C.B.2 Public Hearing on Music Volume & Park Closures at Washington Square Park -Tonight, April 6

Rich Caccappolo, William Castro at Meeting Addressing Music in 2015
C.B. 2 Rich Caccappolo, Parks’ William Castro at Community Meeting Addressing Music in 2015

Music at Washington Square Park usually gets people’s attention, and, tonight Community Board 2 will be addressing two items, both classified as “Public Hearings,” one related to the “Latest plans for addressing sound levels” of music in the park.

It is unclear what happened to the previous plans that were supposed to be put into place after last year’s meeting on the music volume.

The other: “Proposal to install chains and signs for effective night time closing of Washington Square Park” remains, ah, curious (read further to find out why).

Washington Square Park and its Borders: Fences, Gates & Curfews, Oh My!

Before the redesign construction of 2008-2014, the “old” park had a 3 foot high fence surrounding it. A height that everyone was pretty much happy with – except for the Bloomberg Administration Parks Department.

And yes, you could jump over it, but it was never noted as an issue. The idea that all of a sudden Washington Square Park has to be closed more strictly, i.e., “effectively,” brings up warning bells. And, as I noted in this post, this is at the same time Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver is advocating for “Parks Without Borders.”

The community successfully fought the Bloomberg Parks Department’s plan for gates as closures to the park as part of the redesign during the many years-long, contentious fight over it.

Yet, C.B. 2 Parks Committee Chair Rich Caccappolo has repeatedly mentioned placing gates at the park at the meetings. (In 2013, the topic came up in relation to noise complaints about music under the Arch and this is the information that was discussed then. One of the C.B. members, Frederica Sigel, said Parks should just bypass the Community Board and put up gates!)

Likely, there have been behind-the-scenes conversations about this which we are not privy to, and it is just being done slowly, beginning with “effective” signs which wont be “effective,” so, they will say: we have no choice, the park must have gates! 

“Chains and signs” may sound benign but what are the exact issues and what has been done to address them?

All parks in New York City were open 24 hours until not that long ago. I am not sure when the curfews were put in place at NYC parks (probably during Mayor Rudolph Giuliani). Washington Square Park, it should be noted, has a curfew one hour earlier than the typical park closing time.

Most parks close at 1 a.m., Washington Square Park * closes * at 12 midnight.


Wednesday, April 6th, 6:30 PM

NYU Silver Building 32 Waverly Place, Room 520


*Update on latest plans for addressing sound levels from non-amplified instruments and music played at high volume in Washington Square Park.
*Proposal to install chains and signs for effective night time closing of Washington Square Park.

Previously at Washington Square Park Blog:

Washington Square Park Music Volume: Opinions Build in Crescendo | Report back on Last Week’s Public Hearing June 11, 2015

Board Member Wonders if City Can Bypass Community Wishes and Gate Off Washington Square Park November 7, 2013

Look! Parks on C.B.2 Agenda including Washington Square Important Issues: Wed. April 6 April 1, 2016

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