Bethesda Terrace musicians asked to quiet down

Bethesda Fountain
Bethesda Terrace in Central Park

Central Park has always been home to musicians and street performers but New York City’s Parks Department recently designated one of the park’s most popular spots for performers a Quiet Zone which makes it against the law to play a musical instrument or amplified sound. Police have already issued tickets and some performers feel their first amendment rights are being violated.

Vicki Karp, a spokeswoman for the Parks Department, explains that musicians can use other parts of the park but that they should get used to sharing the space.

“Parks are one of the few places you can come and hear the soothing sounds of nature — bird songs, falling water, the wind in the leaves, human conversation,” she wrote in an e-mail. “It is not that we are not allowing music or loud sound. It is that we are also allowing quiet, which isn’t automatic in this city.”

There have been some speculations that Central Park may soon have a dining area below Bethesda Terrace and that this is the reason for the sound regulation.

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