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Vendor Rules In Effect Around Parks

Vendors at Central Park South in New York CityWe are all familiar with sidewalks crowded with  “artist” vendors–those offering everything from  water color paintings of the skyline, refrigerator magnets,  to Justin Bieber photos. A bit of relief is at hand.  In May, a Manhattan appellate court lifted a stay on enforcement of new park rules which provide for as many as 145 designated spots for vending of “expressive matter” at four of our most iconic parks– Union Square Park (18 and 40 on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday), Battery Park (9), High Line Park (5) and portions of Central Park (68).  The court found that the rules did not violate the vendors’ state constitutional rights. In light of MAS’s continued efforts to promote and maintain art for the public’s enjoyment and our tireless defense of the City’s open spaces, we  submitted testimony supporting these regulations in April 2010.   At the time, we said that, “It is essential to the livability of our City that its parks provide a safe and meaningful escape from the miasma of urban life.”  We testified that the regulations were “the City’s attempt to balance the sale of art in and around its famed parkland and the safe enjoyment of those parks by the millions of City residents and tourists who visit them every year.” Congested sidewalks around parks make them less inviting and detract from the sense of peace that our parks are meant to provide.  We believe that limiting the numbers and locations of the vendors will serve both the pedestrians and sellers alike. The rules went into effect in July 2010 for a month until a temporary restraining order blocked their enforcement.  This ruling allows the city to enforce those rules. The designated locations are open to vendors on a first-come, first-served basis.
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