MANHATTAN — It’s an almost picture perfect Tuesday in Washington Square Park but once the sun goes down, neighbors say the scene is very different.
It starts with wild parties and loud music, claims Christine Adapon, who lives near by.
“There are DJs who start in the evening, they start dance parties,” she said.
Then things escalate to violence with slashings and muggings this weekend alone.
But that’s not all, argues Bill Ruiz.
“People are crossing the line, being rude, smoking reefer,” Ruiz said. “People screaming and pushing on each other, riding bikes and skates unruly.”
Adapon claims this is the worst she’s seen in the 35 years she’s lived in the village, near the park.
“I’ve seen the park go through a lot — damage, neglect and a lot of crime, drugs and everything but I have never in my whole life seen such disrespect to neighbors and police,” she said.
Now, she fears summer nights in the park are becoming a nightmare. Despite a curfew put in place a week ago, crowds have disregarded the rules and clashed with police, resulting in 23 arrests.
“My taxes are super high and I should be able to walk in the park at anytime,” said Ruiz.
The NYPD is re-evaluating the situation.
Chief of the department Rodney Harrison tells PIX11 News that includes the timing of the curfew.
“There is a lot of work that needs to be done there, but we will work with the different agencies —especially parks and police — and see what time frame they are looking close down the park.”
For now, officers are not enforcing the curfew.
Instead, Harrison wants more communication and less conflict.
“It starts with dialog and making sure we understand that there needs to be concern of how we address the voice of the people who reside around that area,” he said.