Uncle Gussy Reminds Everyone That Truck Legality is Still a Gray Area
After yesterday’s incident on 55th Street, the owner of Uncle Gussy’s (an old school Greek vendor on Park and 51st) felt compelled to send us this email:
My name is Nick and I operate Uncle Gussy’s.
I just read your article on what is happening with the food trucks and their issues with other food trucks. I know both Papa and Eddies Pizza (both have excellent pizza) [but yesterday] there was a chaotic scene in Midtown. They both worked things out, for which I am glad they did (Papa has been there for quite a while.) But if trucks start making a circuit out of this area you better believe they will close that street to all vendors, mobile or not.
I too am a vendor and I tend to try and avoid the spotlight, just to avoid this problem. [My family's cart] has been stationed on one corner for the past 39 years. The owners of both buildings know us very well, so far so good, no problems. Once they see that more trucks start coming what happens to us??? The building manager specifically told me that they would block the whole street off and no vendors- not even a pushcart- will be allowed there. A few 311 calls, community board calls, political power, and etc.. and its over.
I was around in the mid 80s when they vanished all trucks from the street. They even tried to get rid of cart vendors. I believe with your website we can all prevent this problem. Now it is in my heart and common courtesy not to roll up next to any vendor with food, because it does cause commotion. Again I am not writing this letter for my interest alone but for the sake of all vendors. There must be a resolution to this. We just upgraded to a truck, and I believe the city is trying to put a curve on this trend. I urge that all of us pay attention and respect one another in regards to this issue.
I’m lucky to be were I am today, I do not know what tomorrow holds. I pray every day that we are allowed to work. I believe that all trucks should get a shot, but always remember the elements we face on the street.
Our legality as trucks is a grey area. DOT does not allow vending from any metered space, the health dept has no concern over that. And Jessica Lapin has an agenda for us food trucks.
I know that the people love us, its a new trend, and I believe it’s a great thing. But when you see a fellow vendor working, think before you act. I see pictures of trucks next to hot dog vendors. Those guys have been in the streets for years, no twitter or any media just hard work. Now I know they might not be the cleanest and neatest (I believe in good hygiene, and cleanliness is a must) but that does not mean we have to step all over them.
I’ve been on the street since I was about 10 years old vending with my uncles and family all over NY. I am now 33 and I have to be honest I have never seen it like this. It is a very tough business and things are getting tougher. I truly hope with this email, we can create a committee of some sort. Maybe this can be directed to the Street Vendor Project? Again, thank you.