The NYC Parks Department has reviewed rules that apply to “expressive matter vendors.” “Expressive matter” is officially defined as materials or objects with expressive content, such as newspapers, books, or writings, or visual art such as paintings, prints, photography, sculpture, and now will include “entertainment.” A public hearing was held on April 2.
The Parks Department says this is being done to “clarify the Department’s original intent that individuals providing entertainment, such as musical performances, juggling, dance, or other performance arts in exchange for a fee or for a donation are considered vendors and that entertainment services and performances are considered expressive matter under the Department’s rules.”
Artists and opponents of the rule say this debate has come up before and is a violates their right to expression. They’re now subject to the applicable time, place and manner restrictions that apply to all other expressive matter vendors. There are designated spots for such vendors in 4 parks: Battery Park, the High Line, Union Square Park and sections of Central Park. Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) Officers and New York Police Department (NYPD) Officers will enforce the rules.
A spokesperson says the rule amendment was published in the City Record on April 8 and goes into effect on May 8.