Washington Square Park debauchery continuesin the iconic NYC park

Washington Square Park debauchery continuesin the iconic NYC park

06/27/2021

The chaos continues! Crowds of revelers drink, twerk and play music in Washington Square Park well past the midnight curfew to the dismay of long-suffering residents

  • Throughout June, with Covid restrictions lifted, Washington Square Park has been the site of rowdy all-night parties and illegal boxing matches
  • On Saturday, the atmosphere was tamer than weeks before, but groups of people still were around past 12 am 
  • NYPD told DailyMail.com around 1 am, there were no major incidents

It was another night of late-night debauchery in New York City’s Washington Square Park on Saturday in what has become a flashpoint for the city’s out-of-control crime rate. 

Large groups of party goers dancing and playing music well into Saturday night and into Sunday morning, breaking a midnight curfew.

But as of 1 am, no serious violence had been reported in the park, as had been in prior weeks. The NYPD told DailyMail.com that no major incidents had been reported, but they wouldn’t know until later Sunday morning as to whether any arrests would be made.

A group of young revelers gathered in a circle with a dancers in middle while others congregated around a drummer. Some people lounged on the grass or sat around the fountain. 

A mobile DJ was set up with a mixing station and a large speaker. Amplified music has been a key complaint of neighbors, but their complaints haven’t stopped the loudspeakers and crowds revelers.

Earlier in the day, a pride march ended with marchers dancing in the fountain.  

A group of party goers gather in a circle to watch dancers twerk in Washington Square Park on June 26

Other park goers gathered around the fountain on June 26 with Washington Square Park’s iconic arches in the background

Drummer performs for the crowd in Washington Square Park on June 26

This is what the crowd looked like by 9:45pm in Washington Square Park on June 26

Some park goers frequented the park’s merchants, like these jewelry sellers, on June 26

Some merchants, like this T-shirt salesman and designer, is trying to get their styles out to the public

In the trash can was the partiers’ wares left behind, including a box for a bottle of Moet Champagne 

A table selling CBD-based goods was set up at the park 

People hung out around the fountain and other sitting places enjoying the good weather

Some people came on bike, but others came on motorized bikes within the park, where crowds gathered 

On the grassy areas of the park, people ate late dinners, drank and carried on

At the main fountain in the park, people danced and partied and were hanging around well past midnight curfew

Huge crowds of people gathered at the park – some dancing, and some on motorized bikes

A mobile DJ was set up with a mixing station and a large speaker. Amplified music has been a key complaint of neighbors

Saturday night was a stark difference to Friday night’s Fight Club-type scene, where fighters compete in unlicensed boxing matches complete with a referee and time keeper.

The Manhattan park appeared more like Madison Square Garden as boxing matches took place in front of hundreds of people, all of which were caught on camera. 

At least five matches took place close to the famous arch in Greenwich Village with participants paying five dollars to take part. 

One contest appeared to last for six rounds as bloodthirsty spectators cheered on the fighters.

One fighter ended up dislocating his shoulder during the knockabout and had to have another man shove it back into its socket.  

The NYPD did not enter the park to stop the fights, and it’s unclear if these fights were legal.  

At least five illegal boxing matches took place on Friday night with timekeepers and a referee

 Later in the night on Friday, illegal fireworks were also set off dangerously close to the surrounding buildings.  

A few arrests were made with one man taken into custody and charged with two counts of menacing for allegedly threatening two Parks Department employees with a wine bottle and a brick.  

Tayvon Turner, 28, from Brooklyn allegedly picked up a wine bottle and threatened a worker in the park who was a 50-year-old woman. 

He then threatened to hit another worker, a 47-year-old woman, with a brick, although nobody was physically harmed.

The NYPD also said Turner was charged with vandalism after spraying graffiti in the park.        

The gathered crowd appeared to cheer on the pugilists in the square on Friday night – June 25

The fights had a makeshift quality about them with some wearing pants 

The boxing is the latest in a long-line of anti-social behavior that has been occurring in the park despite efforts to clear the area, usually by 10pm.  

NYPD tweeted a photo of the Taser, disguised as a flashlight, and a knife with a curved blade. A stampede begun when McDermott brandished the weapons in Washington Square Park

That hasn’t been enforced, and there’s been major incidents in the last three weeks, starting with a wild, all-night rave ended with multiple people beaten and stabbed, and a diner cook being thrown through a window during the June 12 weekend.

Last week, a man, later identified as Jason McDermott, 42, was arrested and charged with menacing, reckless endangerment and weapons charges as his lawyer argued that he acted in self defense.

The court heard on Sunday that, shortly after midnight on Friday night, McDermott pulled out a knife and a Taser, which police said was disguised as a flashlight, the New York Post reported. 

