Washington Square Park: Organiser of ‘out of control’ raves says they have as much right to be there as residents

Neighbours have complained about hard drug use, crime and noise coming from Manhattan park

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
@graemekmassie
Sunday 20 June 2021 18:45
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<p>Partygoers in Washington Square Park run through the fountain drawing cheers from onlookers on June 18, 2021 in New York City</p>

Partygoers in Washington Square Park run through the fountain drawing cheers from onlookers on June 18, 2021 in New York City

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The organiser of the “out of control” Washington Square Park raves has said the partygoers have as much right to be there as local residents.

The park in Manhattan, with its iconic marble arch, has been swarmed for weeks with late-night revellers as pandemic restrictions in the city have eased.

Police have clashed with some partygoers amid complaints of hard drug abuse, crime and noise from residents surrounding the park.

And on Friday night a woman was left covered in blood after being trampled by a crowd trying to escape from a man armed with a knife and a taser weapon.

Now, party promoter David Ortiz says the crowds will not be forced to leave.

“We’re going to be here every single day. Just like the police are, we are too. Because this is as much our home as to the other residents that actually live here,” he told DailyMail.com.

“If you can’t accept the fact that I’m living within my First Amendment constitutional rights, which is the right to freedom of speech and to rally in a public place, then my friend you are living in the wrong country and democracy is not for you.”

Mr Ortiz, 28, added that it was just “one per cent” of the crowd who were misbehaving.

“It’s community policing. Say there is a stabbing here, we all keep each other accountable,” he said.

“That’s what leadership is. Taking each other into account, and understanding when to take control and when to divert, and how to go about a situation. And we have a number of those individuals here in the park.”

He accepted that he had not told community members about his party plans, but said that when he went to a community board meeting this week he was denied access.

“I’m not here to bring animosity. We’re here to have a good time with the community and to amplify their voices,” he added.

“And if some community members, the one percentile or the rich, can’t handle that then they need to go somewhere else and move.”

And he insisted that although he lives in Queens he has “been here every single day of my life in Manhattan”.

‘Probably longer than these two-bit residents that are living here now,” he said.

“I’m here every single day and all they do is pay property taxes here. What we do is we actually bring joy.”

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