COVID-19: The Recovery will Happen in Public Space

Turning Down the Music in Washington Square Park

Dec 4, 2011
Dec 14, 2017

A couple of months ago, I wrote about how Colin Huggins, a guy playing a piano in Washington Square Park, brought joy to people sitting there and enjoying a sunny day.

Colin Huggins and his piano in October. Photo: Sarah Goodyear

Today that same piano player is featured in a New York Times story about how the parks department is cracking down on performers in Washington Square, in the name of providing some peace and quiet for parkgoers:

[T]he city’s parks department has slapped summonses on … performers who put out hats or buckets, for vending in an unauthorized location -- specifically, within 50 feet of a monument.

The department’s rule, one of many put in place a year ago, was intended to control commerce in the busiest parks. Under the city’s definition, vending covers not only those peddling photographs and ankle bracelets, but also performers who solicit donations.

Huggins has gotten nine summonses. His fines add up to $2,250.

The musicians are considering a lawsuit over the matter. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

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COVID-19: The Recovery will Happen in Public Space