First Amendment Library:
Walter W. Land


The respondent, a citizen of Florida, owns a former United States Navy submarine which he exhibits for profit. *53 In 1940 he brought it to New York City and moored it at a State pier in the East River. He prepared and printed a handbill advertising the boat and soliciting visitors for a stated admission fee. On his attempting to distribute the bill in the city streets, he was advised by the petitioner, as Police Commissioner, that this activity would violate ยง 318 of the Sanitary Code, which forbids distribution in the streets of commercial and business advertising matter,[1] but was told that he might freely distribute handbills solely devoted to "information or a public protest."