washington square park
Letters to the Editor — June 16, 2021
Merchants say Washington Square Park chaos is driving customers away
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Top cop rips ‘abhorrent’ Washington Square Park mayhem after de Blasio shrugs it off
Hundreds of locals packed the basement of a Greenwich Village church Wednesday night for an emergency meeting to address the recent chaos at Washington Square Park — as police officials promised to “address” their growing concerns.
The NYPD’s 6th Precinct called the emergency meeting amid mounting outrage from fed-up merchants and residents over the nonstop partying that typically escalates with violence at the iconic greenspace.
The line to enter Our Lady of Pompeii Church on Wednesday snaked around the block ahead of the 6:30 p.m. start time — and as many as 100 people were turned away, leading some angry locals to form their own community meeting outside the building.
The highly anticipated community meeting comes on the heels of a particularly violent weekend in the Greenwich Village landmark during which people were stabbed and beaten — and a diner cook was thrown through a window.
The nightly unrest prompted city officials to implement a 10 p.m. curfew, which was pushed back last weekend to midnight, though revelers still partied well beyond 2 a.m.
Police turned a blind eye last week to curfew scofflaws after clashing with parkgoers earlier this month over the earlier closing time — leaving nearly two dozen people arrested and five cops with injuries
Businesses in the leafy neighborhood have had to contend with the disorder spilling out into the streets — as well as vagrants harassing customers — which they say has cost them business.
Locals have also complained that cops have done little to abate the pandemonium.
In his opening remarks Tuesday night, NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison told attendees the department is available to “make sure your concerns are addressed.”
“We’re ready to come back. We’re ready to protect you. We’re going to do whatever it takes to make sure you feel more comfortable in the neighborhood you live in,” Harrison told the crowd.
Meanwhile, as city officials including Assistant Chief Stephen Hughes, the commanding officer of NYPD’s Manhattan South, spoke, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer spoke, locals who were locked out from the meeting gathered on the sidewalk, according to a Twitter post by Talia Jane.
“We came to this meeting to have our voices heard. If you came to this meeting to have your voice heard and you couldn’t get in, come right here,” said one person using a microphone, according to Jane.
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