Food Trucks Try to Figure Out What’s Next

After the NYTimes article on Wednesday officially named Midtown off limits for food trucks, you’d think we’d have been left high and dry yesterday. But fortunately for us, there is a strong bond between these mobile food vendors and our hungry bellies, and they don’t want to go down without a fight (the food trucks or our bellies). The scene in Midtown was definitely quieter than usual yesterday, but a few trucks decided to give it another go. Crisp on Wheels, Gorilla Cheese, and Wafels & Dinges all seemed to make it through the lunch shift without too much trouble. Korilla BBQ took to the hinterlands and set up out of bounds on Ninth and 39th Street, and it sounds like the only problem they had was running out of meat. Hell’s Kitchen and Flatiron may get all the love in the coming weeks.

While those guys seemed to do ok, many other trucks decided to not even take a chance. Jamaican Dutchy moved down to the Flatiron District. We can only hope this will convince O’Neill to bring his cart back from the Financial District, but it’s not looking good. Comme Ci, Comme Ca was booted again from their spot on 38th and Broadway. Chef Samir told me last week that they have another spot in mind that doesn’t involve a metered spot. If they have truly discovered a spot in Midtown that is not metered, it’s a gold mine.

But perhaps the biggest loss in Midtown was that Taim announced via Twitter that they would not be at their usual Bryant Park spot due to direct threats from the police. This leads me to believe that certain trucks are being followed on Twitter and their schedules are being tracked. Who knew that the best way to track down our favorite food trucks could backfire on them?

This seems to be a day by day thing. So follow the Twitter Tracker and we’ll report back with more soon. Perhaps the trucks need to just lay low for a few weeks and then this will all blow over and the cops will find something else to occupy their time. I guess only time will tell.


  • Buy a lobbyist. This is a money issue.

  • This makes me angry, is this how the IRA got started?

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    Isn’t that supposed to be the job of the Street Vendor Project?

    I’ve heard from a couple truck owners that they won’t pay the membership dues because the the SVP is not effective.

    However, they did say that they would be happy to pay if they actually provided results.

    Why not make a deal or sign contracts with the vendors that they only have to pay once specific milestones or goals are met?

    Lobbyist group gets results = happy vendors = full kitty at SVP

  • Food trucks are the new sex trafficking. SVP has been completely silent throughout all of this.

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    Maybe I missed something. Didn’t a city agency sell permits to these trucks so they could be vendors? Trucks have to park on the street. Don’t they? Now these permits are effectively being revoked. Smells like a case of fraud.

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      • It’s not fraud. As long as you’re not feeding the meter it’s cool.

        When are these trucks going to tell us what the actual infraction they are breaking as to have to leave their parking spot? When the police come around and tell them to move they need to ask what law/ordinance they are breaking. THEN we can work on changing it.

      • cheese, i thought they had said the law they are now enforcing is that you’re not allowed to vend from a metered parking spot. so yes, it does seem like a bit of a fraud if you’re selling a permit to a truck.

      • Then SVP needs to take someone to court.

  • I saw the Rickshaw Dumpling truck going down 30th near 6th Ave (trucks are NEVER by my tourist-area-infested office), so they may have been booted too. Though I’m sorry the trucks are losing their spots, it’s a win for all of us neglected “not-quite Midtown, not-quite-Flatiron”-ers.

  • I, too, would like to know if SVP will ever respond….or take ANY kind of action….

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    SVP is a completely useless organization! They are a dog without a bark. If it was not for the Vendy Awards they would be irrelevant

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  • The Street Vendor Project is the group that helped Patty’s Tacos on the UES go to court for the exact reasons stated above. They argued that the law didn’t specifically say that food vendors could vend from metered spots. The court upheld the law, and ruled that it does apply to food vendors.

    For years the Street Vendor Project has given a voice and provided legal services to those street vendors who otherwise can’t afford it. (Many of whom don’t speak English as a first language.) They have helped hundreds of vendors get their confiscated carts back from the police, as well as fight ridiculously expensive parking tickets that vendors have been issued for years. I doubt all the vendors they’ve helped see the organization as useless or ineffective.

    • But what are they doing now? They should all crazy Braveheart about this

      William Wallace: Aye, fight and you may die. Run, and you’ll live… at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin’ to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR LUNCH!
      [Scottish army cheers]
      William Wallace: Alba gu bràth!

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    The permite allows you to vend food where you are legally allowed to park. Meters, though, have time limits. If you can find a side street without time limits, there’s no reason you couldn’t vend food from a truck there — the problem is that this just doesn’t exist in Midtown. Just because you have a license doesn’t mean you can ignore other laws — this wouldn’t be a controversy if they were parked in front on fire hydrants, in bus lanes, etc.

    It’s unfortunate, but the vendors knew (or they should have known) the risks when the chose to park there. If you want the situation to change, send a note to your council member, as I will to mine:

  • I was brainstorming a couple minutes ago, and what if they could work out a deal for vacant lot use?

    Black dots are lots.

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    That vacant lot map isn’t totally accurate.

    There is a vacant lot where a YWCA used to stand at the corner of 53rd and Lex. Back in 2007, they were planning a hotel/condos, but ended up paving it over in late 2009 when the lenders foreclosed on the property.

    The location might not work for everyone, but it is right across the street from the E, M, and 6 lines.

    Many times I’ve walked past and thought it would make a great food truck corral at least until they decide to develop it. Charge the vendors some sort of admission.

    • Holy shit! A map with a Google API isn’t entirely accurate? Stop the presses.

      The one on 45th between 5th and 6th is, so I posted it. Granted I can’t see anything because of those “Post No Bills” signs, so for all we know it’s a hole in the ground, literally.

      I’m out of ideas. Any ‘brilliant’ marketer either want to come up with something better, or pay me to, is totally willing to.

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    No taxation without representation! If the city officials and food vendors could just work something out, like the food truck corral idea posted above, then wouldn’t that be a win-win situation?
    I for one will dearly miss Korilla BBQ (though my skinny jeans won’t…)

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