July 19, 2010. An artist's depiction of Mayor Michael Bloomberg stomping on rights protected under the the Constitution. (photo: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on image to enlarge.
The justice, Milton A. Tingling, denied the city’s request to drop a temporary restraining order that had been granted to the artists that prevented the parks and the city from enforcing the rules pending a hearing on a suit filed by the artists. A date for that hearing is supposed to be set on Tuesday.
The rules, imposed by the city in July, limit vendors in the public spaces to a set number of spots marked off with medallions that say “Expressive Matter Vendor.” Opponents of the rules saythey create an unconstitutional restraint on artists’ free speech. The medallions are also awarded first come first served, which puts older or physically challenged artists at a disadvantage, lawyers for the artists said.
The latest ruling means that street vendors can keep selling their wares in and around Central Park, Battery Park, Union Square Park and the High Line without fear of repercussion until further notice.