NYC looking to combat notorious drug bazaar in Washington Square Park — by installing a food truck

Washington Square Park is going from bad – to wurst.

The city is looking to combat the park’s notorious outdoor drug bazaar by parking a food truck in the green space’s northwest corner and approving permits for activities in the narcotics-riddled area.

William Morrison, parks administrator for Washington Square Park, revealed the latest Hail Mary attempt to snuff out the persistent drug activity during the 6th Precinct Community Council meeting.

“There are ways to positively change your space and don’t rely on force,” he said, later adding that one way to change “use in certain areas of a park is adding a concession.”

metro, us news, addiction, drug, nypd, parks department, washington square park, nyc looking to combat notorious drug bazaar in washington square park — by installing a food truck
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The city plans to combat the park’s notorious outdoor drug bazaar by parking a food truck in the green space’s northwest corner. Artem Varnitsin – stock.adobe.com

Parks spokeswoman Kelsey Jean-Baptiste said the city put out an open call in March for a concession, such as a food truck, but declined to share how many applications the agency received or speculate a rough date for when it will award the contract.

Morrison, who also leads the Washington Square Park Conservancy, said he spread the word about the concession opportunity by reaching out to the Village Alliance BID and local businesses directly.

metro, us news, addiction, drug, nypd, parks department, washington square park, nyc looking to combat notorious drug bazaar in washington square park — by installing a food truck
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The plans to snuff out the illicit drug activity in the park’s northwest corner has involved green lighting activities in the corner. BLOOMBERG NEWS

Parks has also green-lit requests to use the northwest corner for drawing, games and an artist residency series, insisting the deluge of good vibes will clean up the depraved area.

“If you can get positive activity in that space, it does over the long haul replace negative activity,” Morrison said.

During the height of the pandemic, drug use and chaos surged in the landmarked park, with heroin and crack addicts overtaking the northwest corner. In February, cops busted drug dealers in the park peddling psychedelic mushrooms and crack cocaine — seven months after The Post reported on open-air narcotic sales there.

metro, us news, addiction, drug, nypd, parks department, washington square park, nyc looking to combat notorious drug bazaar in washington square park — by installing a food truck
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During the height of the pandemic, drug use and chaos surged in the landmarked park. Helayne Seidman

Capt. Jason Zeikel, commander of the 6th Precinct, praised Morrison’s food truck and programming proposal as a creative solution for the park’s ongoing drug problem, since prosecutors have little interest in locking people up over low-level narcotics offenses.

“I can go there and arrest the same person that has a used crack pipe, and they’re going to be out of prison the next day or within a couple hours,” Zeikel said at a recent community meeting.

“We are still arresting when we see the low-level drug offenses,” he continued. “The reality is it’s not going to resolve the problem; it doesn’t create permanency.”

Many Greenwich Village residents have little appetite for fighting the drug scourge with hot dogs.

The food-truck fix signals the city is waving a white flag for combatting public drug use, resident Alan Cohen sniffed.

“It’s really an acknowledgement that we are completely powerless,” Cohen, 75, said.

metro, us news, addiction, drug, nypd, parks department, washington square park, nyc looking to combat notorious drug bazaar in washington square park — by installing a food truck
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The park’s northwest corner has been plagued with crack and heroin use in recent years. Helayne Seidman

Village resident Brian Maloney, 60, called the idea “creative” but worried it’s just another game of Whac-A-Mole.

“It’s just going to move them to another part of the park where there are not food trucks,” he said.

“We don’t need food trucks to drive them away — we need those agencies to put money to fixing that area and those folks, helping them lead a better life.”

Psychotherapist Ruth Wyatt, 58, roasted the proposal as “a bad idea.”

“You need larger policing and social programming to get people off the street, to get them decent,” she said.

Despite ongoing concerns about the park’s de facto shooting gallery, major crimes in the 6th Precinct plunged 20% through May 19 compared to the same period for 2023, according to NYPD data.

Auto theft, however, has soared 42% and retail theft is up 10%.

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