The descent of New York City’s fabled Washington Square Park into a maelstrom of crime continued Saturday.
Overnight, a wild melee left two people knifed and a third stomped. Later, during the day, six people were injured when a 27-year-old man caused chaos at a restaurant.
The park, once a Greenwich Village icon, has increasingly become the intersection of crime, drugs, rowdy behavior and homelessness.
“Now there are zero rules. Even with the public drug use, there are zero rules. It’s all out in the open. It’s chaos,” said area resident Adam Weprin, according to the New York Post.
— ned kelly (@strikeforcekid) June 13, 2021
When the ruckus was over, a 24-year-old man was stabbed in the left leg, another man was cut on the leg and a 21-year-old woman was pushed to the ground and kicked.
Police said there have been no arrests, and noted that a victim who called himself “Psycho Wilson,” was “highly uncooperative.”
In a restaurant incident, Gregory Conwell, 27, of Brooklyn, was arrested after he was asked to leave a Washington Square restaurant. In the ensuing scuffle, a 77-year-old cook was shoved through a plate glass window, according to the New York Post.
As a symbol of the park’s decay, its distinctive arch includes graffiti proclaiming “cops kill” and “do crime.”
ICYMI: @jangelooff and callers discuss the ‘battle for public space’ taking place in Washington Square Park, where police in riot gear enforced a curfew aimed at quelling drug use and crime.https://t.co/DTLZWRt1GR
— The Brian Lehrer Show and A Daily Politics Podcast (@BrianLehrer) June 8, 2021
“The perps run this town,” what the Post called “one disgusted NYPD source,” said.
“It is scary to walk around New York City streets. It has gotten so bad that daylight doesn’t scare the bad guys,”
Others echoed that sentiment.
“It doesn’t seem like there’s any control anymore. Nowadays I leave early because I sure don’t wanna be here at night,” said Mike Kinney, 48, of Elmhurst, Queens.
“The quality of life here has gone down the drain. I know that I would never dare to come here at night … It’s not safe. We absolutely need more police patrols. More police presence,” said East Village resident Albert Vera, 60:
Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said the city is sliding downhill.
“The Washington Square Park situation reminds me a lot of the Tompkins Square Park situation of 1988,” he said. “The city either needs to ignore the situation totally and let the park descend into bedlam or just end it. The choice is theirs. I don’t think it will end without some sort of police action.”
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