Monday, December 20, 2010

City Blocked Again From Enforcing New Artist Vending Rules In Parks

Photographer, and plaintiff Diane Dua (in blue) helping customers along E. 80th Street & Fifth Ave. - October 2010. "The new TRO renewed my belief in the justice system as a New Yorker and that the Constitution will be upheld," Mrs. Dua told A Walk In The Park. "We're waiting for justice." (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.


A day after a State Supreme Court Justice lifted a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the City issued on August 25, 2010, and denied plaintiffs a preliminary injunction, an appellate court justice issued a new order against the City.

The day after State Court Justice Milton A. Tingling's decision, the artists’ lawyers, Phillips Nizer LLP, appealed that decision, and filed an emergency motion to prevent the City from enforcing the new rules until the appeal is decided. Late Thursday evening, December 16, 2010, Justice Peter Tom of the Appellate Division, heard arguments from Phillips Nizer and the City’s lawyers, and then issued an Order granting the artists’ interim relief. As a result, the artists maintain their right to display and sell their original artwork in and around the City’s parks throughout the holiday season and beyond, according to Phillips Nizer.

The lawsuit contends that the new rules created by the Bloomberg administration severely limit the rights of visual artists to display and sell their works in parks. The defendants, the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, seek to limit and restrict vending in four Manhattan parks - Central, Union Square, Battery and the High Line and along sidewalks adjacent to them. The artists contend the new rules infringe on their rights to free speech and equal protection under the New York State Constitution, violate New York State and New York City human rights laws, and contradict New York City Local Laws and the Administrative Code.

Over the last two decades the City has allocated thousands of city employee hours and paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in civil rights settlements to plantiffis in its fight against artists selling on park land.

Two other lawsuits in Federal court are also currently pending on this issue.

The Parks Department declined a request for comment.

The city's attorney Gabriel Taussig, chief of the administrative law division, told the Wall Street Journal that the rules were initiated because of "a combination of congestion and aesthetic concerns." - Geoffrey Croft

October 3, 2010 - E. 80th Street and Fifth Ave. Original photographs by artist and plaintiff Diane Dua.

July 19, 2010. An artist's depiction of Mayor Michael Bloomberg stomping on rights protected under the the Constitution. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on image to enlarge.

Read More:

Phillips Nizer LLP persuades appeals court to enjoin enforcement of new rules
Phillips Nizer LLP - Press release - December 17, 2010

The Wall Street Journal - December 18, 2001 - By Pia Cottan

December 17, 2010 - By Peter Walsh

A Walk In The Park - September 2, 2010

A Walk In The Park - August 30, 2010

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