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Inwood Hill Park's Dyckman Fields to Close Earlier as Safety Precaution

By Carla Zanoni | July 22, 2011 4:30pm
Dyckman Street near the Dyckman Marina and Fields
Dyckman Street near the Dyckman Marina and Fields
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Streetsblog/Brad Aaron

UPPER MANHATTAN — The Parks Department said it will soon be closing the Dyckman Fields portion of Inwood Hill Park three hours earlier, after receiving a request from the 34th Precinct.

The move is intended to help reduce quality of life and violent crimes in the area, according to Daniel Mercado, Northern Manhattan Parks Manager for the Parks Department.

A woman was recently sexually assaulted in the same area of the park, which many describe as desolate and say it attracts late night parties near the Hudson River.

“Anyone who would be there later than 10 would be up to no good,” Mercado told Community Board 12 at a meeting on Wednesday.

Mercado said the Parks Department is prepared to start shuttering the spot earlier by the end of the month, after posting new signage to warn parkgoers.

Police will enforce the new hours in the area and continue to cordon off westbound lane of traffic on Dyckman Street, which funnels into the park area and a parking lot nearby where many people tend to congregate at all hours of the night.

“We’re trying to get a handle on the situation,” Mercado said, stating that the department hopes to reduce late night activity, trash and crime in the area by reducing foot and car traffic.

After asking several questions regarding the logistics of enforcement and park rules, CB12 members did not voice opposition to the plan.

The 34th Precinct did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but the precinct has recently engaged in a crack down on crime and nuisance complaints throughout Washington Heights and Inwood, according to Deputy Inspector Jose Navarro.

George Espinal, president of the 34th Precinct Community Council, recently addressed issues regarding quality of life complaints at the western end of Dyckman Street at a community meeting with Dyckman Street residents.

He said police were already cracking down on late night parties that tend to gather in the parking lot and inside the park.

“They’re blasting music, drinking nutcrackers and throwing chicken wings on the floor,” Espinal said.  “You should see it the morning after.”