NYC Institutes New Curfew at Washington Square Park Over ‘Disorderly Behavior'

After weeks of complaints from neighbors around the park, New York City will now close Washington Square Park two hours early on weekend nights

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With a few minutes left to go before 10 p.m., police on Sunday had already barricaded off most of Washington Square Park. It's a sight New Yorkers will see more often as the city institutes a new nightly curfew at the park.

City officials confirmed over the weekend that the NYPD would be closing Washington Square Park two hours before its typical midnight closure on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.

Neighbors who live in the area said they were surprised by the decision but it didn't come as a complete shock.

"It's too bad that that has to happen," Norman Fainstein told NBC New York. "I think as more and more people are out on the street that things will return to normal and that the parks will not have to close as early."

The problem, the city and some in the neighborhood say, are raucous parties and loud crowds that spill onto the surrounding streets late at night. While the West Village park has always been known for some degree of illegal behavior, some think it's only gotten worse.

NYPD officers place barricades around Washington Square Park Sunday evening ahead of a new 10 p.m. weekend curfew.
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NYPD officers place barricades around Washington Square Park Sunday evening ahead of a new 10 p.m. weekend curfew.

"Even though I was supporting the activity, I enjoyed seeing young people enjoy the part, it did get a bit out of control. But I'm a little concerned with overkill with police presence as well," neighbor Stanley said Sunday.

The NYPD made the decision to close the park early on weekends in conjunction with NYC Parks, citing problematic behavior which 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.”

"I feel like that's just gonna ramp it up a little. I don't know, regulations don't... regulations make people a little more amped," said Caitlyn Huggins.

Some at the park Sunday said they're hopeful the heavy police presence will not last forever.

"There seem to be more police than people. I'm not anti-police, but there's been excess and I don't know... I hope it reaches an appropriate balance," Stanley said.

The NYPD has said the decision to close the park early will be regularly reviewed, but there is no planned end date for the new curfew.

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