Greenwich Village residents say parties in the park are getting out of hand and leaving the area trashed on weekends.
Police sources told CBS2’s Ali Bauman on Monday the weekend parties have been getting bigger and louder since about April. It could be a mix of the warmer weather with more people vaccinated and excited to go out. Residents say they’re used to the crowds, but are just asking people to be safe and respectful.
Hundreds of people danced in the street and jump on parked cars just outside Washington Square Park late Saturday night into Sunday morning.
“I got beer all over me and then we all ran,” one reveler said.
The evening began inside the park with an impromptu pool party that lasted past sunset, when witnesses said a fight broke out in the fountain.
Dozens of NYPD officers in riot gear and face shields began pushing people out to the surrounding streets around midnight, when the park officially closes.
Cops don’t usually kick people out after closing if everything is peaceful, but police sources said officers have been enforcing the closure more recently due to larger crowds and growing noise complaints.
“There’s a lot more people hanging out of all ages, backgrounds, and they’re very rowdy and don’t seem to respect other people’s concerns,” Greenwich Village resident Nina Grand said.
While parties in Washington Square Park are certainly not new, longtime residents said they’ve recently become much rowdier.
“Even in the worst days, people were a little more respectful of the park. I feel sorry for the people who are cleaning the park,” Greenwich Village resident Steve Blush said.
Videos from earlier this month show the morning-after mess left behind on weekends.
“This is not spring break. This is a beautiful public park that people work hard to maintain,” said Nina Kaufelt of the Washington Square Park Conservancy.
The Parks Department said its maintenance crew is working at full capacity and collaborating with the NYPD to address large gatherings on the weekends.
“We come on volunteer sessions for litter pickup and then the next morning the place is covered with trash again. So we’re just asking New Yorkers to be respectful, have a good time, and do the right thing. Clean up after yourself,” Kaufelt said.
Police did not make any arrests at the park on Saturday night.
Sources told CBS2 the NYPD has also recently added uniform patrols in the area, along with undercover narcotics operations inside the park.