Administrative Building April 21, 2010

Photo: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates

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