Thursday, July 15, 2010

Art Attack - City Set For First Amendment Crackdown In Parks On Monday

The Bloomberg administration is now allowing Parks Department spokesperson Vickie Karp to give her opinions on the definition of art, as well as sanctioning her to dispense legal opinions to the media: 

“Mass-produced photographs, that’s not art in my opinion,” (The Courts have regularly disagreed.) Ms. Karp also suggested that artists selling in the parks are causing mothers to trip over art and are preventing them from being able to enter playgrounds.  Yet no example is given where this is occurring or has occurred. (Nor does Metro challenge her statement.)  

The city is limiting the number of vendors who line Union Square and other parks.

The city is attempting to dramatically reduce the number of first amendment vendors in Union Square and three other parks. (Photo: EMILY ANNE EPSTEIN/METRO)


For the past six years, Diane Dua has sold her photographs outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She estimates on a bright summer Sunday, there will be 80 other vendors out there with her, hawking their goods to passers-by.

But on Monday the city is slashing that number down to 16. The Parks Department says vendors clog popular parks, such as Central Park and Union Square. The dealers say Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to whitewash the Big Apple.

“They want to … turn this town into some antiseptic, homogenized bore,” fumed Dua. She and others have sued the city claiming their First Amendment rights are being violated.

But the Parks Department isn’t backing down — and even challenged what the vendors call “art.”

“Mass-produced photographs, that’s not art in my opinion,” said spokesperson Vickie Karp. “This is about sharing the park. If a mom can’t get her stroller to the playground because she’s tripping over someone selling 100 copies of Strawberry Fields, who protects her?”


Central Park: 8 at Columbus Circle, 5 on Central Park South, 10 by the Plaza Hotel, 13 along Wien Walk leading to the Central Park Zoo, 16 on the south side of the Met, 12 on the north side

Battery Park: 9

High Line: 5

Union Square: 18 vendors allowed per day; 40 additional vendors can be there Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday

Read More:

Art-Attack: City Set For Crackdown on Vendors

Cracking down on park art vendors

Metro NY - July 15, 2010 - By Carly Baldwin

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