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


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    OMG – my favorite cart in the city, that I just visited 20 minutes ago, uses an external meat storage cooler. I’m not saying who (though I’m having an AWESOME burger has I read this, hint hint) But if something happens to that guy, I’m gonna be lost at least 2 days a week for lunch.

  • If I wasn’t stuck at home sick, I would go down to court or the police station in support of this worthy cause. I think she should countersue the city for the illegal seizure of her cart….i hope justice is served today.

  • @mikenyc – I was thinking the same thing. I only guessing here, but I think its because hers was on the sidewalk. This cart your talking about has the cooler propped up off the sidewalk. Maybe someone can correct me if I’m wrong on that.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Sean here from SVP.

    Good news — the judge didn’t have google maps. Got the tickets dismissed and are heading to Midtown South Precinct to try to get the cart back.

    We can debate later whether cart seizure is a fair sanction for having a milk crate on the sidewalk.

  • Good news indeed!

  • Does it make a difference if the cooler is “attached” to the cart? It is on some of ML’s favorite carts including the burger one you mention.

  • way to go sean!

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    Well, we hit a setback — precinct sent the hot dog cart to Brooklyn. That usually slows things down a week or two.

    But I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for all the phone calls and words of support. We’ll have to do a little celebration for Ms. Jaramillo’s on her first day back, whenever it is.

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    Pretty sure such cart that shall go unamed does prop up the cooler. Maybe someone reads the rules and is properly licensed?

  • cop: your honor, it was an honest mistake. i had nothing else to measure it except for these really really big feet. (turns to jury) ladies. ::wink::

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