Posts Tagged ‘homeless encampments in New York City’

The bad old days of Tompkins Square Park

December 12, 2009

In December 1986, the city unveiled plans for a massive renovation of Tompkins Square Park—new landscaping, new playgrounds, no more bandshell. The goal was to create more open space and make it a lot less sketchy.

Well, those plans didn’t go over well with community leaders, reported an article in that month’s East Village Eye

“Open space would break up the traditional uses for the park. As it is, all the people in the community have a little part they feel comfortable in,” one local told the paper.

“There’s the Ukrainian old men’s area, and the bandshell, used mostly by younger people. There are four different playground areas, divided more or less by age group. And there’s the part where older black men play cards. Tompkins Square is like a mirror held up to our community.”

Eventually the park did get its renovation in 1991-1992. But not without a fight, namely the riots in the late ’80s sparked by cops trying to clear encampments of homeless people—like “Dog Man” above.