Good ol’ Alan is still on the warpath against street vendors. Despite trying and failing to pass similar legislation in previous years, Alan Gerson is back after street vendors, trying to limit the freedom of vendors to sell their work with 16 different legislative changes (invaluable Wonkster has a rundown on the key ones).
These changes will make it harder for vendors to practice their right to free speech via distribution of printed materials. Gerson continues to cynically pander to the Village Alliance BID and the business interests that probably pose a bigger threat to a livable city than selling books and art ever could. Seriously – check out this New Yorker article, the guy just sounds absurd trying to peddle his own bullshit to the public.
The excellent book Sidewalk by Mitchell Duneier documents in living detail the life of street vendors in Gerson’s district, and demonstrates their contribution to the street life of New York City, acting as informal ‘mayors’ of bits of city space, and becoming important members of the community in a huge variety of ways. (Other fans of public space and a real street life for New York City might recall Gerson’s silence on/support of renovation at Washington Square Park)
Upshot: A hearing on the laws is happening Thursday, folks should try to make it out (from the NY Activist Calender):
10/30 THU, 10 am – Hearing: on new street vending laws. Oppose
Councilmember Gerson’s proposed 16 new laws, which would end
street vending by artists. At City Hall (R/W to City Hall, 4/5/6
to Bkn Bridge-City Hall). Info: ARTIST, ArtistPres@gmail.com