Street Vendors Keeping Fingers Crossed After City Hall Hearing

I had never been to City Hall and certainly never sat through a hearing before. But as I mentioned yesterday morning, I attended one in which the Street Vendor Project (the organizers of the Vendy Awards) and their representatives attempted to pass two bills (Intro. 434 and 435) into law regarding the unreasonable $1000 fines that food vendors are susceptible to.

I was there representing Midtown Lunch and our perspective as food cart lovers. It was a fascinating and eye-opening afternoon. In the morning, the Council Board questioned the five departments that regulate food carts (Mayor’s Office, NYPD, Department of Health, Department of Consumer Affairs, Environmental Control Board) and then testimonies were given from many different perspectives – everybody from vendors, lawyers, historians, and food writers like myself. I actually was the last one to testify at 3:30pm (I guess I was the lowest on the totem pole) and was proud to support the vendors and their plight.

Sean Basinsiki, the Director of the Street Vendor Project, told me it might be a few months before the bills are actually voted on and the outcome is determined, but the turn-out and arguments were compelling and the hopes are high in favor of the vendors.


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