In another troubling incident in Washington Square Park, on Sunday afternoon a “crusty traveler punk” harassed a senior in the park’s fountain.
Around 3 p.m., as several dozen people sat around the fountain watching two toddlers frolicking in the water, a crusty type entered the fountain with his dog and sat down. The dog proceeded to spread its legs and urinate into
Several people gasped but the only person to speak up was an elderly man who had been sitting nearby with a woman on the steps inside the fountain.
The senior told the crusty he should stop his dog from urinating and remove the pet from the fountain. The crusty punk yelled back at the senior, “It’s a dog, it’s an animal!” The senior said he didn’t care, just get it out of the water.
As the crusty verbally threatened the senior, yelling he would punch the old man out, the senior took his cell phone and said he was calling the police. The crusty said as soon as the older man was done calling, he would knock him out. Then the punk approached the senior and, screaming, shoved him and tore the old man’s sunglasses off, throwing the glasses into the water and stomping on them.
The crusty again verbally threatened the senior before leaving the fountain and walking over to join several other crusties on a nearby bench.
Several minutes later, two men who had been sitting on the bench with the crusty with the dog walked over to the fountain, sat just behind the senior and started verbally intimidating him by screaming, “Hey, I’m just sitting here.”
At this point the senior and his female companion chose to leave the fountain. As they walked east out of the park, the first crusty approached them, yelling at them again before walking away. Then the young crusties gathered back on the bench, laughing.
During this whole time there were no police officers or Park Enforcement Patrol officers visible in the area.
Fifteen minutes later, a PEP S.U.V. came into the park from the south entrance. The vehicle stopped by a group of musicians playing quiet jazz music. A PEP officer got out of the S.U.V., approached them and advised them that they could continue playing but had to turn off their small amplifiers. The officer was unaware of the earlier incident.
Deputy Inspector Brandon del Pozo said no complaint was filed with the Sixth Precinct about the incident with the crusty.
As for what the crusty did to the senior, del Pozo said, it could be classified as criminal mischief “or at least harassment,” a misdemeanor. Asked if it was an arrestable offense, he said, yes.
“If somebody was the victim of a crime in the park, we urge them to come forward,” he said.
Although some locals complain the crusties are “belligerent” and are ruining others’ park experience, del Pozo said, “The crusties — we can’t just kick them out of the park.” His officers patrol the park, he said, and will do enforcement against individuals “when they’re in violation of park rules or committing some crime.”
Rumors had falsely linked the crusties to an assault in the park the previous Sunday. In fact, that incident involved a dispute between two older, local homeless men. One struck the other, 44, over the eye with a metal pipe, drawing lots of blood, according to police.
On June 15, three crusties, using white paint, splattered graffiti — some of it obscene — on the front of St. Mark’s Church, at E. 10th St. and Second Ave., before fleeing. Police canvassed the area but didn’t find them. A group of crusties hangs out in front of the church in Abe Lebewohl Park.
Top: A crusty traveler punk enters the Washington Square fountain with his dog, which spreads its legs and urinates. Middle: After an elderly man tells the crusty to stop his pooch from peeing, the crusty screams at and verbally threatens the senior. Bottom: The crusty shoves the senior, rips his sunglasses off his face, then (not shown) throws them into the fountain and stomps on them, breaking them.