Community meeting

Police to hold emergency community meeting in Washington Square Park – The Village Sun

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Updated June 15 at 6.30 p.m.: It’s gonna be a big one. There could be fireworks – and, no, no in Washington Square Park, as it happens every night nowadays, but on the park.

The Sixth Constituency is holding an emergency meeting on Wednesday to discuss the state of Greenwich Village’s iconic park. The meeting will take place at the Church of Our Lady of Pompeii, 25, rue Carmine, rue Bleecker, from 6 p.m.

In a community notification email, Captain Stephen Spataro urged people to attend.

“Spread the word,” he wrote. “[This] is your chance to make your voice heard. We invite stakeholders, the media, elected officials and the Community Council 2. Our department head [Rodney Harrison] could also be present.

The meeting follows an anonymous open letter now well known to locals and local politicians, calling for the curfew and other park regulations to be enforced.

“We are fed up with the lack of enforcement of long-standing basic laws and the illegal activities that regularly occur in and around the park,” the letter said. “We are fed up with the lack of enforcement of permanent curfews. We’re fed up with loud, amplified music playing well past midnight. We have had enough of the residual garbage, broken glass, food waste and human waste that remains after these illegal events. We’ve had enough of the drug dealing, drug use, and junkies who regularly requisition and occupy the northwest and southwest quadrants of the park for the purpose of drug dealing and consumption.

Three weeks ago, police fenced off the northwest corner of the park. Drug addicts have since settled into the benches along the park’s east-west alley west of Fountain Square.

Dorsey Adler, director of the Central Village Co-op and Condo Alliance, which represents 16 co-ops and condos – a total of over 3,300 apartments – recently launched an email call for “immediate action” on the park.

Referring to the letter “fed up,” Adler wrote: “I and the CVCA members completely agree with the … list of complaints regarding the state of our neighborhood in terms of safety, security, of health and a myriad of disorders. that have happened and have recently intensified….

Adler called on the mayor’s office, police, the parks department, council members and the Washington Square Park Conservancy “to do what needs to be done to rectify the very worrying and potentially dangerous atmosphere in and around. Washington Square Park and its historic surroundings ”.

Another local resident recently circulated an indignant email stating: “We have been forced to accept lawlessness and violent activity as the norm for WSP and Greenwich Village and that is NOT okay. … The park has become a cesspool of criminal activity that spills over into our streets. The park is overrun with visitors whose only intention is to wreak havoc and occupy the park for illicit activities. Last night a group of men climbed onto the Washington statue and graffiti vulgarities all over the ark. There are fireworks every night at all hours of the night, in all parts of the crowded park. Drug use, drug dealing, theft, physical violence and prostitution are blatant. ATVs, off-road motorcycles and motorcycles regularly roam the park.

On Monday afternoon, the next meeting was the hot topic among residents entering One Fifth Ave., just north of the park.

Woman said she was very impressed with an event on June 11 editorial in the Daily News by Brandon del Pozo, the former commander of the sixth district from 2011 to 2013.

Entitled “The Wrong Way to Control Washington Square Park: How Things Got So Bad,” del Pozo’s article argues that consistent enforcement of the rules has been lacking.

“Washington Square Park is a place that will always get out of hand if you allow it,” writes the former CO. “The current state of affairs appears to be the worst of all worlds. Conditions in one of the world’s most beloved city parks have become intolerable for people who want to enjoy it in a more discreet way, and for people who live nearby and need to sleep at night. People who had stayed in the park for hours on end enjoying it had come to believe that everything was fine, and the city gave them little reason to believe otherwise. The police went from years of moderate enforcement to a period of little or no enforcement, then to a night of force and arrests. “

The park was quiet on a recent weekday afternoon. But at night, that was another story. (Photo by The Village Sun)

The “night of force and arrests” he refers to happened on Saturday, June 5, when a large number of police officers wearing riot helmets came out to clean up the park for the new curfew. of the 10 o’clock weekend, but a group of 100 young park users resisted them. There were 23 arrests.

Del Pozo argues that the park must now be “reformed” with transparent and consistent policing, albeit “not draconian”.

The One Fifth Ave. resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said of del Pozo’s editorial: “He writes very well about the competing interests in the park in a smart, articulate and understanding manner.”

The woman said that before the COVID pandemic hit Washington Square Park was “fairly normal.”

Now she said of the park at night, “It’s noisy. And our room is right in front of the park.

She said, however, that she understands that it is the Village.

“I understand, I don’t have to live here,” she said. “If I wanted total peace, I could live in the countryside. However, she added: “Amplified music is not allowed. These are the rules.

The resident said she supported the 10pm curfew which was in place for two weekends but was reportedly dropped last weekend. But she and others said the park’s long-standing 12 noon curfew should now be enforced.

“The law wants the park to be closed at midnight,” she said.

A resident of the building for 13 years, she noted that she had volunteered in the park the day before, doing a morning cleaning.

“I believe in Gandhi a lot – be the change you want,” she said. “Complaining is not enough.

For his part, a neighbor said he was furious with David “Shaman” Ortiz, a man from Queens who organized nightly raves and boxing matches in the village park. Ortiz, who is a DJ, recently poked fun at local residents who complain about the rowdy park as “Kevins” and “Karens”, tell them to move if they don’t like it.

“This is my response to the residents,” Ortiz, 28, told the New York Post. “If you have a problem with amplified sound and you live in the downtown area, you live in the Washington Square Park neighborhood, then you should move. I don’t let anyone steal our joy.

“Why can’t we all do it at his place and not here?” Retorted the villager. “Who gives this guy the right to think he can do this?” You have to bring in 100 or 200 people, come to his door, trample his vehicles, relieve himself at home. We should have a boxing match on his lawn, and do whatever he’s doing here. Who the f— is he? “The shaman,” he laughed at him.

“Don’t give him any power,” the woman added, adding, “I’m not moving.”

Like others, the man was confused about the location of the park curfew.

“What happened to the curfew?” ” He asked. “For two weekends it was 10 pm. Then there was no curfew. Then I heard it was midnight. But then I heard [a stabbing] in the park at 3 in the morning ”

In fact, the New York Post reported that two men were each stabbed in the leg on Sunday morning around 2:15 a.m. when an argument broke out between a group of people dancing in the park.

The male resident of One Fifth Ave. predicted that it would likely take a serious incident involving a “rich kid” at New York University before authorities resume enforcing village park rules.

“The elderly who live in the neighborhood were also locked up during the coronavirus,” he said. “They want to use the park. Should the shaman move them? Give them some respect.

Monday afternoon around 1:30 p.m. the park was quiet, at least for a while. But the tranquility was shattered whenever a drummer seated at a full drum ensemble south of the fountain began to pound. In the past summers, park law enforcement patrol officers, sometimes armed with sound guns to measure decibels, taught drummers the need to keep the volume at a reasonable level.