Busk be-gone: city tightens rules for street performers in parks

Guess you'll be seeing less of this soon. (via flickr user Monica333)

Guess you’ll be seeing less of this soon. (via flickr user Monica333)

It’s a busker-eat-busker world out there for struggling street musicians and the like, but the city’s not about to make it any easier on you guys: starting next month the Department of Parks and Recreation’s mandating that street performers be relegated to specific spots in public parks if they’re asking passersby for tips. Sorry, guys…but on the bright side, fewer annoying buskers for the rest of us to deal with!

At the moment, street vendors are required to stick to certain places in parks, like along curbs, away from park benches and far from monuments. They also can’t operate in parts of small parks like Union Square and Battery Park; now, the Parks Department says buskers have to follow the same laws pertaining to vendors, and if they don’t follow those guidelines they’ll be subject to fines up to $1,000. So, starting May 8th, you’ll probably see fewer people breakdancing in Prospect Park (for money anyway), which is a definite plus for non-buskers, since it’ll cut down on all the tourists who gather to watch them under the impression that they’re some sort of special batch of New York talent.

Then again, if you’re a street entertainer, you’ll have to contend with less space to nudge out your competition. And of course, there’s always that fear that this is just the city’s first step in cutting down on sidewalk performers: “This amendment may not look so bad now, but after the last few years, I strongly believe it will snowball by adding more rules to stop our basic rights to perform for the public in a public space,” Washington Square Park drummer John Hendricks told The New York World. Oh, right. Freedom.