No unchained melody at night on Riverfront Green

Peekskill PD to begin enforcing overnight park closure


View looking north from Riverfront Green parking area. Beginning Monday the lot will be closed at 9 p.m. 

By Regina Clarkin

An obscure paragraph of the city code explaining that Peekskill parks are open from dawn to dusk has taken on a life of its own after tweets and posts by the City reminding residents what Article II #416-2 says. 

When the city tweeted an announcement that Riverfront Green patrons needed to know that Article II #416-2 would be enforced with a chain and lock beginning May 23, a furor arose on social media. 

‘This is a hilariously bad, borderline embarrassing decision,” wrote one person on Twitter.  Another wanted to know what made this area so much different than the other sections of the park. 

“There has been illicit activity in the park after hours that has caused vandalism and to curtail the activity we have decided to close off that area of the park,” Police Chief Leo Dylewski said. “There is no reason to park cars at night in the Riverfront Green,” he added. “We close Franklin and Lepore and other parks at night.” 

Franklin Park entrance that gets closed every night.

The chain will go across the entrance to the northern end of the parking area, by the pavilion, playground and restrooms. “If you find yourself on the wrong side of the chain you will have to call Peekskill Police at (914-737-8000) and ask for a police officer to come and unlock the gate. Warning this may take some time, so please make sure to be out before 9 p.m.” reads the announcement the city posted.  

The paragraphs of the city code referenced include: 

Parks Closed at Dusk All parks in the City of Peekskill shall be closed at dusk each day and shall reopen at dawn of the next day. Use or occupancy of any park between dusk and dawn of the next day is prohibited except for events which are either sponsored or specifically permitted by the City of Peekskill


Parking No owner or driver shall cause or permit his vehicle to stand in areas designated as “No Parking” areas. Parking is prohibited in each park at all times during which such park is closed pursuant to the regulations promulgated by the City Manager in accordance with § 416-23 of this chapter.

There have been reports of people hanging out, loud car music and cannabis smoking around the pavilion area (all forms of smoking became prohibited in Peekskill parks under a new statute passed by the Common Council in November, 2021). According to Chief Dylewski, the new closure policy is an attempt to deal with this issue. 

Riverfront Pavilion

“It shouldn’t be against the law to enjoy the Riverfront or walk through Depew after dusk and the city should rethink this unfair policy. It’s safer to have law-abiding people in our parks instead of making it illegal to walk your dog at 5pm in the winter or hang out after enjoying the sunset,” said Conor Greene, co-founder of Peekskill Walks in a statement to the Herald.  

“Our parks are overwhelmingly safe, and this sounds like the result of outdated laws aimed at restricting public space to limit liability. Criminalizing being in the park instead of addressing any safety issues is bad policy and should be reconsidered.”