Washington Square Park stays open all night, one day after 23 arrests

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, June 7, 2021
Day after arrests, Washington Square Park stays open all night
One day after 23 people were arrested for violating a new 10 p.m. curfew, Washington Square Park stayed open all night Sunday into Monday

GREENWICH VILLAGE, Manhattan (WABC) -- One day after 23 people were arrested for violating a new 10 p.m. curfew, Washington Square Park stayed open all night Sunday into Monday.

Police opted to neither enforce the curfew nor close the Greenwich Village park at its normal midnight closing time.

The surprise decision allowed dozens of revelers to party in the park past midnight, one night after clashes resulted in eight injured officers.

The city announced last weekend that the park would close at 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday nights to curb rowdy behavior.

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Police say a pedestrian was hit by a scooter around 7:30 p.m. at the intersection of Amsterdam Avenue and West 64th St. on the Upper West Side.

Efforts to gate off the park Saturday night at 10 p.m. were met with resistance and eventually arrests.

The NYPD and PBA said an individual hurled racial slurs at an Asian officer on Saturday night.

"Each day, NYPD officers are expected to maintain a level of professionalism under an array of difficult circumstances," said NYPD spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica McRorie. "In this instance an Asian police officer was subjected to an ugly onslaught of racial slurs and maintained his composure. However, it is disturbing to see this type of language used against any Asian person in light of the disturbing increase of Asian hate crimes citywide."

Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the time that the curfew was "the right thing to do for this moment."

"I'd like to see the point come where it's no longer necessary, but we've had a series of issues and problems, and I think a proactive approach is the right way to do," he said.

Videos showed a line of helmeted officers moving into the park to enforce the curfew.

Officers could be seen grabbing and pushing people as an order to disperse was announced.

"When there are officers, unfortunately, confronting people who are throwing projectiles at them, most notably bottles, to put on a helmet is the right thing to do to protect the officer," de Blasio said. "That's the extent of the gear change in most cases...What we need to do is have folks who have a disagreement, not throw things, talk about it, work it through whenever humanly possible."

Three people received summonses and 20 were given desk appearance tickets

Police decided not to clear out the park Sunday night, allowing people to linger not only past the 10 p.m. curfew but past the normal midnight closure.

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The gates of the park stayed open all night, although many filtered out once it became clear they could stay past midnight.

The park has long been a scene of protests and vigils and is a popular gathering place for young people, including students from nearby New York University.

The curfew was first instituted during Memorial Day weekend after some neighborhood residents complained of late-night noise and drug use.

"Enforced closures are focused on addressing large after hours gatherings, amplified sound, excessive trashing of the park and other conditions on weekends," Parks Department spokesperson Crystal Howard said in an email.

The move was criticized by multiple Democratic mayoral candidates on social media Sunday.


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