NEW YORK - Citing safety concerns and complaints from neighbors due to the gathering of large, sometimes violent crowds, the NYPD has announced that the closing time of Washington Square Park has been moved from midnight to 10 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
"The decision to move the closing time will be reviewed on ongoing basis," the NYPD said in a statement. "This decision was made due to safety concerns following several recent incidents where large, and sometimes violent groups have refused to leave the park, and engaged in disorderly behavior. This behavior has included jumping on vehicles, making threats to officers, throwing objects such as bottles and other objects at police and in one instance throwing unknown objects at responding FDNY and EMT vehicles which were responding to a building fire."
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Authorities cite several incidents on the weekend of May 22-23, one of which saw a group of individuals obstructing emergency vehicles from responding to a fire on Bleecker Street. The group then refused to disperse, and unknown objects were thrown at the firefighters and EMTs.
Washington Square Park has been a popular nighttime gathering place throughout the pandemic, leading to complaints from people living nearby over loud music, litter, vandalism and drug use.
According to Gothamist, robberies have increased 72% in the 6th precinct, which covers the park, in the last year, while assaults are up 30%.