Parks Department Regulates “Expressive Matter”: The Lederman Law?

High Line image by

Carol Rinzler, our contact at 250+ Friends of NYC Parks, brings to our attention new Parks & Recreation Department rules that would impose time and place restrictions on artists who wish to display their work — “expressive matter” —  “in or on any property under the jurisdiction of the Department.”

The rules support the 30-year-old private-public partnership deal the City made with the Central Park Conservancy, and subsequently with similar groups, to give them substantial control over revenue production (vending) in major parks. Such control enables them to raise funds to maintain those parks. Artists have skirted any restrictions by asserting their First Amendment rights. The proposed rules would impose limits on this.

Some of the language in the rules suggests that they are aimed specifically at Robert Lederman, an artist whose repeated attempts to display his work on the High Line Esplanade in Chelsea were met with arrest.

More on this and the message we received from 250+ Friends of NYC Parks can be found after the break. The proposed new rules and a notice of the  required April 23rd public hearing can be found here.

Update: NY1 covered this story on March 27. Here‘s the link.

Under the new rules, Robert Lederman and any other artist who accepts donations would be defined as a “vendor.”

The rules — particularly the provision that would penalize all “expressive matter” “vendors” who can’t agree about which one has the right to display at an authorized location — is evocative of schoolyard discipline and likely to draw challenges from First Amendment advocacy groups.


New Rules, New Maps
On Wednesday, March 24,
the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation
published in The City Record
a set of new rules
for some vendors in some City parks.
 The rules are spelled out below,
along with a  notice of a hearing to come.
We appreciate the Department's alerting us
to this development,
and we look forward to your comments
-- pro and con, of course --
on these new rules.
Carol Schachter     Carol Rinzler      Carol Greitzer     Patricia Dolan
Gary Papush                             Jo Anne Simon

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