Thursday, March 10, 2011

No one seemingly knows when Tompkins Square Park closes

When does Tompkins Square Park close? That's a question a reader asked after this experience Tuesday evening.

So tonight around 11:40 we're walking through Tompkins Square Park ... when we find the Ninth Street/Avenue A gate locked and the police telling us to go back.

We ask what's up and they tell us it's *always* been this way and the Park is closed before midnight. Continuing to practically ram us out the north-facing gate.


So, the reader decides to call 311 for more information.

They don't know the hours for the Park and send us to the Parks Department, who first claim it's "7 am till dusk" and then "7 am till 1 am," inviting us to get into some deep shit with the 9th Precinct to find out why they locked the Park up. Nobody is saying it's supposed to be closed before midnight, because nobody's an idiot.


Well, all you need to do is look at the official signs around the Park... like these two that EV Grieve correspondent Bobby Williams randomly photographed a little earlier this winter ...




Oh.

I've been run out of the Park myself at random hours. 11:10 p.m.! 11:45 p.m.! I've also found myself in the crazy TSP Game where the NYPD is closing one side... and you get to the other side only to discover the gates have been locked. And the officers there tell you to go back where you came. "But the other gates are also locked." Uh-oh! Now you've done it! Talking back to an officer!

Anyway, we all should have access to our public places ... Perhaps all involved officials may want to create consistent set hours before someone is arrested for walking through the Park at 11:40 trying to get home.

18 comments:

ShutUpHooker said...

Ummm lets see, go thru the park past 10pm and deal with the crusties, junkies, ghetto savages and the dangers they present or take an extra 3-4 minutes and walk around this park/dog toilet.
The choice is clear.

Stedman said...

I believe the "at dusk" sign refers to the children's play area.

I avoid walking in the park after dark for the obvious reasons.

esquared said...

it's supposed to be at midnight, but the nypd can and will close it before or a little after that, depends on how they feel, really -- it's pretty much arbitrary. been locked in twice last year (the officers opened the gates so that i, and others, can leave), both before and after midnight, and was asked to leave the park once this year at midnight.

but no, it was never liked that. i don't recall the park ever being closed, that's why i was surprised to find myself being locked in. and i see a lot more police presence nowadays at tsp, even during the days. i guess just part of bloomberg's plan to sanitize the park and cater to the gentrifiers.

Anonymous said...

this sounds like it will kick off again once the warmer season sets in Sounds like the police will be out on the row soon Forget your 40 oz in your bag now .....

Bob Arihood said...

We need another 1988 style riot to settle this issue .Back then they put up a 12 foot high fence around the park to be sure that no one even got into the park.

Well ,later they relented and let us all stay in the park till midnight .thats the way its been , at least till the park detail was ended . Now whoever is available whenever closes the park . Who knows what time .

Anonymous said...

Tompkins Sq park has a closing time? I can't count the number of times I've been here after 12am. Almost every time it snowed heavily this winter I went to the park at around 2/3am with friends to frolic and make snow angels. I didn't see any closed gates or policemen.

As far as I'm concerned, the park is open 24/7 and I'll continue to go there whenever I please.

Marty Wombacher said...

Leonard Cohen knows. http://twe.ly/fdgb

Anonymous said...

Do cops close other parks or does the parks department handle it?

chris flash said...

I'm with Bob Arihood and Anonymous:

Before the TSP Police Riot of August 6, 1988, the park was never closed. It was when a group of gentrifiers, with the collusion of members of "Community" Board Three and Captain McNamara of the "Fighting" Ninth Precinct, tried to impose an illegal midnight curfew in the park. (One of their people crudely painted "Park Closes At Midnight" at each entrance to the park.)

When kops were rebuffed in their attempt to illegally close the park on July 30, 1988, they spent the following six days building up their forces to prepare for a full scale military-style assault against the neighborhood. On the evening of August 6, 1988, the community fought back and kept them at bay all night. The resulting negative publicity of police violence led the Parks Dept into announcing that there would be no curfew in Tompkins Square Park.

After a subsequent riot jump-started by agents provocateur in 1991, the park was closed for "renovations" (The SHADOW discovered that the contracts had been signed many months earlier -- they needed a riot as an excuse to keep the park closed for an entire year in order to change the demographics in the park) and re-opened, with a new midnight curfew that has been inconsistently enforced by unenthusiastic police, who have much better things to do, like fighting REAL crime.

Curfew or no curfew, whether the gates are locked or not, to me, the park is ALWAYS open -- I too enjoy the park at any hour of the day or night that I desire.

WHOSE FUCKING PARK? OUR FUCKING PARK!!

Anonymous said...

Does that mean " POOCHIE" can't use the dog run .. But my co-op has no lawn ....

7th St. Denizen said...

It's closed according to the resources the police have that night. They start on the north side and work to the south, closing the 9th street gates first, then 8th, then the 7th street corners, last is the middle south.

This whole process takes minimum 20 minutes, to check the restrooms and courts and playgrounds, and walk or drive every path with 2 teams.

If there's not a lot of people out, like a cold Tuesday, and they're not busy, the cops will start earlier than 11:40.

If it's a full moon on a warm Saturday night and they're already busy, they may start at 12 or 12:30 and not finish until 1 or 1:30.

That's how it goes...

nygrump said...

Did The Shadow ever discover who the agents provacateurs were? Those contracts sound like smoking guns.

Jill said...

I'm kind of surprised at how many people don't know the history of the park, and 1988 isn't really that long ago, is it? 22 years, or am I now really just that old. I guess in 1988 I would have had no idea what had happened in 1966.

Are we building up to another riot over the opening of the park? Started by Mr. Grieve and his retinue? I would like to see how that would go down with the 2011demographic.

There was no internet, email, blogs, twitter, facebook, yet the entire neighborhood was there for the smackdown on Aug 6 88 that started when the cops literally pulled the plug on a concert.

Chris/Shadow - don't you have an entire issue devoted to this event?

Christopher J. Egan said...

Wow, Bring back MF and Mark "Mug A Yuppie"

Anonymous said...

"i guess just part of bloomberg's plan to sanitize the park and cater to the gentrifiers."

Wow. For the past 30 years, I've been wondering who's plan this is. Now I know.
Thanks.

esquared said...

@anon. 6:52 PM

wow, it isn't bloomberg? there's much more sanitizing now than during the giuliani era. enjoy your fro-yo and cupcakes, and since you like the area sanitized, make sure you dispose of those cupcake wrappers and fro-yo cups in the trash bins. thanks.

Jeremy said...

@esquared

Easy, dude.

Anonymous said...

will mr. Penley, and the Zippies once again show the New Age Yuppie's that this Park has a long Tale " OUR PARK YOUR PARK"