Police and street vendors don't mix. The Villager reports that comedian and Soho resident Whoopi Goldberg thinks the treatment the police give the vendors is "atrocious," and she's not alone.
Recently a group of sidewalk artist vendors staged a protest against the harassment by the First Police Precinct. While many (including residents, business owners and the art vendors themselves) agree that the illegal street peddlers should be stopped, the police have been going after the wrong (legal art) vendors.
Last Saturday morning ten police officers came to W. Broadway and Spring St. and asked a number of art vendors to move their stands. Robert Lederman, president of A.R.T.I.S.T., or Artists’ Response to Illegal State Tactics, shot a video of his interaction with police which you can watch below.
They tell him his "art sucks"!
The Villager also reports that "City Councilmember Alan Gerson is currently working on a bill to deal with the problem, which he says could be finished in several weeks. While he didn’t speak about specifics, he said in an interview that the bill 'seeks better enforcement and regulation through the clarification of ambiguities and the closing of loopholes.… Right now, it’s just so confusing.' Gerson said First Amendment-protected vendors were only “the smallest part of the puzzle” in the scope of the whole bill."