The NYC Parks Department has clarified the rules that apply to those selling paintings, prints, or providing entertainment in exchange for a fee or donation.
Here are some of the Frequently Asked Questions according to the Parks Department Website:
In 2010, Parks established rules designed to balance the interests of vendors of expressive matter who wish to operate in City parks and visitors to parks. Rules provide expressive matter vendors with reasonable opportunities– through limited time, place, and manner restrictions – to vend in parks. In the parks most significantly impactedby expressive matter vendors (Union Square, Battery Park, High Line, and certain portions of Central Park), the rules
restrict expressive matter vending to specific locations. The expressive matter vendor rules are in line with Parks’ ongoing efforts to balance the many competing uses of our green spaces, which include quiet enjoyment, active recreation, cultural and community events, and opportunities to vend expressive matter. In 2012, Parks determined that it needed to clarify these rules. The clarification, which takes effect May 8, 2013 confirms Parks’ original intent: that the rules apply to vendors who sell or solicit donations in exchange for tangible items such as books, paintings, prints, photographs and sculptures, as well as to performers who provide entertainment, such as musical performances, dance, juggling, or other performance arts in exchange for a fee or donation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why did Parks need to clarify the rules?
Based on questions raised in litigation not involving Parks, the Agency in spring 2012 determined it was necessary to temporarily suspend enforcing the rules against performers and clarify that the rules apply to performers and entertainers. The clarification provides clearer information to both the general public and expressive matter vendors.
Q. Are the rules changing for vendors of paintings, prints, photography, reading materials, and sculpture?
No. The same rules will continue to apply to vendors of paintings, prints, photography, reading materials, and sculpture. The clarification simply confirms that Parks always intended that the rules apply to people providing entertainment in exchange for a fee or donation.
In the four parks with designated vending spots (Union Square, Battery Park, High Line, and certain portions of Central Park), performers, like all other expressive matter vendors, will need to sell or solicit donations from the designated spots, which are marked with Parks medallions on the ground.
Outside of the areas with designated vending spots, the rules primarily impact expressive matter vendors using a display table to sell their items. The rules restrict the size of display tables and their proximity to curbs, bus stops, park furniture, monuments, fountains, and public art installations. It is important to reiterate that these proximity restrictions, which include a prohibition on vending within fifty (50) feet of a monument or within five (5) feet of park furniture, ONLY apply to vendors using a display table to sell items. Because performers do not typically use display tables, the rules should not impact the majority of performers and buskers in parks without designated vending spots. There are general rules that apply to all vendors (including entertainers and performers) on Parks property. For example, no one is permitted to vend in playgrounds or pools. There are also general requirements for performances and events in parks that are expected to draw large
crowds. As always, Parks Enforcement Patrol officers in City parks will seek to explain the rules to vendors and the public and work to bring vendors into compliance.
Q. Who must follow these rules?
The rules apply to expressive matter vendors (anyone selling paintings, prints, photography, reading material, or sculpture whether original or mass-produced, or providing entertainment, such as musical performance, juggling, or dance, in exchange for a fee or donation) who operate in City parks. Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) Officers and New York Police Department (NYPD) Officers enforce the rules
The complete rules are available here on the Parks Department website.