New York’s City’s Washington Square Park which has been the scene of a number of late night brawls and scuffles with police over last few weeks has now become host to fighting of a different kind – unlicensed boxing matches complete with a referee and time keeper.
The Manhattan park appeared more like Madison Square Garden as boxing matches took place in front of hundreds of people, all of which was all caught on camera.
At least five matches took place close to the famous arch in Greenwich Village with participants paying five dollars to take part.
At least five illegal boxing matches took place on Friday night with timekeepers and a referee
One contest appeared to last for six rounds as bloodthirsty spectators cheered on the fighters.
One fighter ended up dislocating his shoulder during the knockabout and had to have another man shove it back into its socket.
Photographer Angel Zayas said there was no supervision whatsoever, nor did the NYPD attempt to break up the bouts.
‘The NYPD did not enter the park to stop the fights there was a large crowd which created a circle making it very difficult for people to get in and even when there was an injury of the man’s shoulder being dislocated. No one was called to help nor an ambulance. They fixed it themselves and continued the fight,’ Zayas told DailyMail.com.
‘It got a little wild at one point but they kept it pretty much under control it’s just a matter of time before someone seriously gets hurt,’ he said.
Later, illegal fireworks were also set off dangerously close to the surrounding buildings.
A few arrests were made with one man taken into custody and charged with two counts of menacing for allegedly threatening two Parks Department employees with a wine bottle and a brick.
The gathered crowd appeared to cheer on the pugilists in the square
One man flexes his muscles before taking part in the illegal bout
Tayvon Turner, 28, from Brooklyn allegedly picked up a wine bottle and threatened a worker in the park who was a 50-year-old woman.
He then threatened to hit another worker, a 47-year-old woman, with a brick, although nobody was physically harmed.
The NYPD also said Turner was charged with vandalism after spraying graffiti in the park.
The boxing is the latest in a long-line of anti-social behavior that has been occurring in the park despite efforts to clear the area, usually by 10pm.
Throughout June, with Covid restrictions easing, Washington Square Park has been the site of rowdy all-night parties, stabbings and drug taking, to the fury of well-heeled local residents in Greenwich Village.
From Memorial Day weekend onwards, the usual midnight closure of the park was brought forward to 10pm, in a bid to end the loud late-night drinking and partying, and limit the antisocial antics, but the efforts have rarely succeeded.
The curfew saw violent confrontations with the police, and running battles in the streets of Greenwich Village as officers attempted to force people from the park.
Earlier in the week, an illegal rave continued for several nights with revelers blasting out music on thundering sound systems.
Residents have been continually plagued by moped riders and skateboarders in the area.
The fights had a makeshift quality about them with some wearing pants
Revellers had been gathering around thundering sound systems for consecutive nights of drinking and smoking marijuana despite a police order to close the park after people ran away from a man who was brandishing a knife and a taser last Friday night
Last Monday, Mayor Bill De Blasio downplayed the violence and chaos at Washington Square Park in recent weeks, telling reporters that he believes the situation will resolve itself ‘naturally.’
With bars and restaurants facing tight restrictions over the last year due to the pandemic, it transformed into a popular party destination.
Now, as the parties and reports of crime increase – and COVID-19 restrictions have lifted – residents and ravers are coming to blows.
On the one side, young revelers say the park is public property. They question why they cannot use the space to enjoy parties and why the wealthy Greenwich Village homeowners nearby should have the power to decide who has access to it.
On the other side, residents claim the park has become a site of increased drug use and violence, leaving them scared to walk around the area and left grappling with the noise later into the night.