Extension of Street Fair Moratorium
Rule status: Adopted
Effective date: December 30, 2022
Proposed Rule Full Text
Adopted Rule Full Text
Adopted rule summary:
The Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO) of the Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management (CECM) is adopting amendments to extend the existing moratorium on street fair applications to Calendar Year 2023.
Comments are now closed.
Online comments: 36
The proposed rule intends to remove the expansion and growth of a serious, important, and healthy part of what makes the city both a desirable place to live in and improves public safety. This is a perfectly acceptable and desirable use of public resources, and if the NYPD wants to curb overtime (as it should), it should find better places to cut overtime than to cut into events and fairs that both bring color and character to our neighborhoods and also improve public safety by bringing communities together. The city should NOT extend the moratorium into 2023.
Street fairs and block parties are an integral part of New York City and the NYPD’s stated justifications for wanting to deny permits for 2023 are ludicrous. If they wanted to curtail overtime costs, they could start by having cops process their paperwork on the clock instead of after shifts. They could also hire more civilian support staff. Or how about not guarding Columbus statues so much?
I don’t need someone from Long Island or Rockland County telling me what to do in my own city. And certainly not if they are claiming that counter-terrorism units are suddenly understaffed for these events. It’s just bullshit all the way down.
Street fairs are a critical part of the community in our neighborhoods. Banning them would make the city worse (and frankly, probably less safe). Don’t take away something good that people enjoy.
Maybe consider cutting the NYPD budget to make up for the costs.
I’m very disappointed the NYPD is even asking this. The general public pays for the streets, and we deserve access to them for more than just polluting, inefficient car travel.
Instead of opposing new street fairs, NYPD should double the number of approved fairs.
Small scale neighborhood permits should be prioritized. In my neighborhood, UWS, the Open Streets program on Sundays and Bazaar on 77th (not technically a fair, but an example of what could be at one) attract huge, happy crowds; support local business; and promote neighborhood cohesion. This past weekend’s Halloween Block Party on 69th was attended by more than 10k festive trick or treaters.
The future is local. NYC can be a leader on reclaiming public space and creating neighborhood connection. Community still matters.
Street Fairs should be an integral part of any plan to make NYC more livable. The proposed NYPD rule would move us backwards.
Street fairs foster community and keep this city vibrant.
Street fairs and block parties are a wonderful part of life in New York City, and the the NYPD’s stated justifications for wanting to deny permits for 2023 are ridiculous.
The city does spend far too much money paying NYPD overtime to attend street fairs and block parties, but the obvious solution is to deploy fewer NYPD officers at street fairs and block parties. The community-partner-run Open Streets program has proved that opening up streets regularly does not need police presence to ensure safety.
Besides kneecapping the cultural vibrancy of this global city and further isolating NYers from their own communities and streets, you are going to allow the NYPD to deprive NYC all of this economic activity in 2023, during a pandemic recovery and worsening economic conditions because why?
Worse still, are you going to allow the NYPD to be the cultural arbiters of which fairs go ahead and which do not?
What’s next Shakespeare in the Park?
Karen Kwa, Brooklyn
Street fairs and block parties are one of the best things about New York City.
We all pay for the streets and they should be for everyone- not just people who can afford to drive cars in New York City (which are loud, polluting, and potentially lethal.)
If the NYPD doesn’t want to work the street fairs the city should make the streets permanently open so they won’t need hundreds of cops to block the streets to traffic.
Also, if the NYPD actually cared about cutting overtime costs they could stop intentionally arresting people at the end of their shifts, and actually do paperwork during their shift instead of afterwards.
If NYPD wants to reduce overtime costs they can do that through scheduling shifts for street fairs which are 100% predictable in timing without using overtime. There is zero reason for a threat of overtime to limit street fairs. Streets open to people for a fair don’t need a dedicated police presence. We have figured out we don’t need policing on open streets or a million other situations where we limit access to drivers – that applies here too.
