In the name of discouraging vandalism, Mayor Bloomberg recently nixed a permit for some fashion designer's unrealised block party in Chelsea, which would have featured artists spray painting graffiti onto faux subway car panels. The event's promotors are pursuing legal action against the city in the name of protecting free speech.
UPDATE: The case went before a judge... graffiti prevails over Bloomberg (thanks, Krys O.)
This little clash combined with the 14-year-long perplexing battle over the orange shower curtains in Central Park got me wondering about the filters in place for veto-ing public art displays in NYC. While I couldn't find any steadfast rules governing the selection of works, here are some seemingly objectionable examples of what slipped past the censors:
Canned food replica planter boxes (potential copyright/trademark infringement issue)
Ghetto blaster bench (encourages excess urban noise)
Cars parked on sidewalk (self-evident, illegally parked cars in any city = breeding ground for anarchy)
Lamp shades / chess pieces in the park (encourages bad decorating)
Yellow cartoon elephant (unrealistically benign portrayal of a deadly beast ... thanks Scott)