Friday, June 3, 2011

20 years later: An East Village riot and the closure of Tompkins Square Park

Paul DeRienzo presents the story of a riot on May 27, 1991 (Memorial Day) that was the pretext used by NYC officials to close Tompkins Square Park and evict a tent city of homeless people on June 3. The Park remained closed for the next 14 months...

DeRienzo created the following via his reports on WBAI radio (with images by Bob Arihood). He posted all these this week on the 20th anniversary of the events.









You can find more of his segments here. The Times has an article today on the anniversary here.

3 comments:

Ivan Robertson said...

Twenty years, goddamn...

Anonymous said...

Riot squad riot squad gonna call the riot squad.... shame the new intakes of the co-op's don't riot as starbucks is not closer

John M said...

Wow, long time already. And just before what I like to think of as a 'golden age' here...when things were a lot safer, there were bars and restaurants but not too many, and the neighborhood still had that 'scary' vibe that kept all these suburban kids uptown.

I still remember I was out of town that weekend visiting the folks, and heard the stories from neighbors about the goon squad beatings. Although, Grieve, saying this was the pretext used for closing the park is a little far-fetched, even if the city said that at the time. The park was a disaster, had got to the point of being a real health hazard and they should've done something many weeks before. Romanticizing that tent city isn't really a good idea. It sucked, and sucked badly. For 99.9% of area residents, I think the 'new' park has been a huge improvement, even though it's often seen as a symptom of the over-yuppification here. Everything is all of a piece, true, but a park full of used hypos, human piss and shit, and self-styled anarchists who reveled in, well, anarchic conditions wasn't actually a lot of fun.