Community Board 2 Might Ban Loud Music In Washington Square Park

May 29, 2015 | Liam Mathews

Music has been part of the fabric of Washington Square Park since even before Bob Dylan times. But some worry that the park’s folksy heritage is being drowned out by loud drums and trumpets and even amplified music. Community Board 2 is considering tamping down on musical expression, perhaps by banning certain instruments, limiting hours music can be played, and/or implementing “quiet zones” in the park, the Villager reports. CB2 will discuss the issue further at its next meeting on June 3.

One of the complaints about the park’s music is that bucket drums and the like drown out the folk music that the park is historically known for. Another is board members’ belief that louder acts are “commercial,” or performing for cash donations, while folksingers are doing it for the love of the game, though this is not necessarily true (for example, the folk group pictured in the Villager’s story is selling CDs). Opponents of limitations argue that regulations on music would suppress free expression.

A few years ago, the Parks Department tried to limit busking and selling art in Washington Square Park, but caved to opposition from community members.

(Photo: Roey Ahram)