CBS: NYC Lawmaker's Plan May Put Street Vendors On Ice
June 10, 2010
NEW YORK (CBS) --
They serve up meals and snacks from trucks and carts parked all over the city, but one local politician says mobile food vendors have an unfair advantage over their competitors – and she wants to do something about it.
They don't get a Con Edison bill or have a traditional storefront, but mobile food vendors who park on the city's streets have become part of the fabric of their respective neighborhoods.
If Councilwoman Jessica Lappin, from the Upper East Side, has her way, though, the food vendors could eventually be put on ice.
"We want these food trucks to feed New Yorkers, not the meter," Lappin said.
She's co-sponsoring a bill that would suspend a food truck vendor's license if he receives two summonses for either idling or feeding a meter, something vendors do for as many as 11 hours each day. A vendor who received a third ticket would lose his license.
"These meters are for people to come in and out and go to the businesses in the neighborhood – these merchants pay rent," Lappin said. "I think there are residents and businesses who started to get upset because they felt like these vending trucks were being abusive."
If this is about more than freeing up space so someone can legally park their Ferrari, Hassan Boubakru says he should be able to conduct his business like anyone else – if he plays by the rules.
Hassan says he spends at least $15 a day, in quarters, to keep his truck parked legally on Lexington Avenue – but, inevitably, he gets a parking ticket. In fact, he gets lots of them, resulting in between $400 and $500 in fines each month.
Other vendors wonder why they specifically are being targeted.
"Where does it stop? Does it stop at the Federal Express trucks that park for hours on end? Does it stop at the Fresh Direct trucks?" Street Sweets food vendor Grant Dimille said.
Councilwoman Lappin's response is simple – she says no one is complaining about those other companies.
The New York City council will hold a hearing about the vendors next Wednesday.