Get off the street!
That's Mayor Bloomberg's message to art vendors in the park, food trucks idling on the streets, street fairs clogging the avenues - and even Mr. Softee.
"The little stand is now getting to be these enormous trucks with generators," the mayor said on his WOR-AM radio show.
"We are moving stores into the street. And they sit there and they park and they take up parking places and they block traffic."
Hizzoner's rant came after host John Gambling asked about new rules that will for the first time limit the number of vendors selling paintings, photos and other First Amendment-protected material in crowded city parks.
Artist Robert Lederman, a leading critic of the move, filed a lawsuit Friday to block the new rules from taking effect July 19.
Bloomberg, however, defended the restrictions.
"You have so many vendors that they infringe on people's ability to go down the walkway and to have a quiet place to reflect and that kind of thing," he said. "Everybody else has rights too."
The mayor also backed efforts to limit the street fairs that clog up the city all summer long.
Bloomberg hinted at a looming crackdown on vendors who park for hours in front of fire hydrants or no-standing zones.
"I agree with it," he said. "We're trying another way to accomplish it."
Nothing got the mayor's goat quite like Mr. Softee, however. When Fran from Queens called the show to complain about the ice cream man blaring his maddening jingle on her corner until 10 p.m., Bloomberg rolled up his sleeves and asked for details to track down the riotous rogue.
"We're going to go after and explain the law to this Mr. Softee," he vowed.
"Fran, it can be annoying and it shouldn't happen. It is the law and we should do a better job, so just stay on and we'll get your name and phone number and I'll see if we can do something about it."