Yes, Washington Square Park can again be the jewel it once was

I was born and raised in Manhattan. I’m elevating my two kids right here, and I attended NYU earlier than graduating from Parsons. I do know the downtown space effectively. I additionally know Manhattan is a Democratic bastion. But as a longtime “downtowner,” I can say with certainty: There’s nothing that might flip anybody right into a Republican extra rapidly than taking a jaunt by way of Washington Square Park.

Go forward, do it — I dare you.

Washington Square Park scores a lethal trifecta: It’s harmful, soiled and a full-blown drug den. Once upon a time, it was a bucolic refuge and jewel — with a water fountain, three completely different playgrounds and verdant areas to picnic and congregate. It boasted an eclectic mixture of downtown personalities, NYU and Parsons college students, a piano participant, efficiency artists and poets. It was an ideal, electrical illustration of the spirited, dynamic, progressive downtown group.

Today, although, you see caregivers milling about avoiding the grassy knolls for worry of stepping on needles, discarded condoms and emptied plastic luggage with coke residue. Parents defend their kids’s eyes from strung-out junkies and the mentally unhinged stumbling round bare.

Washington Square drug den
Part of a syringe seen beneath a bench in Washington Square Park on May 30, 2021.
Dan Herrick for NY Post

The odor of weed and urine is pervasive and overpowering, as are fights amongst factions of menacing males as much as no good. This is a dramatic degradation of a treasured group useful resource, a hostile takeover, and there’s nothing compelling, cool or compassionate about it, for these in want of assist or these merely eager to take pleasure in the park.

Worst of all, individuals who give a rattling are vilified as a result of they dwell in the costly condos lining the park; these in cost appear hell-bent on punishing individuals who’ve earned an honest lifestyle. Focused on “social justice,” they appear to make rich ZIP codes “less white and less rich.” Their weapons: defunding police, legalizing weed and making historically protected and family-friendly neighborhoods wholly uninhabitable.

What’s notably galling is that New York University, one in every of the metropolis’s largest landowners, with 14.3 million sq. ft of area and 111 buildings, has abdicated its ethical obligation to maintain its college students protected. How can a college charging $53,308 a 12 months get away with what’s lurking in its yard: random assaults, free-flowing crack and heroin, out-of-control shootings, public fornication, discarded syringes?

What has occurred to Washington Square Park isn’t distinctive; it’s a trend seen throughout the entire city. And it’s a travesty the left owns, born from horrible coverage. Both NYU and the metropolis owe it to the group to wash up this horror present, not least as a result of there are a number of playgrounds inside the park.

The unhealthy information is that metropolis officers — and lots of of these seeking to exchange them this 12 months — don’t appear taken with fixing the issues. The City Council, for instance, is meant to be the test on the mayor; members OK the allocation of sources and monitor authorities companies, like the NYPD. Alas, lots of the present and wannabe council members are too busy “reimagining police” to care about making certain security in our parks and elsewhere. Some make even Mayor Bill de Blasio & Co. appear conservative.

Yet make no mistake: Plenty can be carried out to enhance Washington Square Park and different public locations — notably if somebody lights a hearth beneath the NYPD’s Narcotics Division and permits officers to observe by way of, unhampered, with proactive buy-and-bust campaigns and different efforts to comb out sellers and addicts.

Washington Square Park drug den
One City Council candidate goals to revive Washington Square Park as a spot for all New Yorkers to take pleasure in — not these turning it right into a drug den.
Getty Images

I consider this isn’t being carried out aggressively sufficient now as a result of loud voices — on social media, in liberal publications — have created a notion that the majority residents don’t need sellers and addicts arrested. Nothing can be farther from the reality: Just ask the folks dwelling subsequent to the park!

It’s very important for officers to assist police and stand as much as the radicals calling for reform. We additionally must do away with the metropolis’s recently passed chokehold law, which solely makes cops much less desperate to get entangled, notably in low-level crimes — and thus emboldens criminals. Cops who do get entangled have to leap by way of hoops to cuff somebody resisting arrest.

Proactive policing labored in the ’90s and all through the Bloomberg administration; it can work now, too — however provided that our elected officers let officers do their jobs and cease undermining the solely factor that can shield us: good, aggressive policing.

Jackie Toboroff is a Republican candidate for City Council in District 1.

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