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MAS Supports New Efforts To Decongest City’s Parks

street vendors at central park

Photo: Central Park along Fifth Avenue by the N, R, W subway station.

The City’s Parks Department will hold an April 23 public hearing on a proposal to regulate the sale of “materials or objects with expressive content” — such as books, paintings, photographs and sculptures — in the City’s parks.

The proposed rule will designate the number of specific locations where vendors of expressive material may sell their goods in four Manhattan parks: Battery Park, Union Square Park, the High Line Park, and heavily trafficked areas on Central Park. Vendors would not be restricted in less congested areas of Central Park. The rule also regulates vendors of expressive matter in other parks.

MAS testified in favor of the measures, which should improve pedestrian flow and overall enjoyment of the parks, at this morning’s hearing. To read our testimony in full, click here. “Since its founding, MAS has been both an advocate for the arts and for limited commercial activity in our parks,” said President Vin Cipolla. “We are extremely sensitive to the needs of entrepreneurial artists who need to make a living, but we also want to make sure the needs of the greater public are considered.”

“The Parks Department has found a reasonable solution to the problem of vendors interfering with the public’s use of City parkland. While it’s important to recognize the right to sell expressive matter it’s equally important that the City protect the public interest in maintaining safe, beautiful parks,” he continued.