Rickshaw Nomination Generates Outrage; Vendys Respond
Well, considering all the negative comments the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck has gotten from Midtown Lunchers since opening last year I can’t say I’m completely surprised by the reaction to their Vendy Award nomination. While some might be upset because Rickshaw is an offshoot of a restaurant, or not really the type of vendor that represents the true spirit of the awards- most are focusing on the fact that they just don’t like the dumplings. There have been cries of foul play, and just general disbelief in the comments, and one guy even asked on Twitter if he could return his ticket for a full refund. Serious Eats grand poo-bah Ed Levine, a former Vendy judge himself, posted a comment to SENY displaying a similar disbelief.
What do I think?
Well, I’m a judge this year so I think its only fair if I remain completely impartial (but feel free to read everything I’ve written about street vendors and the Vendy Awards for the past 3+ years, and I’m sure you could piece together an opinion.) But I will say this… the Vendys are run by the Street Vendor Project, a non profit organization that advocates very hard for street vendors here in New York City. Agree or disagree with the outcome, the Rickshaw Truck has its share of fans (and twitter followers) and the nominations were open to the public. You can be upset about the nominees, or even the eventual winner (lord knows I have expressed similar outrage in the past), but calling the whole event a sham is unfair- and devalues the incredibly hard work that the SVP does to advocate on behalf of some of our favorite vendors. For all my talk of the “Oscars of the street vendor world”, the Vendy Awards is much more about supporting their efforts, than about crowning a true “best vendor in the city”.
A volunteer from the Vendys posted this semi-official response in the comments:
“hi everyone- we’re sorry some of you are upset/confused about the rickshaw truck being selected as a finalist for the vendys…. the rickshaw truck was actually one of the most nominated carts/trucks on the streets, so while you may not believe it’s one of the best out there, MANY people in the city apparently love it. you’re all passionate about food – it’s up to you guys to nominate your favorites and to encourage your friends to do the same.
the vendys are going to be great this year, out at the queens museum – hopefully you’ll all still come out and support street food in the city.”
Don’t agree with the Rickshaw Truck being nominated? More reason to buy tickets and attend the event to vote for one of the other four vendors! After all, I’ve always felt the People’s Choice Vendy was far more prestigious than the one that gets awarded by the official judges.
2009 Vendy Award Finalists Announced