NYC MOBILE STREET
VENDORS CALL ON CITY
BY ROBBIE SEQUEIRA
Through rally cries of “Vendors
United!” roughly 40 New York City
street vendors marched down Fordham
Road on Thursday, calling on city
offi cials to legitimize a workforce of as
much as 20,000 by eliminating a cap on
permits and licenses.
Additionally, street vendors and
their advocates are also calling on the
city to place a moratorium on fi nes
that reach up to $1,000 toward unpermitted
mobile food vendors as part of
Carina Kaufman-Gutierrez, the
deputy director for the Street Vendor
Project, said Senate Bill 1175A which
would legalize and decriminalize sidewalk
vending statewide is a long-term
solution that would provide a pathway
to business creation for a workforce
that primarily includes undocumented
workers, military veterans
and women of color.
“For many, street vending is their
only option — some who are undocumented
workers or single parents
— it’s a really important business
because it allows for autonomy and
ownership of their business,” she said.
“It’s a pathway to being a small-business
owner that can provide stability.”
If passed by the state Senate, the
bill, which is currently in committee
and sponsored by Democratic state
Sens. Jessica Ramos and Jessica Gonzales
Rojas, would be another win in a
series of legislative victories for vendors
dating back to December 2020.
In December, Mayor Bill DeBlasio,
BRONX TIMES REPORTER, J 8 ULY 23-29, 2021 BTR
a Democrat, announced that, on Jan.
15, the NYPD would no longer oversee
street vendors in the city, adjudicating
that responsibility to the city’s Department
of Consumer and Worker Protection.
Kaufman-Gutierrez said that before
the change in enforcement, unpermitted
street vendors were often
subjected to a culture of over-ticketing
and over-policing by the NYPD. In addition
to the $1,000 fi nes for lacking
city-issued permits, vendors can also
accrue fi nes of $250 for unlicensed
Another victory came in January
when the New York City Council
passed Intro 1116, a measure that increased
the city’s vendor permit cap
by 4,000 permits.
It had been the fi rst time since the
1980s that the cap had been increased.
Starting in 2022, roughly 400 vendor
permits will be issued annually
over the next decade. The law also
creates a vendor advisory committee
and requires a “supervisory licensee”
to be present at food carts and trucks
starting in 2032 to avoid absentee permit
But street vendors want action now.
While the new law bumps up the existing
citywide cap of 2,900 full-time
street vendor permits and 5,100 total
permits — including part-time additional
permits — it hardly covers a
workforce of up to 20,000 street vendors
statewide, advocates say.
Out of the 400 yearly permits, 300
of those permits will be reserved for
Vendors and advocates are calling on city offi cials to place a moratorium on fi nes that
reach up to $1,000 toward non-permitted mobile food vendors. Photos Adrian Childress