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Parks FAQ Explained

Parks FAQ Explained

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Published by artistpres
What the performer FAQ really means
What the performer FAQ really means

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Published by: artistpres on May 08, 2013
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Parks FAQ (Falsely Answered Questions) Explained (5/8/13) by Robert Ledermanartistpres@gmail.comA lot of people are having a hard time deciphering the FAQ on performers that the ParksDepartment released late Tuesday. That’s no accident.First off, one needs to understand that the FAQ is NOT the park rules, nor is it the actualtext of any law. It is nothing more than a Parks press office summary of some parts of the“expressive matter vending rules” passed by parks in 2010 and just amended on May 2,2013.The actual full text of the “expressive matter vending rules” was removed by the ParksDepartment from their website months ago. An FAQ for visual artists replaced it, butexactly like the performer FAQ, the artist FAQ is not the actual text of the law anddeliberately leaves out key sentences.Why does it matter?If you get a summons or are arrested for violating the “expressive matter vending rules”or if you want to sue over them, the judge you stand before will not be referring to anFAQ. He or she will have the full text of the actual “expressive matter vending rules” before them as they decide your case. That is the only legally binding version of the law.The full text of the expressive matter vending rules is at this address:http://www.scribd.com/doc/110304750/Expressive-Matter-RuleThe performer FAQ is here:http://www.nycgovparks.org/pagefiles/57/expressive-matter-faq.pdf Allow me to point out just three of the more significant differences between the FAQ andthe actual text of the rules.1. In the performer FAQ it describes how the minimum distance from monuments (50”),trees, walls, signs, benches (5’) and the requirement that you can only vend alongside acurb and only on a 15’ wide path ONLY APPLY to performers who are using aDISPLAY TABLE.QUOTE from FAQ:“Outside of the areas with designated vending spots, the rules primarily impactexpressive matter vendors using a display table to sell their items. The rules restrict thesize 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 proximityrestrictions, which include a prohibition on vending within fifty (50) feet of a monumentor within five (5) feet of park furniture, ONLY apply to vendors using a display table tosell items. Because performers do not typically use display tables, the rules should not
 
impact the majority of performers and buskers in parks without designated vendingspots.”However, the actual text of the rules states that expressive matter vendors (artists or  performers) can only vend without being on a medallion and without complying with thedistance restrictions if they are NOT using a CART, DISPLAY STAND, OR OTHER DEVICE.” In fact, the word table is not even in the law.QUOTE from the actual rules:“…unless they are only vending expressive matter without using a cart, display stand or other device and without occupying a specific location for longer than necessary toconduct a transaction and are otherwise in compliance with Department rules.”What’s the difference?While few performers are using an actual TABLE, virtually all are using a cart, displaystand or OTHER DEVICE to display a donations sign or to vend CDs or to carry their  props and equipment. Any use of a display, table, stand or other device means you are NOT a mobile vendor and so you ARE subject to ALL the distance from restrictions.A drum kit, a shopping cart, a music stand, a hat on the ground, an open guitar case witha donation sign, a piano with CDs for sale on it etc. etc. are all, “other devices.”2. The FAQ states:“Q. Where can expressive matter vendors set up in these parks? Non-mobile vendors, regardless of whether they use a display table, may only occupyavailable spots designated by Parks (see attached maps for the number and location of these spots in each park). In Central Park, vendors may occupy areas outside the zoneswhere spots have been designated as long as they comply with all other Parks rules.”In other words, if you are a NON-MOBILE VENDOR performer you will have tocomply with the medallions and with all the numerous distance from restrictions.However, since the FAQ makes no effort to describe what a “mobile vendor” is, performers are assuming that they are one, and park officials are encouraging that totallyfalse assumption.What does the actual text of the expressive matter vending rules say about this?Expressive matter vendors are subject to all the restrictions,“…unless they are only vending expressive matter without using a cart, display stand or other device and without occupying a specific location for longer than necessary toconduct a transaction and are otherwise in compliance with Department rules.”What is LONGER THAN NECESSARY?
 
Internal PEP enforcement memos detail that “no longer then necessary” means amaximum of 15 minutes.In other words, even if you have nothing touching the ground; no table, stand, display or other device, you still cannot stand anywhere for more than 15 minutes. See the PEPmemos linked below for the actual documents on this.How many park performers do a 15 minute act, then close up and leave the park? In 45years of vending I’ve never seen such an act in any park. I have seen it on subways.3. Here’s the irony of what the Park officials are telling you:ONLY a mobile vendor could legally perform in Washington Sq Park.Due to the distance regulations from monuments, arches, walls, trees, benches etc. it isimpossible to legally use a display stand, cart, table or other device while vendingexpressive matter in Washington Sq Park or in most other NYC Parks. As PEP officersexplained to sand painter Joe Mangrum in his video, there IS NO PLACE INWASHINGTON SQ PARK WHERE YOU CAN DO IT LEGALLY.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b55iEv5-qDgI’ll leave you with one last thought:Just like signing a contract, you have to read the fine print to know what’s really goingon. To “read it” means to actually read every word yourself. Don’t rely on me, the park commissioner, a PEP officer, your best friend or a reporter to tell you what the law says.Read it for yourself. All the links to all the official NYC documents you need are right inthis email.What a park or city official states verbally to you means nothing if it is not in agreementwith the actual text of the park laws. Likewise, if the parks press office says that you can perform from the back of a elephant while swimming in the fountain, but the rules sayyou must be 50 from that same fountain (fountains are monuments), I’d suggest you takeseriously what the actual law says.Robert LedermanParks Department Announces Performer Rules 5/7/13In a 180 degree reversal from the statement made by Manhattan Park Commissioner William Castro during a lengthy explanation he gave aboutthe application of the “expressive matter vending rules” to performerson 5/1/13, the Parks Department has decided it will enforce the samerules against performers as against artists. Any performer who is nota “mobile vendor” as described in Park Enforcement Patrol (PEP) memos(see links below), must be on a medallion spot in 4 parks. In allother parks they must be 50’ from a monument, 5’ from a tree or bench

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