Mayor Bloomberg Comes Out on Both Sides of the Food Truck Issue

calexicoPhoto courtesy of Eater

I have to admit, when Mayor Bloomberg’s office submitted a letter in opposition to Council Member Jessica Lappin’s proposed anti-food truck law, I was pretty surprised.  There is no question that food trucks are hated by the rent paying business owners in New York City, and if there is one thing you can always count on with Bloomberg- it’s siding with the rent paying business owners.  Well, it turns out the Mayor’s support was in fact too good to be true.   On Friday morning Bloomberg spoke out against food trucks on his radio show:

“The Health Department does not have the staff to go and do it the way [Lappin] wants, but we’re trying to find another way to accomplish it because she is right… Moving stores into the streets is not what the streets were designed for, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. We are moving stores into the streets and they sit there and they park and they take up parking places and they block traffic.”

Really?  But that’s not what you said on Wednesday!

The letter the Mayor’s office sent to the City Council hearing on Wednesday stated that we need to “balance the need for a congestion and pollution free environment with the need for small business owners and their employees to earn a living.”  So which one is it?  Do we need balance… or is there no place for “stores on the streets”?

And if that’s not enough to make you sick of stupid politician backtracks… you can watch this video of Mayor Mike appearing on MSNBC last year calling the Calexico cart fantastic (in a segment meant to pit him against the Mayor of Portland in an argument over whose street food is better.)

Liveblogging: City Council Anti-Food Truck Hearing
Anti-Food Truck Council Member Lappin Says It’s Ok to Break Parking Laws if Nobody Complains
Anti Street Vending Law Officially Introduced; Opposition Growing Louder


  • He’s a two faced duplicitous wanker

  • Is it ok if we call him a cunt?

  • A.K.A. “politician”

  • If streets are not designed for anything but driving, then let’s get ANYTHING not driving related off the streets. If the sidewalks were made for walking, then same logic applies…get all non-walking related stuff off the sidewalks.

    No vendors, no food trucks, no vendors of newspapers, hats, gloves, watches, shoes, dvds or anything else on the street. This includes homeless I suppose. Streets/sidewals not made for sleeping! GET OFF!

    I hate politicians so much.

    You know what…if this was going to be a problem, then the FIRST truck should not have been allowed. Now you have many people who have invested money, time, effort and they will be punished for it. They will also be punished the ineptitude of the govt for not letting them know BEFORE they made the investment, what would be or not be allowed. But hey, politicians screw people all the time and why should this be different?

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    I’m not a big fan of Bloomy but he makes a logical point about streets being designed for moving traffic and not blocking it. A food truck parked along a Red Hook baseball field is different than parking on 48th St in midtown.

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      Having said that, I agree with Lou’s last point about consistency. It does suck if new truck owners will be stuck.

    • how is a parked truck blocking traffic? The trucks parked in the 40/50′s off 6th ave are not blocking traffic in the slightest bit. Its not like they are doubleparked, unlike “other” trucks, nor are they blocking the crosswalks.

  • I understand the Mayor’s logic as well, but other commercial vehicles (FedEx, Fresh Direct) in areas like Midtown cause far greater problems then food trucks… so if you truly believe what you say, then everybody should be banned.

    The simple truth is that food trucks take business away from rent paying businesses, and Bloomberg is on the side of rent paying businesses. If the Government wants to have an argument over whether or not food trucks have a right to exist without paying
    “rent”, that’s a valid discussion to have. I’m actually conflicted about that particular issue…

    What I’m sick of, is these politicians using BS excuses like “parking” or “using the streets for what they are designed for”, as if getting rid of food trucks would be a public service… and that’s BS. Getting rid of food trucks would be a service to Midtown brick and mortar businesses, not to the people who work in Midtown.

  • If the politicians want to help and not harm hardworking people, what they should do is work to create vending zones. Times change and a real free market requires evolution not stagnation. Create laws that protect people, but don’t make good people doing good things suffer. Food trucks don’t take up more space than delivery trucks. If each street from avenue to avenue had 2 spots to be rented by a food truck, then I think there would be plenty of space. Each street could have different areas zoned out based on the lay of the land.

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    Yep, it’s food trucks, not UPS trucks and independent bus companies, that are the ones double-parked all over the city which leads to crazy backups and cabs darting in and out of lanes to avoid them.

  • RE: “Really? But that’s not what you said on Wednesday!”

    And guess what, that probably will NOT be what he says next Thursday.

    But, who the hell is listening in the first place?

    Carrion, please.

