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This Lower East Side neighborhood is plagued by crowds, chaos

This Lower East Side neighborhood is plagued by crowds, chaos

It’s the Summer of Hell on the Lower East Side.

Revelers are taking it to the next level in the disorderly district known as Hell Square, where residents have long been tortured by the noise from jammed restaurants, bars and clubs.

Now the party has moved to the streets, complete with DJs, speakers and out-of-control crowds. There are open-air drug sales and use, brazen muggings, and cars roaming with bass-boosted speakers.

Late-night partying has also plagued Washington Square Park in recent weeks, many times descending into violence.

In Hell Square, which is bounded by East Houston, Allen, Delancey and Essex streets — and where the state has issued more than 100 liquor licenses — it is the local residents who feel like they’re being pummeled.

Some 400 people, mostly in their 20s and 30s, spilled into the corner of Ludlow and Stanton streets beginning about 3 a.m. on a recent Sunday, screaming, dancing on top of parked cars and jeering anyone who tried to drive down the block, The Post observed.

It was the second weekend in a row that chaos reigned. A week earlier, on June 12, the party was held in front of an Orchard Street bar, according to the Bowery Boogie blog.

NYPD officers confiscate a DJ’s equipment and issue a summons while dispersing a large party on Ludlow St. and Stanton St. in the Lower East Side on June 20, 2021.
NYPD officers confiscate a DJ’s equipment and issue a summons while dispersing a large party on the LES on June 20, 2021.
James Keivom
The city has received more than 1,000 noise complaints on Ludlow St. and Stanton St. this past June.
The city received more than 1,000 noise complaints on Ludlow and Stanton streets this past June.
James Keivom

In the early morning hours of June 20, Naveh Halperin, who bills himself as the “Subway DJ,” blasted tunes from a set of speakers on wheels — and collected cash in a tip jar.

An NYPD squad car rolled through about 4 a.m. but did not stop. About 15 officers arrived a few minutes later, and at 4:20 a.m. told the crowd on a loudspeaker to “Disperse at this time,” although few did.

Cops did not pull the plug on the music until 4:30 a.m., when they moved toward the DJ as revelers yelled “F–k the police.”

The NYPD confiscated the DJ’s speakers and gave him a summons for unreasonable noise.

An NYPD officer investigates the scene of an assault robbery on Orchard St in the Lower East Side on June 20, 2021.
An NYPD officer investigates the scene of an assault robbery on Orchard Street on the Lower East Side on June 20, 2021.
James Keivom
New Yorkers pack The Hair of the Dog bar on Orchard St. in the Lower East Side on June 20, 2021.
New Yorkers pack The Hair of the Dog bar on Orchard Street on June 20, 2021.
James Keivom

Patrick Walsh, who has lived in the neighborhood for 21 years, was jolted awake by the racket. Although he lives four stories above street, he said it was as if the party was in his apartment.

“It’s like a breakdown of civilization,” said Walsh, 62, a teacher. “Nothing seems to be done. This needs to be looked upon, I believe, as an assault — a physical assault upon our person.”

Walsh said some of the carousers have tried to get a pass by telling him, “Well, we didn’t have a summer last year.”

“They have actually said this to me. As if they alone suffered the consequences of COVID,” he said.

It took until 4:30 am for NYPD officers to confiscate a DJ’s equipment and shut down a rowdy party on Ludlow St. and Stanton St. on the Lower East Side on June 20, 2021.
It took until 4:30 a.m. for NYPD officers to confiscate a DJ’s equipment and shut down a rowdy LES party last weekend.
James Keivom
Dozens line up to enter bars and clubs on Orchard St. in the Lower East Side on June 20, 2021.
Dozens line up to enter bars and clubs on Orchard Street on the Lower East Side on June 20, 2021.
James Keivom

Another longtime resident said she and her husband are afraid to leave the house because of aggressive, drunk bar and restaurant patrons. She said she called 311 multiple times on June 20 with no response, and when police did come, they did not act quickly to break up the mob.

“It seemed like they were allowed to party until dawn and then the police would shut it down,” she said. “It’s incomprehensible to me.”

The city’s 311 system logged 1,027 complaints about sidewalk and street noise in the ZIP code that includes Hell Square from Jan. 1 through June 22.

Approximately 400 party goers dance on Ludlow St. and Stanton St. in the Lower East Side on June 20, 2021.
Approximately 400 partygoers dance on Ludlow and Stanton streets in “Hell Square” last month.
James Keivom
An NYPD officer speaks to a man who was attacked and robbed on Orchard St. in the Lower East Side on June 20, 2021.
An NYPD officer speaks to a man who was attacked and robbed on Orchard Street last month.
James Keivom

Crime in the 7th Precinct, which includes Hell Square, has surged this year, with eight rapes through June 27, compared to four during the same period in 2020, NYPD stats show. Assaults have soared year-to-date to 85 from 61, a 39 percent rise, and petty larcenies are up 50 percent, to 563 from 375.

A dozen hate crimes have been reported to police thus far, up from four during the same time in 2020.

Violence erupted June 20 with a 25-year-old man telling the NYPD he got into a fight while waiting for an Uber about 2:50 a.m. on Orchard Street. He said he was kicked and punched, and his watch and iPhone were stolen.

A drunk man dances on top of a garbage can on the corner of Ludlow St. and Stanton St. in the Lower East Side on June 20, 2021.
A drunk man dances on top of a garbage can on a LES corner last weekend.
James Keivom
Two people dance on top of parked cars on Ludlow St. and Stanton St. in the Lower East Side on June 20, 2021.
LES residents are getting fed up with the goings on in “Hell Square” on the Lower East Side.
James Keivom

One witness heard the man screaming that his wallet and watch were taken and saw him fighting with the alleged thief.

“As he was fighting, three more of them came and started punching him in the face,” the witness said.

The assailants fled, leaving the victim with a bloodied face and torn pants. No arrests have been made, the NYPD said.

Elsewhere on Orchard Street, dealers were selling drugs asking passersby “Coke? Weed?”

Diem Boyd, the head of the L.E.S. Dwellers community group, appealed for help in a letter sent last month to the governor, mayor and other officials.

“The post-Covid world has produced a new variation of Hell,” Boyd wrote. “Hundreds of transients and transplants without a scintilla of decency pour out of the bars, clubs, and outdoor party sheds, lured by a roving street DJ, mob our streets to what is akin to an illegal occupation.”

Boyd told The Post she had not received a reply.

The NYPD said it planned to have extra officers out to address any large groups or unreasonable noise.

About the author

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James Partridge

James has worked in various news organizations and now aims to make Stock Market Pioneer one of the best and fastest growing news websites in the U.S. He contributes to the US and World sections.

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