Another occupation going on at City Hall Park

I know I am not the only one ready to scream about the City Hall Park closure. It is exactly two months since the NYPD cleared out the Occupy folks; I cannot imagine a rationale at this point for keeping the neighborhood and the rest of the city from not only using the park but also the pedestrian thoroughfares through it and around it. This is yet another occupation and it is has now lasted twice as long as the first one. How is this ok?

(I am awaiting an official response from the NYPD but I am not hopeful.) (And for the record, it is the NYPD, not the Parks Department, that opens and closes the gates.) Here is the response from the NYPD — and I am not sure what situation they are referring to:

“There is no official end date to the removal of the barriers, but we are working with the Mayor’s Office and as the situation keeps improving, we will continue to ease restrictions. Access to the subways and elevator at City Hall Park has been restored for a few weeks now and there are barrier shoots from the sidewalks on Chambers Street and Park Row which lead to the elevator and stairs to the station. Pedestrians can always ask an officer for assistance as well.”

The photo above is today’s view of the Warren Street path to the 4/5/6. The photo below shows how the barriers are just hogging up half the sidewalk on Chambers, making the commute to the train even harder, especially if we really are meant to give each other room to pass.

And the Friends of City Hall Park — which has recently reactivated — is clearly stymied as well, meaning that any TLC the park was getting is also on hold.

“We remain locked out of our precious green space even as the lockdown relaxes,” said Skip Blumberg who manages the friends group. They are pushing for a meeting with the Parks Department, the NYPD and the mayor’s office — but that may be a long time coming.

In the meantime, the friends will continue to ask elected officials to not just open the park but restore staff and funding. And its Weekly Wednesday Weeding sessions continue at the Brooklyn Bridge entrance beds — email if you want to join in. And they are meeting this Friday at 9a as well to do some planting. Skip leaves us with a cheery little nugget: Turns out there is a patch of indigenous prickly pear cactus in the flower beds at the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge.



  1. For what it’s worth, the area with the fountain (at Park Place) is open. I walked through today around lunchtime. There were a few people sitting on the benches.

  2. We want the park open but need to be mindful we don’t want unwanted predator’s camping out and defecating in our park and around the area. It was finally cleaned up and would like it to stay this way. Its sad but if it opens the cops will not be able to control it .

  3. The Warren Street walkway has been closed since April, when the NYPD said that people hanging out at night were
    a problem, even though the park closes at midnight.
    It never reopened, inconveniencing everyone who needs to go to the Lex subway.
    In addition, they periodically close Chambers Street completely and keep the sidewalk narrowed so much that social distancing is impossible.

    • Agreed- Chambers Street path is so narrow it is unsafe. Both sidewalks have barricade along the whole stretch between Broadway & Lafayette, so you can’t cross the street for a block. And Elk Street is barricaded, so if you pick up a bike at City Hall, you can’t cut over to Reade Street, a cross street that has a bike path, forcing you to ride across Chambers for two blocks, or try to navigate intersection of Chambers & Lafayette to go north to hit Reade there- really dangerous with traffic exiting the Brooklyn Bridge!

      • That’s a sad local manifestation of a depressing fact … that the people we literally pay to protect us don’t really care about our lives.

  4. You got this exactly right, Pam. Thanks for keeping on the case.

  5. Further, West Broadway is closed from Canal to Lispenard. the East side of 6th Avenue, street and sidewalk, is closed from Canal to Lispenard. The entirety of Ericsson Place is closed from Varick to Hudson with lanes on Hudson narrowed. Why can the NYPD just do this?

  6. I got back after the summer and keep asking the cops when the Police State will be over. They are not amused, but c’mon. This is our only green space. And they won’t let dogs on grass on the Hudson. This is unbearable. I mean, we have so many horrible issues going on right now. Give us our parks!

    • Police state? Excuse me maam, like you just said you have been gone. I wasn’t and this place look like the classic movie “Escape from New York”. Because you can’t walk your dog to take a dump or urinate all over the place like those squatters?!?!!? Please keep it closed at least until the elections are over or it starts to get cold. We don’t ever want it to go back to Occupy City Hall EVER AGAIN!

      • I was here for that. They are gone and they won’t be back just like Occupy never came back, but in the meantime, WTH is happening to the Immigration Fed building? Are they building a wall? And FYI, the Mayor is NEVER at City Hall. Time to open the Park and see what happens. The people were not in City Hall. They were by the BK Bridge before they were removed.

  7. It’s replicated if you go further on Park Row and St. James. I get the police headquarters are there but are triple layers of barricades necessary (for…)? It makes it hard to navigate the sidewalks safely for pedestrians. On top of this these streets have turned into free parking for the police. Sad, how little regard there is for the communities they are presumably a part of.

  8. It is disappointing to not have full access to one of our green spaces, but if we think a bit longer term with eyes wide open, perhaps caution is called for at the moment. The barriers first and foremost protect City Hall. Like him or not, we cannot risk The Mayor’s Office getting overrun.
    The sustainability of our green space should be our priority, and under our current social and political climate, that is under constant threat. As much as we want to enjoy our space there are exponentially more people who would love to destroy it without giving it a second thought.
    NYPD is serving our community and protecting us, we need them.
    Relax, we are afforded so many green spaces in TriBeCa and dog runs, be thankful.

    • Green spaces are important. But in addition, the Warren Street walkway is how I get to the subway to go to work. And the narrow pedestrian space on Chambers is unsafe. It is too narrow for social distancing and I have seen a number of people trip and nearly fall on the legs of the barricades.