Bill de Blasio shrugs off concerns over Washington Square Park mayhem

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When it comes to Washington Square Park, he’s Mayor de “Blasé.”

Hizzoner sent a nothing-to-see-here message to New Yorkers on Monday, as he shrugged off concerns about the mayhem and violence overrunning that Greenwich Village greenspace in recent weeks.

“We’ve had some particular issues for a limited period of time in Washington Square Park, and there’s been an effort to figure out the right approach,” de Blasio downplayed during a news briefing at City Hall.

The park’s descent into lawlessness has drawn a rash of complaints from neighbors — and prompted city officials to impose a 10 p.m. weekend curfew two weeks ago.

But the park’s regular midnight closing time was reinstated this weekend — and the green space once again devolved into a chaotic free-for-all.

“I really think that what the Parks Department and NYPD are trying to do is reset the balance properly,” de Blasio said on Monday. “They’re experimenting with different approaches to get it right.”

Washington Square Park reverted to its original midnight closing time weeks after NYPD placed a curfew on the park.
Washington Square Park reverted to its original midnight closing time weeks after NYPD placed a curfew on the park.
REUTERS

Hizzoner also rejected claims that the city Parks Department didn’t feel safe enforcing the midnight closing time without NYPD backup.

“We’ve seen historically that closing times are implemented pretty smoothly all over the city, Parks Department, and if sometimes they need some NYPD help, that’s fine,” he told reporters.

His statements came after at least 200 people were allowed to remain inside the green space past midnight Sunday into Monday, dancing, drinking and swimming in the iconic fountain.

Cops also appeared to turn a blind eye to a group of men doing loops around the park on loud motorcycles after 12:30 p.m. on Monday morning.

Motorcyclists are seen riding around Washington Square Park after the midnight curfew.
Motorcyclists are seen riding around Washington Square Park after the midnight curfew.
William Miller

One man was arrested about a block away from the park just before 9 p.m. Sunday for allegedly vandalizing eight vehicles in the area with white spray paint.

No arrests were made Saturday night into Sunday, when mayhem once again erupted, with a man dressed as “The Joker” assaulting another in the wee hours of Sunday.

Despite the trouble de Blasio has nothing by a rosy view of the park.

“And we’ve had a number of nights where things went pretty smoothly. We had a few nights where they didn’t, but it’s going to, I think, lead to a natural outcome here,” he continued.

“We’re going to keep working on it, led by Parks Department, determine the right closing time, and I think we’ll get into a pattern that works pretty soon.”

De Blasio believes that some nights at Washington Square Park went smoothly amid the chaos.
De Blasio believes that some nights at Washington Square Park went smoothly amid the chaos.
William Miller

While de Blasio was looking at the bright side of the park situation, neighbors have complained about the bedlam spilling out onto neighboring streets.

Some on Monday scoffed at the mayor’s idea that the situation would resolve itself.

“Not everyone has the luxury of living in Gracie Mansion,” an area resident who gave her name as Caroline C., 37, told The Post.

“I don’t foresee the nightly mayhem in the park going away naturally,” she said, “I just see a continuation of sleepless nights for me.”

Patricia Spadvech, 82, said that, “Problems tend not to solve themselves naturally and you have to do something about them — especially when you’re the mayor of New York.”

“The buck stops with de Blasio,” said Spadvech, who has lived in the neighborhood for 30 years. “Problems like a sore throat will go away, but not the frat-like behavior in the park.” 

Additional reporting by Tina Moore

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