Horrified onlookers, seeing those weapons, fled in terror, leaving a 43-year-old woman trampled.

She was seen with blood pouring from the side of her head, and was taken to Bellevue Hospital with cuts, scrapes and bruises. She was treated and later released. 

Throughout June, with Covid restrictions easing, Washington Square Park has been the site of rowdy all-night parties, stabbings and drug taking, to the fury of well-heeled local residents in Greenwich Village. 

Jason McDermott, 42, was arrested at 12:40am on Saturday morning, after he brandished a Taser and a knife. On Sunday a judge released him without bail on menacing, reckless endangerment and weapons charges

A 43-year-old woman was left bloodied after being trampled as revelers fled from a man wielding a knife and a taser on June 18

From Memorial Day weekend onwards, the usual midnight closure of the park was brought forward to 10pm, in a bid to end the loud late-night drinking and partying, and limit the antisocial antics, but the efforts have rarely succeeded. 

The curfew saw violent confrontations with the police, and running battles in the streets of Greenwich Village as officers attempted to force people from the park.

Earlier in the week, an illegal rave continued for several nights with revelers blasting out music on thundering sound systems.  

Residents have been continually plagued by moped riders and skateboarders in the area. 

Nearby residents told DailyMail.com that they won’t walk through the park at night.  

Revellers had been gathering around thundering sound systems for consecutive nights of drinking and smoking marijuana despite a police order to close the park after people ran away from a man who was brandishing a knife and a taser last Friday night

Revellers continued to gather in the Manhattan park last Sunday night despite a police order to shut the park at 10pm

Last Monday, Mayor Bill De Blasio downplayed the violence and chaos at Washington Square Park in recent weeks, telling reporters that he believes the situation will resolve itself ‘naturally.’  

With bars and restaurants facing tight restrictions over the last year due to the pandemic, it transformed into a popular party destination.

Now, as the parties and reports of crime increase – and COVID-19 restrictions have lifted – residents and ravers are coming to blows.

On the one side, young revelers say the park is public property. They question why they cannot use the space to enjoy parties and why the wealthy Greenwich Village homeowners nearby should have the power to decide who has access to it.

On the other side, residents claim the park has become a site of increased drug use and violence, leaving them scared to walk around the area and left grappling with the noise later into the night.

The violence in Washington Square Park comes as the NYPD struggle with a surge in violent crime.

Shootings across the city are up by more than 70 percent. Felony assaults are up eight percent for the first six months of 2021, compared to the same period last year, rapes are up by 10 percent and robberies – which includes muggings – have spiked by nearly 40 percent this month. 

Statistics show shooting crimes have been up this year city-wide compared to last year

Crimes have been rising throughout New York City, according to the NYPD

The rotting core of the Big Apple: How iconicWashington Square Park has become a no-go zone for law-abiding locals after dark – amid a string of overnight raves which have descended into chaotic violence 

 Nearby residents and visitors to New York’s Washington Square Park have told how they now avoid the landmark after dark amid fears of violence, a day after another late night rave descended into chaos.

On Friday night a woman was left bloodied and bruised after being trampled on by terrified crowds trying to flee a man armed with a large knife and a taser.

The man with the knife and taser is alleged to be Jason McDermott, 42, sources told DailyMail.com. McDermott has been arrested at least 10 times between 2010 and 2014, the sources said.

Now locals have told how the park changes after dark, from a calm, relaxing atmosphere during the day to chaos when the sun goes down.

As the raves at the park have escalated, there have been claims of prostitution and public sexual acts, historic pot smoking escalated to hard drugs, and claims of people carrying weapons like baseball bats.

DailyMail.com spoke to park visitors Saturday afternoon, less than 24 hours after the woman – who has not been named by officials – was injured. 

The nearby residents, afternoon park attendees and business owners who spoke to DailyMail.com have demanded police step up their enforcement of a midnight curfew and stop motorcyclists zooming through the park.

All said they wouldn’t be going to the park tonight, amid fears of further violence.  

On Monday, mayor Bill De Blasio downplayed the chaos at Washington Square Park in recent weeks, telling reporters that he believes the situation will resolve itself ‘naturally’

 Across from the northwest section of the park, a full block away from the iconic arches where most revelers congregate at night, two women enjoyed the sunlight outside their ground floor window.

Christa Shaub, who has lived in the area for 15 years, and Amy Heinemams, who has lived in there for six years, said the partying in the park is nothing new especially during the summer months, but ‘it’s exaggerated post-pandemic.’

‘This is an open park, but you need to have respect for people,’ Shaub said. ‘There needs to be regulations.’

While they think the park is safe during the day, Heinemams said, ‘I won’t walk through the park at night.’

