Saturday, October 2, 2010

Regina Myer & Co Try To Illegally Prevent Artists From Vending In Park

"Fortunately, the Park Enforcement Patrol withstood the pressure to comply with the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation's very own First Amendment-less laws." 

Regina Myer (RM) - This park is a city-state entity, um, that– owned by the city right now, that has laws against that, for, that prohibit vending.  Unless it's permitted.  

E.K. Buckley (EKB): But we have a permit.

RM No you, you, but it has to be a permit that WE granted.

EKB: Is this a privately run park system of laws that you're imposing over the Constitution?

RM I, I won't answer that I, I am not a lawyer.

 - Exchange between  Regina Myer, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, and Artist E.K. Buckley- September 25, 2010 


Public/Private Park Accountability? (L-R:) Jeffrey Sandgrund, director of Brooklyn Bridge Park operations, Regina Myerpresident of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, and artist E.K. Buckley. Ms. Myer explained that laws concerning the selling of expressive matter material - which are protected under the Constitution - do not apply in Brooklyn Bridge Park. In a video posted on YouTube, Ms. Myer can be heard explaining that they have a different set of rules that govern this city owned park which were adopted by its board of directors. (rules apparently adopted a few days earlier on September 22) She said artists selling in parks need to have a permit issued by the Development Corporation.

Mr. Sandgrund bizarrely claimed that because it is "state land" -  his boss Ms. Myer had only minutes earlier correctly identified it as being "owned by the city" - regular laws don't apply. After PEP refused to move the artists, Mr. Sandgrund claimed the officers working at the park did not "know the law." 

Mr. Sandgrund was formerly a park manager at Fort Greene Park and worked at McCarren Park and Pool. He was also director of park operations and external affairs for the Madison Square Park Conservancy where he can be seen shilling  - and in a much better mood -  in this video. On June 2, 2010, the Mayor's Office Of Film called him an Industry Star, and referred to him a "seasoned professional."  Is was unfortunate that professionalism was not present on this day on this matter.   

It would be helpful if humans overseeing $ 350 million dollar projects were even remotely familiar with such matters.  (Image: gothamist)


By Chris Johnson

Brooklyn artists E.K. Buckley and Sarah Valerie planned for weeks to sell their artwork during the DUMBO Arts Festival at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, according to an account in Law of Falling Bodies.

I went along to carry heavy things and help set up. We got to the new Brooklyn Bridge Park at 11:20 am September 25th and began to set up the display. Within minutes, we were confronted by Regina Myer, the president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, and Jeffrey Sandgrund, the Director of Park Operations. They told us that we were not allowed to set up in their park, and that we would not be allowed to sell artwork.

Buckley presented her certificate of authority to collect sales tax and explained her right to sell expressive matter in the park to Myer, thinking this would clear it up.  Myer was not interested, and told Buckley that her rights didn't apply in this particular park.  I started taking video.  Myer claimed that the private laws of the park (Myer said "our park") supersede the relevant city and state laws (go to :50 of the above video). 

Buckley asked if these private laws were imposed over Constitutional Law, at which time Myer stammered, refused to answer the question, and pointed out she's not a lawyer. The video above was shot from my phone. It's shaky at first because I was shaking - Myer and Sandgrund were belligerent.  The video gets steady in about a minute in.  We weren't expecting to be stopped from selling art in a public park.  It's legal and common.  We've shown artwork in lots of New York City parks and on the street, especially since Buckley (my wife) lost a lot of freelance work with the magazine crash.  This is a vital job for her and for us.

Not long after our rights to sell expressive matter on public property were put on hold by Myer and Sandgrund, a security team from Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) showed up to remove us.  Buckley explained her right to show in the park to the officers.  After a lengthy but polite discussion, they agreed street artists did not need a special permit and did indeed have the right to show in the park.  They told us that they would let the Director of Operations know why we could stay, and walked off.  But, Myer and Sandgrund didn't agree, and their word meant our rights were still on hold.

An artist display was eventually set up but only after the artist was harassed for hours by Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation employees. 

We were about half way set up when the park sergeant returned and asked us once again to stop while she called her office for clarification of the law.  We stopped.  After for a long time on hold, we were just getting word from the sergeant's supervisor.  The sergeant started to say something to Buckley when they were interrupted by Sandgrund, the Director of Park Operations (about 4:07 on the video).  

The sergeant walked off to talk to her supervisor and Sandgrund laid into Buckley.  He insisted that the law enforcement officers do not know the law, and that his interpretation of the law (which prohibits artists from selling expressive matter) is correct.  He interrupted and talked over Buckley consistently, and we felt like he was a little desperate to hustle us off the land before the real legal word came down.  When Buckley disagreed, preferring to wait for the officer's decision, and questioned Sandgrund's understanding of the law, he stormed off out of earshot right up to the sergeant.

Read More:

gothamist - October 1, 2010 - By  Jen Carlson

New York Daily News,  Daily Politics - October 1, 2010 -  By Celeste Katz &  Erin Durkin   

NYC artists fight for right to sell work in Brooklyn Bridge Park (video)  - October 2, 2010 - By Leslie Koch


  1. crazy, fire that director!

  2. This development corporation completely misrepresented the law!

    Artists have the right to sell expressive matter in the public parks of New York City:

    Parks should be for the people of our city, not rich corporate interests.