The swells who helped foot the bill for the multi-million dollar renovations at Washington Square Park are now ready to protect their investment by hiring off-duty cops as their own private security force.
"Radicals see this as a form of the loss of their public space, but we see this as securing the public space so it is civilized and better for them and for us," Dr. Gil Horowitz, founder of The Coalition for a Better Washington Square Park, told The New York Post. "Private security would bring actual security."
Not everyone is so thrilled with the idea of a greater police presence in the park that has long been home to musicians, skaters, pot smokers and the assorted riff-raff that help make New York City great.
"I think the rich folk who are sponsoring this want to change the character of the park from the free-wheeling street-theater scene to something that resembles their backyard terraces," Ron Kuby, a lawyer who lives in the Village, told The Post.
The first half of the $16 million renovations, which was paid for in part by the Tisch family and other private donors, involved nudging the park's famous fountain so it aligns with the archway at the entrance of the park.
Now Horowitz and others are collecting more donations to fund this special police force.
"There are wealthy New Yorkers that are public-minded," said Horowitz. "We have brought together some very high-level people in order to get this done."