NEW YORK — A summer night in Washington Square Park means something different to just about everyone.
“It’s really fun," Andie Ironside said. “I like to come here at night because there’s just lots of interesting people, but the music plays and everything.”
“It definitely gets pretty crazy," her friend Mia Kushner said.
It's not so fun for Maureen Falencki, a 40-year Village resident.
“There’ve been fireworks, there’s been noise, motorcycles, it’s insane," Falencki said. "It’s just been horrible. It’s been a nightmare. I haven’t gone out after dark.”
It’s experiences like Falencki’s that have the NYPD instituting the new 10 p.m. curfew, two hours earlier than the usual midnight closure.
What You Need To Know
- Washington Square Park on weekends now closes at 10 p.m. on Friday through Sunday
- NYPD cited incidents where large crowds refused to leave and have been disorderly
- The curfew will be in place indefinitely
Police and city parks department officials want to cut down on what they describe as disorderly behavior — noisy and large crowds, in which people refuse to leave.
The NYPD cited five incidents, such as people blocking a roadway while FDNY and EMS teams responded to a fire, people jumping on cars, and bottles and other objects thrown at police.
Some longtime residents of the Village welcome the attention from the NYPD, saying the park is rife with drug use, drinking, unsanitary conditions and that it feels unsafe, conditions that became more apparent to them over the coronavirus pandemic.
"Good, because it’s horrifying what’s going on," said Linda Weiss, a Village resident who backs the new curfew. "Before that happened, I was no longer walking in the park, I didn’t feel safe, and you should be able to feel safe in a park that you can literally just see across. I was just going the long way around. I was avoiding the park at all cost.”
Many park-goers described a different vibe at Washington Square Park and criticized the new curfew.
“I think the curfew is stupid," Wayne Evans said." I come here often at night, and I stay late, I stay until 1, 2 o’clock in the morning and people are just out here having fun. There’s no funny business.”
"That’s ridiculous and it’s summer time, too," Omar Nurridin said. “I don't think they’re going to really do a good job of enforcing that, or it’s a setup to give people a bunch of tickets.”
Nurridin said the police did a poor job of enforcing the midnight curfew
"They’ll be like a police patrol, they’ll probably kick preliminary people out, but if you wait like 45 minutes or an hour, people come back," Nurridin said.
NYPD and the parks department have said the earlier curfew will be in place indefinitely.
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