Two of the leading candidates to succeed Mayor Bill de Blasio slammed Hizzoner’s hands-off approach to the open substance abuse and violence holding Washington Square Park hostage.
“I don’t believe this is going to work itself out,” said Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president and a former NYPD captain, pushing back on the c’est-la-vie view de Blasio took Monday of the “troubling” conditions in the park.
“I think we need to work it out,” Adams said Tuesday.
Speaking separately, businessman-turned-pol Andrew Yang said the Greenwich Village park needs “appropriate levels of policing” to respond to the chaos that has taken over.
However, Kathryn Garcia, a former key cog of the de Blasio administration also running to succeed her former boss, ignored a question about the situation in the park on Tuesday.
Adams and Yang weighed in one day after the lame-duck de Blasio said he believed the disorder in Washington Square Park would resolve itself.
“We’ve had a number of nights where things went pretty smoothly,” he said Monday. “We had a few nights where they didn’t, but it’s going to, I think, lead to a natural outcome here.”
Adams — who has suggested that he’s surprised if not exactly disappointed that de Blasio hasn’t endorsed him — panned the leave-it-be approach on Tuesday.
“I believe we have an obligation to the families that would like to use the park,” said Adams during a campaign stop in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park. “Not only around the park. People come from all over the city to come and go to that park.
“That was like my cheap date!” he cracked of the world-famous space. “I could go see [a] juggler, I could go see a musician, I could go see someone singing. That is where we go. Parks are so important. It’s the great equalizer.”
Adams said the city’s parks are not only beacons drawing tourists to the city, but retreats for hard-working New Yorkers — and that they must be preserved as such.
“Our parks can’t be drug dens. You can’t have people openly injecting themselves with drugs in our parks. You can’t have open defecation and urination,” he said. “Our parks must be safe places.”
“We don’t have the money to fly abroad to an exotic island. We can’t go to Martha’s Vineyard. This is our Martha’s Vineyard.”
Adams said he would undertake a two-week blitz to identify and address the most outstanding issues in Washington Square Park.
“I would take the next two weeks to go inside Washington Square Park and bring in service providers, and identify the locations that are problematic and send a clear, loud message that what I stand [for] is for our parks,” he said. “I go to Washington Square Park often when I ride my bike and what I’m seeing is troubling.
“What is going on now can’t continue to take place.”
Yang, speaking at the Kew Gardens-Union Turnpike subway station in Queens, said safety needs to be the city’s top priority.
“We have to make sure that New Yorkers are safe in every environment and that’s particularly true in a public park where there have been incidents, so there should be appropriate levels of policing,” he said. “Resources [should be] assigned to a place like Washington Square Park to make sure that people feel safe at any time of day while walking through that park.”
In response to complaints from locals about rampant drug use, crime and all-night parties, the NYPD late last month instituted a 10 p.m. curfew for the park on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
But the curfew was largely ignored, and tensions culminated in a violent clash between parkgoers and cops clad in riot gear before the curfew was ultimately repealed.
Metro | New York Post