As a regular at Washington Square Park, I spend a lot of time with the musicians who sit southwest of the fountain. I've seen the cops crack down on them countless times, even threatening to confiscate their instruments if they didn't comply. It really started to piss me off, and it was difficult to watch these buskers, many of whom I knew were homeless or nearing homlessness, have their income stream shut down because of "complaints" from the rich people on 5th avenue. As it turned out, the cops weren't actually enforcing any laws a lot of the time (sometimes they'd even shut down a tame jam session at 2pm on a weekend). I started to distribute pamphlets to the musicians with the specific laws that apply to the park so that the musicians know their rights. Now when the cops approach and threaten the musicians when I'm around, I calmly ask them what law they're enforcing and am usually able to convince them to just ask the musicians to lower the amps rather than turn them off or confiscate them.

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