A group of artists has won a temporary restraining order against the Department of Parks and Recreation, blocking the department from enforcing part of its new rules limiting where artists can sell their First Amendment-protected material in four Manhattan parks, according to The Villager.
Under the injunction, signed on Wednesday by State Supreme Court Justice Martin Schoenfeld, as of Thursday morning Aug. 26, the Parks Department will not be allowed to enforce the rules governing the designated locations and the first-come, first-served basis on which artists may vend “expressive matter.” The injunction will last at least until Monday morning Aug. 30 when Justice Schoenfeld will hear arguments and decide on the next step.
The most recent action was filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan earlier this month after “expressive matter” vendors failed in the first one in federal court to obtain a preliminary injunction against the new rules.
The state court lawsuit filed by Jon S. Brooks on behalf of Artists United is similar to the first one, which is still pending despite Federal Judge Richard Sullivan’s denial of a preliminary injunction.
The new action also seeks a temporary injunction, pending a permanent ban, against the new rules that went into effect July 19, contending they are unconstitutional and have resulted in discrimination against women, the elderly and handicapped artists.
According to the rules, the artists may only vend in a specific number of spaces marked by small medallions on the pavement at Union Square Park, Battery Park, High Line Park and parts of Central Park from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the East 80s down to Columbus Circle.
The spots are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. But the new suit says it is impossible to determine which artists came first to be entitled to a space.
“Expressive-matter vendors have been spending the night on the perimeter areas of the restricted parks…and have been faced with intimidating conflicts with other expressive-matter vendors over who arrived first at particular designated spots,” the suit says. Consequently, the new rules “have resulted in a ‘survival of the fittest’ system which has a discriminatory effect on women, the elderly and the physically infirm who are unable to fairly compete with others for the designated spots,” according to court papers.
Art vendors suit: Regs are unfair to women, elderly,