Nosy Neighbor: Why is City Hall Park continuously barricaded?

L. wrote back in June: “Was wondering if there’s been any update on City Hall Park – still continuously barricaded including this morning. I saw you wrote about it last year. Appreciate any update – very frustrating that it still isn’t open to the neighborhood.”

When he wrote, I had already asked the Parks Department what was up, having been thwarted at the park gates myself many times. I got especially annoyed when I tried on THREE occasions to see the Melvin Edwards show in the park. This is what I got from Parks:

NYPD opens and closes the gates around City Hall.

So I emailed DCPI, and this is what they said:

Please be referred to the NYC Parks Department.

So then I emailed them both together, and got this detail:

City Hall Park is open to the public, which is closed from midnight to 5:30 a.m. daily. Any change to the hours is done in collaboration with the Parks Department and factors that are taken into consideration may include public safety, complaints of loud noise, disorderly groups, or use of fireworks. Every effort is made to keep it opened. Closing times for city parks are posted on the city’s Parks Department website or posted publicly at the park.

So then I let it lie for a bit and sure enough, L. wrote yesterday to say the park was closed again for the evening, clearly a quiet Monday night with no fireworks, disorderly groups or any other threat to public safety.

I am not sure what to do from here, other than continue to stew…



  1. The NYPD will frequently close the park when they think a protest may be coming.

    • The park was not closed because of protests until last year’s occupy. I don’t see why they continue to close the park now that they’re long gone.

  2. The park was closed yesterday (Aug 16) due to an Anti-Vax protest at City Hall in the afternoon. However, I regularly also see it closed for no particular reason or when everything is calm. That protest was over by the late afternoon. There was no reason to have the park still closed in the evening when everyone had left.

    There is occasionally filming that takes place in the park, but many times things are completely peaceful and the gates are still closed.

  3. Also wonder why the 911 Memorial grounds are closed after 5 p.m. every night.

  4. My frustration is why the gas lamps don’t work! It is so incredibly beautiful and it has been years since I last saw them operating.

    • Yes! I wrote Bill de Blasio’s office about it a few years back, after I was approached by a creepy man in the park. They gave me some BS answer. Not only are the gaslights beautiful, but they provide lighting and thereby help make the park a little safer.

  5. . . . and why the fountains operate at different levels. There’s one of the big ones and at least one of the little lower ones on the outside that seem to be partially blocked. I was there when they first turned them on (way later in the year than usual BTW) and it was even worse, so why can’t they fix them the rest of the way? It’s so beautiful when it’s all working right

    • Let’s ask a broader question. Why has the entirety of City Hall Park fallen into such disrepair? The landscape and hardscape are an embarrassment.

      • Good question, and I would add that the steps of City Hall should be reopened to the public, as they always were before 9/11.

  6. We appreciate your eyewitness report albeit frustrating. Rather than stewing please join Friends of City Hall Park’s campaign to make the best possible neighborhood park and all New Yorkers historic city commons, including FCHP’s Wednesday Garden Group meeting 9AM at Warren St chess tables. Our excellent relations with NYPD 1st Pct Community Affairs, which is our communication conduit with the City Hall Intelligence Unit that oversees CHP interior including gates, lead to an overcoming of some of the inertia that takes place once the demonstration’s dangers are long gone. In addition, the metal barricades have been retreated to an agreed minimal security zone, understandable given all that happened last summer’s occupation and the January 6 armed insurrection of the Capitol.

    The inert gas lamps are one of the most expensive boondoggles, among many in City Hall Park that were installed under Rudy Giuliani’s micro-management… the gas lamps are thankfully always off; they are impractical (the flames are blown out by wind then leak gas into the air), expensive (it is cheaper to keep them on 24/7 rather than the labor expense of relighting), and poor modeling (burning non-renewable energy simply for spectacle during climate change’s arrival).

  7. Hey Skip. The lights aren’t for spectacle, they’re for safety so people can see where they’re walking at night since the tiles have been in terrible shape for years and also to look out for anybody looking to cause trouble. I worked across the street from the park in the late 1970s and when I left work at 5, the park was deserted because it was inhabited by drug dealers. This is just another city owned property that the mayor doesn’t care about. Sad.

    • The gas lamps are an expensive frivolous untenable impractical source of light. They should remain off. I agree that more light is needed. There are 14 electric path lights that do not work in City Hall Park including several near the fountain. Hopefully the next mayor will have a more competent DPR commissioner as well as the will to make parks the excellent essential service that we need and used to have. Please contact the Mayor and DPR with your support for Friends of City Hall Park’s campaign.

  8. Obviously the mayor does not care. His only agenda seems to be to lock us out of many places in nyc! Just add this to his list with all his mandates. It’s a disgrace We pay taxes for the upkeep of these parks. Where does our money go?
    wake up nyc, sadly, we have lost our freedom.