Mayor de Blasio On Washington Square Park Weekend Curfew | Questions Around “Policing of Public Space”

10 P.M. Weekend Curfew Will Continue for “Immediate Future”

It’s unclear how the new 10 p.m. weekend curfew at Washington Square Park can be characterized, per Mayor Bill de Blasio’s comments, excerpted below, as “proactive” vs. “reactive.” That seems like a language play. Thanks to Gersh Kuntzman at Streetsblog for questioning the Mayor about this the other day and framing the questions so eloquently. The questions need to be asked: the questions and the answers are important.

Via Patch West Village:

Washington Square Park has a new weekend curfew and Mayor Bill de Blasio was challenged on the issue Wednesday morning [June 2nd] during his daily press conference.

The iconic Lower Manhattan public space will be closing at 10 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays for the immediate future due to a variety of safety concerns.

The justification from the New York Police Department for the new curfew revolved around a handful of incidents in recent weeks where officers were targeted by groups refusing to leave the park. During de Blasio’s Tuesday press conference he also spoke about the ongoing noise complaints from the surrounding residential community about the park.

Since the curfew was announced, the debate has swirled around what it means for the policing of public space going forward, and the negatives that come with an earlier closing for one of the city’s most popular parks — especially during the summer.

Reporter Gersh Kuntzman: “Having the NYPD close the park at 10 p.m. in the summer, a critical public space, is a decision that needs more explanation.”

On Wednesday morning, Streetsblog reporter Gersh Kuntzman broached the topic with the mayor.

This is clearly an ongoing story about a major change in public space and how public space is policed in this city, especially in a park where you yourself called one of the most important in town,” Kuntzman said. “So having the NYPD close the park at 10 p.m. in the summer, a critical public space, is a decision that needs more explanation.”

Kuntzman went on to ask how the mayor and the NYPD made the decision and implored de Blasio to go beyond saying it’s a noise issue — since “Washington Square Park has been a boisterous space for far longer than most residents have lived there.”

“I didn’t say it was just a noise issue, I think there’s several different things happening that need to be addressed and coming up with a proactive way of addressing it — making sure everyone is safe,” de Blasio responded.

The mayor said multiple times that the solution needs to be a proactive one — not reactive — and that the city wants to come up with strategies that respect the “whole community” in Lower Manhattan.

“This is something we’re doing now, it is not necessarily something we’re doing for the longterm, but there’s been a series of activities in the park that just aren’t what should be happening in the park and it’s important to do something about it,” de Blasio said.

You can watch the mayor’s full remarks about the Washington Square Park curfew in the video, starting around the 38-minute mark.


Also, at amNY: Life goes on at Washington Square Park as residents aren’t scared away by reports of drugs and homelessness

Previously at Washington Square Park Blog:

City Clamps Down: New Curfew in Effect at Washington Square Park Over Next Two Weekends May 29, 2021

Photos: NYPD Implementing 10 P.M. Curfew This Past Weekend at Washington Square Park June 1, 2021

Photo: defund nypd

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2 thoughts on “Mayor de Blasio On Washington Square Park Weekend Curfew | Questions Around “Policing of Public Space””

  1. I’ve heard that there is a regular time that people practice Tai Chi in the park…..does this still happen?…when?
    I would love to find a group to practice with. Donna

    • Hi Donna,

      Thanks for your question. You raise a good point as, surprisingly, the Parks Dept. does not have these events listed on the Washington Square Park page as they have done in years past. Of course this is separate from the issue of the curfew in the park; tho’ not entirely, as it has to do with the attempt to privatize the park… Let me look into this and get back to you.



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