WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Loud parties that sometimes last into the early morning have been leaving residents of the buildings that surround J. Hood Wright Park sleepless in recent weeks, even keeping them from enjoying the green space because of the ear-splitting sounds.
Locals said that during the past two weekends, groups of 75 to 100 people have gathered in the small park that stretches between 173rd and 175th Streets on Fort Washington Avenue without a permit, blasting music and staying past the park’s 11 p.m. curfew.
The rowdy gatherings come after an unauthorized party in Morningside Park left the green space trashed, as well as a push by elected officials to crack down on rowdy parties in nearby Riverside Park.
On at least two occasions on Saturday, police were called to J. Hood Wright Park after complaints from residents about the noise, including a visit from police more than two hours past the park's closing time.
While many locals said they don’t mind people using the park as a gathering place, they were bothered by the amplified music, which is against park rules.
“It’s every weekend, especially on Sundays,” said Manny Camacho, an employee at one of the residential buildings near the park. "They bring big speakers and they blast music the whole night. It just comes right into the buildings.”
Abra Bigham, 60, who has lived near the park since 2009, said the noise issues have been noticeably worse this summer.
“It’s really disturbing to the people who live here,” Bigham said. “When the music is so loud that even with the windows closed and the A/C on you can still hear it, that’s too much.”
Two weeks ago, residents said a Sunday night party with amplified music lasted until about 12:30 a.m.
And this past Saturday, police responded to calls about a birthday party that had amplified music, including a DJ. Officers arrived around 8 p.m and broke up the party, police sources said.
Officers were then called back to the park for a second noise complaint around 1:15 a.m. Sunday morning, police said. No arrests were made or summonses written during either incident.
Colin Young, 40, who has lived in the neighborhood for a year-and-a-half, said the music has been so overwhelming on weekends that he hasn’t been able to use the park.
“I tried going there to read last weekend, and I had to leave because the music was so loud,” he said. “I couldn’t enjoy the park because of it, which was annoying."
The Parks Department requires people to get a permit for any event with 20 or more attendees. In addition, amplified noise is only allowed by special permission from the police precinct.
The Parks Department said it had not issued any permit for a special event in the park last Saturday, and police sources added that no permit for amplified noise was requested or granted by the 33rd Precinct.
In addition, police said that permits for amplified noise are rarely issued for events in J. Hood Wright because of the size of the park and its proximity to residential buildings.
Police said they plan to keep a closer watch on the park this weekend — something residents hope will keep the noise down.
“It’s OK to use the park. The park is for the community,” Camacho said. “But the music has to be turned down.”