Street Vendor Project Going to Court Today to Fight For The 43rd St. Hot Dog Lady


If you’ve ever wondered exactly what it is the Street Vendor Project does (besides throw the Vendy Awards every year) here’s a prime example of them in action. With one week to go before their biggest fund-raising event of the year, they are going to court this morning to fight for the hot dog lady on 43rd and 6th who had her cart seized by the police on Wednesday.  SVP founder Sean Basinski checks in to let us know exactly what’s going on… and to ask for a bit of help.

This morning we’re going to court with Eliana Jaramillo, the Bolivian woman who had her hot dog cart seized on Wednesday. We’re turning to your readers for help. Ms. Jaramillo got two tickets — one for vending from a sidewalk less than 12 feet wide, and one for having boxes or a cooler next to her cart (everything related to your vending business has to be stored in or under your pushcart.) The first ticket is completely bogus. We measured the sidewalk yesterday and it is more than 13 feet wide. So that should be easy to get tossed out.

But the other one is trickier.

Ms. Jaramillo swears she never puts any boxes or coolers next to the cart, but she didn’t take any pictures, so we have no proof. Did any of your readers see her cart being seized? If so, maybe they can come testify on her behalf, or at least write an email we can show the judge. Or maybe you can testify that you walk by her every day and you never see any boxes or coolers? We’d even take people who have never paid much attention to the set up of the cart but might be willing to testify to her general good character and honesty. She’s been vending there for 26 years, knows everyone in the neighborhood, and is a real sweetheart.

We’ll be at ECB court downtown at 66 John Street, 10th floor starting at 10 am, although the hearing probably won’t start until 11. Feel free to come down, or give me a call at 917-825-7248.

If we can get the tickets dismissed, the next step is to get the cart back.  If anybody would like to show support, feel free to come to the precinct on 35th Street where the cart is being held — that is, unless its been shipped to Brooklyn already. It often takes takes a couple weeks to get a cart back, but we’ll try.

Sadly, this kind of thing happens to vendors frequently, even though the police had no legal justification for seizing the cart in the first place, even if she DID have a cooler out or even if the sidewalk WAS less than twelve feet wide. Vendors are easy targets and the police know it. But hopefully we can all work together to help change this.  I’ll stay in touch throughout the day to update you on our progress.  Eliana is eager to get back to work, and I know a lot of you are eager to support her. Thanks!”

The Sad State of 43rd Street Between 6th and Broadway


  • Go old lady! If she comes back I will buy a hot dog from her.

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    Google rears its ugly head.

  • I see a Telemundo umbrella. 2 actually.

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    snitches end up in ditches harry…

  • Damn straight dubs. I’ll get the cinder blocks.

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    well, at least you can throw out one ticket, cant shorten a curb

    i would image they dont allow the boxes and stuff out on the curb because either a passer by might knock it over or the vendor wont clean it up

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    well.. that’s some damning evidence right there… Zach should delete that post… just in case…

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  • Exception your honor! It is not a cooler next to the cart, it is a seat so I may rest!

  • Is google street view permissible in court???

    Smells like privacy invasion to me.

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    Are you serious, Marisa?

    While I’m all for hot-dog-lady coming out of this unscathed, she clearly violated the ordinance regarding cooler storage. There is no right to privacy, express or implied, on a PUBLIC street. When a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode filmed at a Dodgers game a few years ago exhonerated a murder suspect by providing an alibi, that evidence was admissable. Why would we exclude a similar class of evidence in this case simply because it happened to implicate the defendant rather than to exhonerate her?

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    It’s ok everyone, harry’s not talking, cheese and I took care of it.

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    What about the other cart?

  • @Harry,

    wow, hilarious picture.

    the best part about this is that we’re upset the cops enforced a rule way too liberally. they gotta stop that. but then just as it happened, the people trying to defend the hot dog lady is defending her on principle. they actually have no leg to stand on if they want to say that she’s been following rules for 26 years.

    so now we want to change the way we look at the rules because, “oops, we said she didn’t but it looks like she did”

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    oh crap, I left my case of sprite on a milk crate next to a planter on 43rd st. Has anyone seen it?

  • LOL @ marisa. Privacy invasion? Yea you definitely don’t have the right to take a picture of a public place. :rofl:

  • There are separate issues. That picture is dated. It’s not a view of the location at the time the summons was issued. All it means is that boxes have been there in the past. And that image is available to anyone, including the city of NY. The question of whether there were boxes there at the time of the incident that was ticketed is still up to the police to prove.

    Those of you upset with me for posting that applauded me for posting the same exact image when the planters incident took place.

    What I have realized through this incident is that this isn’t the hot dog lady that started the fight. It was the other one, and this poor lady is getting shafted. Also, the cops are selectively enforcing the laws. Sooner or later the city will realize that there’s money to be made enforcing these laws and they will crack down on almost everyone.

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    But it also means that her “swearing” that she has “never” put boxes there is bullshit, and considering we’re being asked to support her…well, that’s an issue.

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    “The question of whether there were boxes there at the time of the incident that was ticketed is still up to the police to prove.”

    Easy: if the police seized boxes along with her cart, they were there on the day the citation was issued.

    It worries me to learn that boxes and coolers are unlawful, though. Some of my favorite carts would disappear if the police chose to enforce the letter of the law.

    As for the sidewalk width charge, I don’t think that it can be proven that the officer was not acting in good faith. Presumably there was no tape measure available at the time, and somebody measuring the width of the sidewalk by counting off footsteps could easily underestimate the actual distance by 8% accidentally.

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