  • As a lawyer, I find bloomberg’s entire mayoral career to be detestable. Changing term limits (buying off councilmembers after the public voted against the extension to vote him in), killing smoking in private bars, calories on fast food menus, etc. This guy is the most paternalistic F**Kface ever to be in office in my time in NY. This is just another notch on his horrific legacy belt…I hope he chokes on a fishbone.

    • Thought people liked the smoking ban and calorie posting. It also set the cornerstone for a nationwide movement which is definitely progress.

      I was in support for both because people are generally idiots and need some guidance to keep from killing themselves via smoke or crappy food.

    • Couldn’t have said it better myself

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    UPS, FedEx, and other delivery trucks stop (usually) for a brief time to drop off goods which have been paid for. These goods have been paid for and so has the delivery’s all part of commerce. Everyone gets deliveries so everyone accetps that delivery trucks parking on the street, while annoying, is necessary. To prevent delivery would throw a big wrench in the coggs of commerce, so that’s not going to change.

    That’s way different than a business setting up shop in the street and selling goods to the public. As a taxpayer, we all pay for the upkeep of streets. But not all taxpayers eat street food, so why are they entitled to use the street? Why is the Pita Guy entitled to using our tax-funded streets when Pret and ABP have to find a storefront? Of course Bloomy likes tenants – their landlords pay income tax and property tax. I believe this is a case of something for nothing, and that’s probably not gonna fly when the city is broke.

    • Exactly… which is why I’m saying, let’s be honest about the discussion! This is about $$$ plain and simple- not parking or standard of living or who owns the streets.

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      FedEx, UPS and other vendors park illegally non-stop. They receive tickets every day (walk by trucks and count the envelopes in the windsheilds). To them, these tickets are a cost of doing business. However, no one tells FedEx if they get 2 parking tickets they are going to revoke their business license. Just like delivery vendors, street vendors should be able to accumulate parking tickets, pay them and factor them in as a cost. Food trucks compose a tiny fraction of the number of vehicles that the other vendors do, so the argument against them as a parking / traffic impediment is so thin its laughable.

      Also, saying that delivery service is necessary and therefore a legitimate excuse to break traffic law is ridiculous. Deliveries could be accomplished without parking illegally – just more expensively. DHL and the USPS use hand trucks and bins on wheels in many parts of the city. In my opinion, FedEx has every right to park illegally if they think they’ll save more in time than they’ll pay in parking tickets. To give them carte blanche to do it while imposing strict rules on other businesses does not seem legitimate to me.

      Additionally, everyone does not use delivery services just like everyone does not consume street food. However, I’m sure the delivery services (and to some extent their customers) pay much more in taxes and campaign contributions than the street vendors. This is a great example of selective enforcement in order to benefit certain constituents.

  • As usual, bloomy is doing the political two step like they all do. He is just better at it than most. Why the hell did you New Yorkers allow him to be reelected in the first place? Hell, he set the terms of the coronation, and now you have to live with it for what, three more years of utter stupidity. Good luck. You’re going to need it.

  • I told everyone I could to avoid putting the shmuck back in office. As to the smoking/ calorie counter rules, if people are too stupid to know that both are harmful to your health, then the government’s impositions are going to be useless anyways. But what REALLY bothers me is the fact that it is not the govn’t's job to enact such paternalistic laws. It’s a total OVERSTEP on the government’s part. Next thing you know they’ll be monitoring how much alcohol one person can buy in any given time period. Let’s kiss more freedoms goodbye…since it’s for our “health.” Why not outlaw booze and cigarettes in the first place, since they are bad for our health…? Where does it stop?

    Bloomberg is and has always been a manipulative fair weather bastard (and this comes from someone who generally doesn’t give 2 sh*ts about politics), so nothig he does is shocking anymore. And yes, I still hope the guy chokes on a wing and f’ing expires, like his term should have a year ago….

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      Smoking in bars: If Dumbass A smokes and Person B inhales it secondhand at a bar every night, I’ll pay for both of their healthcare w/ taxes. As long as that’s the case, you can shove your cigarette up your ass and smoke outside or at home.

      Calorie Counts: If we can put nutritional facts on packaging why is calorie counts at restaurants such a jump? Its just giving consumers information to make educated decisions. No one is saying don’t eat your 1000 calorie Chipotle burrito. If the calories hurt your eyes / feelings then that’s your problem. Many people in this city are not educated about health and can’t tell that something may not be healthy at face value. Again, as long as taxpayers have to pay for healthcare, it benefits everyone to at least give people some leg up towards a healthy lifestyle.

      Beverage Tax: Your Snapple-An-Hour habit will probably shorten your life but no one elses. You read the nutritional info and you aren’t afraid of obesity or diabetes so drink up – that’s your right. It sucks that I’ll pay for your insulin but that’s the USA.

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