The Big Apple is seeking to stifle creativity and artistic expression by limiting and restricting “expressive matter” vending in Central Park, Union Square Park, Battery Park and the High Line. A law to this effect was passed in July 2010. Now, artists are suing to take back their streets and hot spots. There are two federal suits and one state suit pending against the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Actions brought by artists/street vendors allege that Parks Department rules, effective as of July 19, 2010 are violating their rights to free expression and equal protection under the New York State Constitution.
The rule reduced maximum number of vendors allowed in each spot: 49 in Central Park, 18 in Union Square, 9 in Battery Park, and 5 on the High Line. According to one of the suit, the artists contend the new rules violate New York State and New York City human rights laws, and contradict New York City Local Laws and the Administrative Code.