Are the bad old days really back to Tompkins Square Park? The Villager, reporting on “a group of tattooed, homeless young revelers who sip on drinks tucked in brown paper bags and often play music” (they call themselves Asylum), uncovers a sea change of sorts with regard to the city’s green spaces. That is, Washington Square Park is now considered “chiller,” a place where no one judges you, a place where the cops let you be, maybe are even your buddies, while in Tompkins Square Park, there are police crackdowns and hard drugs. Said one Washington Square Park regular, “I don’t go to Tompkins Square Park because there’s a f—ing bad vibe there. It’s Heroinville!”
Is it possible, then, that the crustypunks, reported inexplicably missing by the New York Times from Tompkins Square Park earlier this summer, have simply moved to another park — or throughout the rest of the city — due to the inhospitable nature of Tompkins?
Via The Villager,
Police officers make it extremely hard for the homeless to stay in Tompkins Square Park anyway. They tend to confiscate transients’ belongings as well as harass them incessantly, the transients say.
“You can’t even lie in the grass,” Russell said. “Just because we are homeless doesn’t mean we don’t have rights!”
And yet, people may have moved away from Tompkins because, simply, other people have moved away from Tompkins. After all, regardless of the cops, who wants to hang in a park when no one else is?
“If someone walks in and sees that no one is there, they are going to leave as well,” said Andrea Stella, executive director at The Space at Tompkins. “So that has been happening pretty consistently.”
So…who’s looking after Heroinville?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 12, 2011