Are New Yorkers Buying The Argument For More Street Vendors?

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Whether you’re on Canal Street in Manhattan, Fordham Road in the Bronx or Roosevelt Avenue in Queens, chances are you’ve walked past a street vendor in New York hawking their wares in the last few days, from key chains to knock-off handbags. You may have also passed a guy two blocks earlier selling hot dogs and pretzels from a food cart. And, on the block ahead, you can see the lady who draws caricatures for the tourists. Now, think carefully- did you see any of them with a permit on display to sell their goods?

The NYPD raided an illegal open-air street market in Jackson Heights on Tuesday, but their effort is only a drop in the bucket. Meanwhile, a group called The Street Vendor Project is pressing the city to issue more permits to street vendors. Where do New Yorkers stand on this quality-of-life issue? To find out, WOR street reporter Natalie Migliore found an open space between two vendors in Times Square and set up shop for 710 WOR’s Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning program to ask people about the vendors.

One pedestrian told Migliore the city has enough street vendors already, and some of the ones they have are less than acceptable. “I think there is an overabundance. I’ve seen some pretty outlandish things come from those trucks. I’ve seen guys get their water for cooking their hot dogs out of puddles. I’ve seen some pretty uncomfortable things, so I tend to avoid them. They reuse most of the oil. It might taste good for the beginning, but you’re going to regret it.”

Most of the New Yorkers Migliore talked to said they have no use for what the vendors are selling in the first place. One man said, “I think most of the product that they have on those carts are illegal. They’re manufactured, you know, underground, and the companies that deserve the profits don’t get them.”

Another pedestrian echoed that sentiment. “I have real bags, and I mean, look at them...they know they’re fake. I go to the stores, Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, and buy the real stuff. Come on now, this fake stuff they’re selling to tourists- it’s not good!”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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