In a little outcove under the cover of trees and surrounded by shrubbery just south of the arches, a group of about a dozen old timers jam out with an acoustic guitar and dance to live Bob Mellencamp songs.

The guitarist and one of the singers – who said his name was Richie – said he’s been coming to this spot for about eight years and said others in the group have been doing this for decades.

They all live in the apartments across the street. They knew some of the homeless who roamed the park by name.

But Richie said they make a point to be out of the park no later than 5pm.

‘We’re not going to deal with what’s going on night and don’t want any part of it,’ Richie said.

Guitarist Richie says he has been coming to this spot for about eight years, but now makes a point to be out of the park no later than 5pm

 

Last week the park’s night scene exploded with multiple assaults and slashings. Police held an emergency meeting on Wednesday, which pitted residents against protesting revelers. Hours later, the park was packed again.

Wednesday and Thursday nights, the equilibrium seemed to inch closer to a pre-pandemic norm, then Friday night’s chaos pressed the chaos button.

Karen Bartolo, who’s now in her late 50s, has a deep reverence for the park’s rich history and said she’s been performing music in Washington Square Park since she was 15. Every weekend she was here.

‘They played music, smoked pot and had a good time’, she said. ‘They played music until 2am, but there weren’t amps and large bass systems that can blast music for blocks.’

‘But what’s happening Washington Square now is horrible,’ she said.

She said: ‘At night time this park used to be the place. But now, people are crazy. In the day even. But at nighttime? Forget about it.’

She added: ‘In the ’60s, we had our problems, but we came together. We need to come together now.’

Bartolo, along with multiple other park goers who spoke to the DailyMail.com Saturday afternoon, talked about an escalating level of hostility between police, revelers and the park’s neighbors.

There are too many ‘aggressive police,’ she said, but the kids ‘are out of control’ and egging on law enforcement.

‘It can’t get violent,’ Bartolo said, ‘otherwise we are a lost cause.’

Karen Bartolo, who’s now in her late 50s, has a deep reverence for the park’s rich history and said she’s been performing music in Washington Square Park since she was 15

The late-night parties have seen stabbings and brawls, and sparked complaints from well-heeled neighbors

 Tensions have boiled over in recent weeks after violent rowdy late-night events saw stabbings and brawls, and sparked complaints from neighbors. There have also been needles seen in the park, as drug use and sales has run rampant, according to police and residents.

The latest incident unfolded at around 12.40 am Saturday morning when Jason McDermott, 42, began waving a taser in the direction of a group of people who were gathered inside the historic park for another night of late-night partying, the NYPD told DailyMail.com.

Police said McDermott was also in possession of a large knife at the time.

Partygoers, who have descended on the park for nightly raves in recent weeks, were sent into a panic and ran for safety from the suspect.

In the chaos, one 43-year-old woman, who has not been named, was knocked over and trampled by the fleeing crowd.

 DailyMail.com photos show the woman sat on the ground with blood pouring from her face following the incident. A man was seen handcuffed and being led away by police.

Police said the woman was transported to Bellevue hospital in a stable condition with lacerations, contusions and abrasions.

McDermott was arrested without incident and was charged Saturday morning with menacing, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon.

The NYPD said there were no other injuries from the incident and the park remained open for the rest of the night – long after the midnight curfew.

The violent night comes amid a surge in violent crime across New York City and fears mounting that the city is returning to its dark days of the 70s and 80s.

The NYPD had said this week its officers would enforce a midnight closure time if requested to do so by the Parks Department.

On Wednesday, Rodney Harrison, the NYPD’s Chief of Department, the highest ranking uniformed officer on the force, told reporters at City Hall that fliers would be handed out to park visitors reminding them to clear out by the midnight closing time.

On Monday, mayor Bill De Blasio downplayed the violence and chaos at Washington Square Park in recent weeks, telling reporters that he believes the situation will resolve itself ‘naturally.’  

The public park in the heart of the Big Apple has been a growing source of tension in recent weeks.

With bars and restaurants facing tight restrictions over the last year due to the pandemic, it transformed into a popular party destination.

Now, as the parties and reports of crime increase – and COVID-19 restrictions have lifted – residents and ravers are coming to blows.

On the one side, young revelers say the park is public property. They question why they cannot use the space to enjoy parties and why the wealthy Greenwich Village homeowners nearby should have the power to decide who has access to it.

On the other side, residents claim the park has become a site of increased drug use and violence, leaving them scared to walk around the area and left grappling with the noise later into the night.

The NYPD had imposed a 10pm weekend curfew on the park two weeks ago following complaints from residents.

This sparked clashes between police and the partygoers that night, with 23 people arrested and eight cops injured in a night of unrest on June 5.

Locals have told how the park changes after dark, from a calm, relaxing atmosphere during the day to chaos when the sun goes down

 

 

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