Local NYC residents love street fairs. They are packed and an awesome use of streets as a public space to walk, talk, enjoy food, art and the vibrancy of our city. Street fairs should be expanded so they aren’t a rarity (many locations only operate once or twice a year), and they should be an opportunity for more entrepreneurs to start a business. The number of fairs should be increased to advance equitable access to street fairs.
A blanket blockade of street fairs at the request of NYPD should not be allowed to proceed. I am against this rule change.
Street fairs are one of my favorite things to enjoy in our community. They bring people of all ages together to enjoy our public streets with amazing food and other wares. They do more for me in my regular life than i have ever seen from the NYPD. I feel safe, happy, and welcome at street fairs. Removing them really feels like the NYPD is thinking of themselves before the community. Overtime problems are not street fair problems! DO NOT extend the moratorium into 2023.
This is without doubt the worst idea ever proposed. If anything, streetfairs kill two birds with one stone. There should be street fairs on every corner all the time.
Police already get paid to patrol don’t they? Why are they getting OT to patrol a street fair taking place in a neighborhood they already patrol?
Street fairs make NYC a safer place. Most people aren’t going out and committing crimes when there are tons of people around where they can easily be outnumbered and caught by the general public. More street fairs = safer streets and it just gives police an opportunity to do what they’re (supposedly) already doing. Patrolling the street.
Residents of NYC rely on street fairs to discover new companies, new products, new food etc. And small businesses rely on street fairs to promote new products, new foods, etc to the general public.
So the idea here is to hurt small businesses and one of the things that makes up the heartbeat of NYC so that way police can sit in their cars on their cell phones rather than actually doing something productive?
If you want to cut OT, how about doing it in a smart way. A few weeks ago I was at the Union Square subway station and saw 6 police officers standing within 10 feet of each other. I think two will do the trick. They can call for backup if they need. If two officers with DEADLY weapons on their waist isn’t enough to stop crime, then perhaps you have bigger issues than “street fairs.”
Cancelling street fairs would be such a buzzkill to NYC and hurt small businesses. It makes the city more desirable and therefore can increase the tax base. Thank you.
Most street fairs are for the kids why take that away from them. The cops are bearly there unless it’s a community affair anyways
Street fairs are great. People love them, locals and tourists! This is an embarrassingly bad rule change. I am against it.
Street fairs are one of the best and safest ways for New Yorkers of all ages and abilities to gather and build a closer community. Streets should be for everyone to enjoy, and fairs provide tremendous opportunities for local businesses and groups to come out and reach more people within their neighborhoods.
The NYPD should have absolutely no say in this. Let’s let the NYPD stick to public safety (it has a lot to fix on that front, including do-nothing officers and actively hostile forces who do more to make NYers afraid than actual criminals), and let’s give the streets back to the people. Street fairs are exponentially safer uses for streets and public spaces than car traffic, so keeping street fairs alive and expanding them to more places in the city would actually be doing the NYPD a favor.
Street fairs are an extremely important part of a vibrant NYC and should be expanded not cut
Street fairs are an amazing and wonderful development for the social life in NYC. To stop street fairs so the NYPD can save money on overtime is putting the cart before the horse. The City should serve the people and the NYPD should serve the people too.
If the NYPD wants to cut overtime, I suggest using fewer officers on a lot of duties that do not require so many. I often see half a dozen officers standing around doing nothing (serving as a presence, okay sure) when perhaps 2-3 would be enough.
Moreover the NYPD’s efficiency and effectiveness can be improved. The clearance rate for homicides is only 27%, much lower than the historical numbers >50% and lower than the national average >50%. Perhaps we need to improve quality and productivity instead of spending more dollars.
We should have many many street fairs and we should not let the NYPD’s internal staffing dynamics affect the people’s needs and wants. If we want to spend less money on the NYPD, we can just do so in our next budget cycle. And the NYPD can even propose where they want to make cuts. Anyway, let’s just let we the people live our lives and have our street fairs
Street fairs add vibrancy and life to what can be somewhat dead city streets, especially when they are on wider streets and avenues. We should encourage them instead of trying to shut them down.
The NYPD should find overtime to cut elsewhere or remove themselves from this program. I believe street fairs can be run without a constant NYPD presence.
The idea that New York City would extend a moratorium on beloved street fairs and block parties because they cost too much in NYPD overtime is ridiculous. This a non-problem for a number of reasons. First, street fairs have clear, predictable timing known far in advance, and NYPD could simply schedule cops to work during them instead of planning for them to be overtime. Second, the street fairs I’ve been to are heavily over-policed – there is very little for the cops at the fairs to do. Reducing police presence would make street fairs more welcoming to historically over-policed populations within New York. Finally, it’s unclear to me why police presence is needed at all at street fairs, since Open Streets, which are similar, do not require them and run safely and successfully.
Street fairs are a wonderful part of what makes NYC special, and I do not think there should be a continuing moratorium on new ones. It seems to me that NYPD staffing at these events could be safely reduced, avoiding the extra overtime charges.
Street fairs make our city a more vibrant and fun place to live. They also provide economic benefits to local businesses. The moratorium should not be extended.
NYPD could instead reduce overtime by staffing these events with officers on their regularly scheduled shifts, or by reducing total staffing of these events.
Streets are for people, not metal boxes. Street fairs are a rare occasion to return temporarily streets to the people, along with the – also far too rare – Open Streets programme. Let’s not forget that only a minority of New Yorkers own a car. All of them walk, though. Yet 90+% of public space is reserved to cars and other motor vehicles. This proposed measure from the NYPD to cut street fairs is an insult.
As evidenced by the commenters-many of whom are part of the cult Biker Bro Transportation Alternative propaganda cohort-their astroturfed rationale manages to evade the negative impact these circus shows have become. What was once a rare and appreciated NYC ‘happening’ has become nothing less than an anything goes-Wild West street hostage taking-year-round.
The unlimited and enabled decibel deafening amplified vendors/performers- on residential streets and avenues- are where people live -where people are forced to lose their own quality of living-home habitability-callously seized by self-entitled vendors and retail who could care less about the fall-out to these residents.
Of equal concern , is the ever-congested street grid- blocking open access to emergency vehicles -slowing down NYPD-FDNY and EMT ambulance services-to the endangerment of the public at large-putting people in harm’s way.
The ‘anti-car’ fanatics need to be reminded-that a ‘putinesque’ invasion in a democratic country-will not be tolerated-no matter how many Venture capital alternate ride share schemers and their $$$ are behind the ‘virtue signaling’ social networked propaganda cyclist bro’s.
New York City is already home to 200 Street Fairs a year, a number that has not changed in years. The extension of this moratorium still allows those street fairs to occur without further congesting neighborhoods like Times Square which already has 10% of the city’s street fairs each year despite being only .1% of the city’s land area
Currently Times Square welcomes over 350,000 people a day and the Street Fairs occur on weekends when Times Square already hosts two-show days at many of its Broadway theaters. This moratorium does not eliminate street fairs, but caps additional street fair applications for the 2023 calendar year. Times Square is already home to a disproportionate number of street fairs and more street fairs would adversely affect our already overburdened district. I urge the city to continue this moratorium.
The occasional street fair is a fun, community building activity. But too many of our streets are being turned into plazas where loud speakers play at dangerous levels. The excess noise and commotion are disturbing to the residents, including the elderly and napping children, who actually live along these streets. Litter is left behind. The city should keep the moratorium in place.
Many commentators on this thread represent a biker cult that brooks no compromise with neighborhoods where people live and require low noise and multiple transportation modes. Residents deserve protection from street noise and they should have accessibility in their neighborhoods. Occasional street parties should be limited and time controlled. Accessibility, especially for senior residents should be prioritized.
