Young Park Goers Take Over Washington Square Park CB 2 meeting

July 21, 2021 – MANHATTAN, New York:
A community board meeting regarding Washington Square Park, it’s rules and the enforcement of a curfew in the park, was held at 75 Morton Street on Wednesday night. The meeting was tense and at times devolved into shouting and accusations.

Video by Ken Lopez (FNTV

The main topics of the evening were about amplified music in the park, and the 12:00 curfew, which hasn’t been strictly enforced since the beginning of June when police, in what’s described as riot gear, forced the park closed, making arrests and deploying pepper spray.

Video by Scootercaster and @NewYorkCityPeople (FNTV

“We don’t wear riot gear,” one police officer stated at the meeting, “what you describe is part of our normal uniform… with a helmet.”

During the meeting, many questions were asked of the board and of the NYPD precinct captain, who was in attendance and whose office covers enforcement of the park and of Greenwich Village.
One attendee asked about the continued presence of NYPD officers, who have been stationed underneath the Washington Square Arch, normally open to the public, and why the barricade that was erected to keep people away from the arch, has continues to expand. In response the NYPD Captain said that the barricade is in place as a deescalation tactic.

Activists and parkgoers, some of whom were unable to enter last month’s meeting, were in attendance at the meeting.
One of the board members, during the meeting, clarified that boxing matches are not allowed in the park in response to videos seen of large groups surrounding these competitions. These and other events were organized by the We Outside Crew after NYC’s Covid19 lockdown, which left many people without places to gather with friends and sometimes without places to live. Some say that because the wealthy residents who live near the park have come back to the city after the pandemic, they are now complaining about the noise in the park which has prompted this curfew and actions by the police.

Video by Scootercaster and @NewYorkCityPeople (FNTV

Questions were posed about police brutality, at one point someone asks if their questions are being ignored because they’re a person of color, garnering a response from the gathered crowd.

As the meeting went on, the speaking time limit was reduced from 2 minutes to 1 minute per person, also drawing a reaction from those waiting to speak.
The nights tension peaked as an attendee at the meeting began pointing out that one of the board members is “the media” and works as a chief of operations for Dailymail.
“He is the media, he controls the narrative. He controls everything that’s going on,” said the man speaking as another woman shrieked in support behind him, “that is a conflict of interest.”

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