Barricades in Carl Schurz Park Finally Come Down 19 Months after Protests Began

Barricades blocking grass near Gracie Mansion finally moved/Council Member Julie Menin's Office, Upper East Site
Barricades blocking grass near Gracie Mansion finally moved/Council Member Julie Menin's Office, Upper East Site

MANHATTAN – Pet owners who take their dogs to Carl Schurz Park were among the first to notice a big change around the lawns next to Gracie Mansion— the long-standing metal barricades installed by the NYPD that kept park-goers and pets alike off the green space are finally gone. 

Barricades blocking lawn in Carl Schurz Park near Gracie Mansion finally moved/Upper East Site
Barricades blocking lawn in Carl Schurz Park near Gracie Mansion finally moved/Upper East Site

“I did a double take when I first came up and I saw this,” one dog walker told Upper East Site on Wednesday.

“It’s been up forever,” they added.

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The barricades, which went up in the park and along East End Avenue during the summer of 2020— as social justice protests exploded across the city— to help officers control the different crowds of demonstrators that would gather outside the Mayor’s mansion during those months.

Lawn in Carl Schurz Park barricaded during July 10, 2021 protest/Upper East Site
Lawn in Carl Schurz Park barricaded during July 10, 2021 protest/Upper East Site

Fast forward nearly two years, and the barricades had become little more than an obstruction and made neighbors feel as if the area was on ‘constant lockdown,’ says Council Member Julie Menin, who met with leadership with the NYPD’s 19th Precinct— serving the Upper East Side— last Friday to ask they finally be taken down. 

Council Member Julie Menin meets with NYPD leadership about excessive barricades/Council Member Menin's Office
Council Member Julie Menin meets with NYPD leadership about excessive barricades/Council Member Menin’s Office

“Removing some of these barricades from the East End and changing storage spaces will allow the community to reclaim some of this public space and improve quality of life for all,” Council Member Julie Menin said.

Barricades finally moved from sidewalk and stored elsewhere/Council Member Julie Menin's Office, Upper East Site
Barricades finally moved from sidewalk and stored elsewhere/Council Member Julie Menin’s Office, Upper East Site

Walking through Carl Schurz Park on Wednesday afternoon, Upper East Site found all the barricades that had surrounded the large patch of grass next to Gracie Mansion had been relocated and stored along side property’s fence.

Barricades now stored along side Gracie Mansion fence/Upper East Site
Barricades now stored along side Gracie Mansion fence/Upper East Site

The move was immediately a hit with dog owners and dog walkers, thankful they don’t have to compete for space for their pups to play. 

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“It’s a hit because this is our backyard, our job,” another professional dog walker told Upper East Site.

Barricades now stored along side Gracie Mansion fence/Upper East Site
Barricades now stored along side Gracie Mansion fence/Upper East Site

Some barricades will remain up near Gracie Mansion, still in use by the NYPD, while others will be deployed for crowd control at demonstrations as-needed.

“I am thrilled to have worked with NYPD officials to deliver this win for the neighborhood,” Menin added. 

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