Archive for 'Street Vendor Issues'

777 Third Ave. Building to Open Loading Dock for Food Trucks

Crain’s New York first reported yesterday that the 777 Third Avenue Building at East 48th street will open its loading dock to food trucks starting this coming Monday, October 29. Thus far, the lineup is Eddie’s Pizza, Luke’s Lobster, Comme Ci Comme Ca, and Frites N Meats, and the loading dock will feature one food truck each day. Midtown Lunch is pleased to note that the realtors, Sage Realty Corp., see the food trucks as an amenity to the building, and will even install a food truck camera so it’s easier for Lunchers to duck out when lines are short. We hope this will kick off a trend in Midtown, leaving more parking space for food truck vendors and less cause to worry about parking tickets from the PoPo.

Mr. Softee Battles Heat Up This Year in Midtown


Did you catch that article last week in the NYPost that uncovered the cut-throat (literally) business of finding a spot to park a soft serve ice cream truck? We’ve long known that aside from public property and the Parks Department, no vendor can actually own his or her spot. There is an unwritten “gentlemen’s agreement” that certain vendors have nurtured certain spots. There are thousands of street corners all across the city.

Ask the Street Vendor Project or the New York City Food Truck Association. When you start a mobile food business, you need to introduce yourself into the food truck community in a safe, gracious way instead of trying to push somebody else out of their spot. Disagreements still occur with trucks and cart owners who break that “vendor code.” We’ve seen the disputes on the street and more recently on Twitter.

But based on the Post article, fights over spots continue to occur and they are getting more and more violent.

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Public DOH Hearing For Food Cart Regulations Happens Today

The hearing to discuss the issues and ideas regarding food cart regulations that we told you about last month will be taking place this morning. The hearing will commence at 10am in the boardroom of the Department of Health on the 3rd Floor, 125 Worth Street. Sean Basinski from the Street Vendor Project and many street vendors themselves will be present to testify and hopefully get some answers and viable solutions from reps of the DOH. The hearing is open to the public so anybody that is downtown or has the time to come support the vendors is encouraged to attend.

DOH is Finally Fighting the Food Truck Black Market

People are making lots of money from food trucks and carts. And I’m not even talking about the chefs and entrepreneurs that are serving up street meat, lobster rolls, and korean tacos. I’m talking about the permit holders who are selling (or leasing out) food vending permits on the black market for 100 times (literally) what the DOH charges for these permits.

WNYC News posted another exposé on the illegal black market that almost all of the new school vendors have to support if they want to operate their business. The article features a candid interview with Korilla BBQ’s Eddie Song, in addition to a visit to a Brooklyn commissary where the shady business is done. Those of us who follow the food truck industry have known about these issues for years. There have been well-documented arrests and articles about these concerns and I think we all agree that it should absolutely be possible for an entrepreneur to begin a food vending business without breaking the law.

And yesterday also brings news that the Department of Health is finally taking steps to fix this broken system.

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Want to Get Your Photo in Our NYC Street Food Book?

Bian Dang Truck

In case you haven’t heard Blondie and I are writing a book about the best New York City street food and fellow Midtown Lunch contributors Clay Williams and Donny Tsang are shooting the photography. Naturally Midtown Lunch fav spots are included and we’d love to have pictures of Lunchers as well! If you want to get your pic in the book either modeling your lunch or standing in line, Donny will be at Bian Dang on 53rd St between Park and Lex at 1:15 (and Clay was at Comme Ci Comme Ca on 36th St and Broadway a little earlier, but might still be there now.) Tomorrow, Clay will be at Kimchi Taco Truck on 47th and Park at 1pm. If you stop by, say hi and tell them you love Midtown Lunch.

More New Food Trucks Hitting the Streets Every Day

Hallelujah! Food truck season is officially upon us. We’ve already told you about Urban Lobster, Chinese MirchMunchie Mobile, and Blend Latin Cuisine which have all debuted in the last few weeks. And it turns out this is just the beginning…

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Food Trucks Team Up With City Meals

Now through May 15, 35 of our favorite food trucks will be helping to raise funds for Citymeals-on-Wheels, an organization that delivers meals to the city’s housebound elderly. All the trucks will be collecting donations, while two rotating trucks will donate 5% of their revenue each day. It’s a partnership with the New York City Food Truck Association and you can find a list of participating trucks here. Who knew that Korean tacos could actually be used for good?

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.

Hearing to Lower $1000 Vendor Fines Takes Place Today

As you may know by now, the Street Vendor Project has been working on passing two bills that will lower the price of tickets for food vendors. The tickets can now cost up to $1000 per violation . And the violations might be as minor as setting up a foot too close to an intersection. If a vendor gets a few of these tickets, it can easily put them out of business.

There will be a hearing at City Hall today starting at 10am to get these bill passed. All who are available to come out and show their support are encouraged. I will be there representing Midtown Lunch and fighting to save our vendors from being shut down due to exorbitant fines.

You can read the composed testimony I will be giving and watch a short documentary about the campaign after the jump.

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Are Mobile Food Trucks Becoming Less Mobile?

One of the allures of food trucks (aside from cheap, delicious food) is the fact that they are able to move around the city to bring the food to a wide audience. You never know where they will be unless you follow them on Twitter, Facebook or the ML Twitter Tracker. Most have a set schedule from week to week to ensure equal love to all the hungry neighborhoods of New York.

However, more and more food vendors are settling down to one particular neighborhood. In Midtown, Uncle Gussy’s, Jianetto’s Pizza, and Valducci’s can usually be found at the same spot day in and day out. Downtown, you’ll always find Souvlaki GR and Our Heroes. Even Wafels & Dinges have become a little more idle with three of their carts always parked at the same place — one at Columbus Circle and two at Central Park.
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