By Father Tony
(photo by David Goldman for the New York Times)
The city wants to reduce the number of vendors of "expressive media" that clog the sidewalks of its major public parks.
While I agree that they are a nuisance, I think that simply reducing their number is not the best approach. Better would be a change of definition of what is allowed. All the mass-produced stuff ought to be prohibited, leaving only original arts and crafts made by New York City artists and artisans. Photography should be allowed but only if the photographer is the one who has the permit for the assigned spot. Businesses that traffic in identical stuff that is available in dozens of adjacent booths ought to be eliminated.
The same rule change ought to be applied to those scoundrels who sell funnel cake, bedding and fake oriental rugs at all the neighborhood street fairs.
Simply limiting the number of vendors will unfortunately eliminate some local artists who are not backed by a large retail entity that is simply taking over our public spaces and detracting from the beauty of our parks.
These permits to sell stuff are supposed to benefit local artists and artisans, but they don't. I don't think the tourists will miss those endlessly churned out photos of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis.