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The tide is turning: Finally, some action on ousting hawkers from Battery Park, now the city must finish the job

2019-08-24

Statue of Liberty ticket vendors near the Bowling Green subway station in Lower Manhattan last month. (Mark Woodward/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

A city that has for far too long let aggressive hawkers illegally prey on tourists in Battery Park, snookering people trying to visit the Statue of Liberty into buying pricey cruises that never reach the island, may be snapping out of its slumber at last.

First came better signage directing tourists to the only place to buy official tickets — that’s Castle Clinton. Then, a proposed rule requiring the peddlers to tell buyers whether boats will go to the statue, along with a mandate to print related language on tickets.

Fine, but good luck monitoring thousands of individual conversations on streets, sidewalks and parks. To get to the root of the problem, the city must hand out far more citations for illegal selling.

Statue of Liberty ticket vendors are pictured near the Bowling Green subway station in Lower Manhattan on Friday, August 8, 2019.
Statue of Liberty ticket vendors are pictured near the Bowling Green subway station in Lower Manhattan on Friday, August 8, 2019. (Mark Woodward/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

And more importantly: Create tough consequences for tour companies whose vendors break the law by approaching people in the park, where selling is prohibited.

A glimmer of hope to that end now comes from NY Waterway, which via its DockNYC subsidiary manages a number of city piers under contract with the city. Midweek, citing an “intolerable” situation downtown, it announced it “will no longer permit tour operations that are affiliated in any manner with street sales or sellers.” Those who violate the restriction will see “revocation of all your berthing permits.”

One bad boat has already been told to take a long walk off a short pier. Now authorities must get every other dock to follow suit.