Last weekend at Washington Square Park, people and activity in the park lasted past the designated curfew of 12 midnight, and NYPD in riot gear with helmets and batons mobilized on Fifth Avenue alongside the Arch and descended on the crowd which was basically having a party in the park.
Now, to counteract this happening the next two weekends, the New York City Parks Department, in conjunction with the local Sixth Precinct, have put into effect a 10 p.m. curfew for Friday-Sunday May 28th through 30th and Friday-Sunday June 4th through 6th.
Did the NYPD and Mayor De Blasio’s administration learn nothing from last year when the police doubled down on Black Lives Matter protesters, “kettling” them (basically boxing in) and enforcing “order” via violence? This just inflamed everything.
Is there no (other) procedure than bringing in police in riot gear because people are partying in a park after the designated curfew?
A curfew, by the way, that is one hour earlier than the traditional Parks Department curfew in city parks which is 1 a.m. A note: it was not that long ago that parks were open 24 hours with no curfew.
Who posts news about a very Public park
The news of the dwindling hours was only issued online in any form by Washington Square Park Conservancy, a private group formed by wealthy neighbors, which does not run or manage Washington Square Park. This self-proclaimed “little friends group” was formed by four socialites about eight years ago; at the time, these wealthy neighborhood women hid mountains of information from the public in an astounding lack of transparency and “murky” behind closed doors dealings. Members of local Community Board 2 mostly chose to look the other way once Washington Square Park Blog revealed these dealings. Readers of WSP Blog are likely familiar with this saga. [If not, read this page.] This private group would still very much like to run the park.
Neighbors and park users have been against the privatization concept for this park for decades citing real concerns of commercial, real estate and moneyed interests taking hold of the iconic space. Unlike this Greenwich Village park’s neighbors to the north which are privatized (see: Bryant Park, Madison Square Park, Union Square Park), a private group does not run this public space.
The responses to their tweet were not positive. While this group presumably did not make this decision, for some reason, they were the only ones issuing any notices online about this.
Instead of posting its own unique message, the Sixth Precinct retweeted Washington Square Park Conservancy’s tweet.
In response to a query by Washington Square Park Blog as to why a private organization is announcing this curfew vs. the city agency which runs the park, Parks’ press office responded that “Notices are posted on site in the park.”
How things are announced can certainly be fine tuned — although it does point to a larger issue about who announces things related to this public park, why, and how.
From last weekend on Twitter:
Do the NYPD and the city Parks Department think this will go well? It’s almost as if they don’t want it to. They may get less push back over the next few days – less people may be in the park at night if it’s raining – but after that?