NEW YORK — Uncap the spray paint can.
Marc Ecko, founder and president of Marc Ecko Enterprises, was granted a fresh permit late Monday afternoon allowing him to go ahead with his free-to-the-public block party scheduled for Wednesday.
U.S. District Court Judge Jed S. Rakoff granted Ecko a permit that had been revoked last week by the city. The block party, dubbed “Marc Ecko’s Getting Up Block Party,” will take place on West 22nd Street between 10th and 11th Avenues here from noon to 8 p.m.
The Mayor’s Office invalidated the permit last week because the event planned to feature 20 graffiti writers using replicas of New York City Transit’s “blue-bird” subway cars, at 48-feet long and standing 8-feet tall, as their canvases. Ecko filed suit against Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City of New York on Friday on First Amendment grounds. The Mayor’s Office said it wouldn’t restore the permit unless Ecko agreed not to paint on any canvas in the form of a mock train because, according to city officials, such activity might encourage people to engage in unlawful graffiti.
In a statement following the decision, Ecko said: “Today is further affirmation that graffiti is, without question, the most powerful art movement in recent history. I never envisioned having to go to court when we started working with the city on this event 10 months ago, but was left with no other choice when the city asked us to change our chosen art canvas and, as such, tried to censor my First Amendment rights and those of these great artists by attempting to dictate how we express ourselves.”
A spokeswoman for the New York City Law Department said in a statement: “We are disappointed in the judge’s ruling. We believe that the city’s denial of a permit to an exhibit which glorifies criminal activity was proper and should have been upheld. We are considering our appellate options.”