The new street closings that block open access to emergency vehicles from NYPD-FDNY and EMT ambulance services endanger residents of those streets, again, particularly seniors and the disabled.
People who use cars, pay taxes and fees and should be allowed to park on streets.
Finally, bikers and scooter riders should be held to riding in bike/scooter lanes and not sidewalks. And should be held accountable for traveling in the wrong direction, as would car drivers.
Thomas S. Ferrugia
The Broadway League supports the proposal to extend the moratorium. Our statement has been uploaded for your review. Thank you.Comment attachment
The street fairs in Times Square are horrible. They are a huge disruption to our business in Times Square. We actually lose business on days of street fairs. Street fairs in Times Square should be eliminated. Send them to a park and have a park fair. Send them to a street that nobody goes to. Take them out of Times Square it does not need them. You can obviously see from the responses on this thread that it was coordinated/planned responses.
PS Streets were made for horses, carriages, cars and now rickshaws and ebikes. Sidewalks and parks were made for humans.
George N Stonbely
I totally support the NYPD, and the numerous civic and residential groups that are in favor of extending the Moratorium on Street Fairs through 2023. I will not get into the quality of life issue – – or the lack of quality of the stuff that is offered/sold at these events as they are well-known- – but I would always want to do whatever I can to protect the local businesses and employees – – your friends and neighbors – – that are put out of business for the entire day’s length of these events. I am referring to everyone from local food & beverage establishments, apparel, entertainment, hardware stores etc.- – the lifeblood of neighborhoods.
Times Square, is particularly effected by the wholesale street closures that effect the theater industry – the pride & joy of our city and the economic engine that allows these events to occur as a result of the tax dollars that the shows generate.
I can assure you that our city has not garnered its reputation as the greatest city in the world because of these street events.
Wake up and smell the coffee, have a sweet or a sandwich brewed and prepared under sanitary conditions at a Health Department regulated establishment, or buy a blouse or jeans at your local apparel store where you can try it on it return it if it doesn’t fit.
We currently have over 100 street fairs a year. Let’s take a break and evaluate the economic impact of these events; the cost to our city and its tax paying businesses vs. the fairs contribution to our tax base. Respectfully.
Street fairs are a vital element of city life. Banning them would absolutely ridiculous. This just proves that NYPD has no idea what makes this city a wonderful place. They think the perfect NYC is one where you could drive wherever you want but there’s no where interesting to go to. Dismiss this rule! Let the fairs go on!
Street Fairs and Block Parties should be an opportunity for law enforcement to mix and build connections with the local community. Could traffic enforcement be recruited to add support to law enforcement monitoring fairs and block parties? Could some retired law enforcement volunteer their time to add support to the law enforcement ranks? Street fairs and block parties are usually not many blocks long so I would imagine wouldn’t need so many law enforcement personnel monitoring each individual event. There should not be a moratorium on street activities such as street fairs and block parties.
We have enough street fairs in Midtown Manhattan. This rule is not preventing street fairs, it is only putting a cap on them. Street fairs with neighborhood themes and participation add to city life. Even before the pandemic, many of the street fairs in Midtown Manhattan didn’t need the number of blocks they had reserved, they were sparse and not well attended by vendors and patrons. We’re also seeing this in 2022. We don’t need more and should consider making the existing fairs smaller if they are not filling up the reserved space. Street fairs cause buses to be rerouted, inconveniencing people who use buses.
Street Fairs occur on weekends in Times Square, the same time that the vast majority of Broadway theatres have two show days, with matinee and evening performances. Over 350,000 people visit Times Square every day, so congestion is already at a maximum. My understanding is that the moratorium will cap additional street fair applications for 2023 which in turn will assist an already crowded Time Square / Broadway community greatly.
Gilbert C Hoover. IV
The Shubert Organization endorses the position of the Times Square Alliance and The Broadway League calling for an extension of the moratorium on street fairs.