On the Street: Citizens Weigh In on Washington Square Park Performing Regulations

| 26 Feb 2015 | 04:13

On a bright, albeit cold Sunday afternoon, dozens of people sat at the edges of the fountain or on the stone benches in the center of Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village to hear Colin Huggins tickle the ivories of his grand piano. Huggins, while a fixture in the park, is one of many outdoor performers who have been handed down summonses for a rule that took effect last year: performers aren't allowed to play within 50 feet of a monument, and Huggins is especially found of a spot near the Arch. The City however, reportedly created the rules to control vending-including performing-in their parks and others have reportedly come out in the support of the regulations saying the performers can be annoying at times. Last Sunday, we visited the park and asked a collection of parkgoers how they felt about the regulations.

Kristina Milne, 27: It is better than begging. At least they are doing something for the money. I've seen jugglers get shooed out of the park, but I've also seen drug dealers selling here, and I haven't seen anyone do anything about that.

John Shen, 30: Those balls are dangerous [laughs].

Kristina: People come here to see him [Colin Huggins].

James McColley, 38: I do think its wrong. I'm a breakdancer and on a good day I'd make $700-$800. I know you can get arrested or given a ticket for performing. I was given a $50 ticket once. But this is a free country and people should be allowed to perform.

William McCloud, 46: I think it is absolutely stupid. There are so many people complaining. Part of the rules is you can't perform within 50 feet of a monument. I dare you to find a place that is 50 feet away from a monument. In the summer people come here to hear the musicians. They aren't blocking public ingress or egress.

Adryan Dillon, 23: I like to listen to the piano player. It is a nice surprise to listen to him. I think the performers have always been part of this park. Certainly some of them are annoying but I can always find somewhere else to sit.