Street Vendor Project Wants You to Fight for Carts’ Rights
It looks like the support that Midtown Lunchers have shown in the comments towards vendors like the Tripie Crepe Cart (who was kicked out of Columbus Circle by the cops a few weeks ago), and the Street Sweets Truck (who was kicked out of a spot on 55th and 6th) have not gone unnoticed. Sean Basinski, the lawyer behind the Street Vendor Project (which puts on the Vendy Awards), is in Africa on a Fulbright Scholarship researching the issues street vendors face in Nigeria, but still managed to send this email urging Midtown Lunchers to get involved:
Zach, how are things? I’m in Nigeria for another month, but I just checked out your site and read about the police harassment to some of the upscale carts.
You are right that this kind of thing happens to Street Vendor Project members all the time. We had a Tibetan art seller kicked out of what appears to be that very same place on Columbus Circle. I tried to argue to him that it was a legal spot but he was understandably too scared to go back. But now that you are giving the issue attention, people are outraged, as they should be. It strikes me that there is an opportunity here to organize all the cart-loving customers on your site, for the benefit of all vendors, upscale and downscale alike. And really show some power.
For example I would need to check the files but I think that Perez [the cop who forced the crepe cart to move] is a guy we frequently have problems with.
Just throwing ideas around, but what if we organized a protest against Perez in front of his precinct, and got a bunch of vendors who have had problems with him, and invited your readers to come? Or what if we got that crepe vendor to go back and then waited around the corner for the police to come, and then advanced on them with a huge group? Do you think Midtown Lunchers would show up? God knows the blogs would love it.
Or, what else could we do? Maybe there are less confrontational things we could try first, like letter writing campaigns, etc. The average Midtown Lunch reader has 10 times more social capital than the average street vendor who we work so hard to organize. How can we use it?
To see all posts about issues facing Midtown vendors click here