State bill would allow street-vendor free-for-all in NYC

Legislation would remove cap on licenses and lift limits on locations

New York /
Oct.October 01, 2021 07:00 AM
Sen. Jessica Ramos is the bill's sponsor (Getty, Facebook via Ramos)

Sen. Jessica Ramos is the bill’s sponsor (Getty, Facebook via Ramos)

UPDATED Oct. 1, 2021, 10:52 a.m.: A coalition of advocacy organizations is pushing a state bill to vastly expand street vending across New York City.

The legislation would eliminate the city’s cap on the number of licenses for street vendors. It would also let vendors operate just about wherever and whenever they want, with limited exceptions.

“My underlying belief is that any New Yorker should be able to open their own small business in their neighborhood,” said Sen. Jessica Ramos, the bill’s sponsor.

That view is not shared by commercial landlords and the business improvement districts that represent them. Seeing vendors as competition for brick-and-mortar businesses, these real estate interests were able to stymie pro-vendor city legislation for decades, although a bill raising the cap and loosening some other rules eventually did pass this year.

The state bill, however, would go much further. Aside from providing for unlimited vending licenses and removing location bans, it would vacate street vendors’ records from past citations and misdemeanors related to sidewalk vending, reduce fines and limit street vending violations to citations.

“All the BIDs are very unhappy with this idea,” said Dan Biederman, founder and president of one of those groups, the 34th Street Partnership. “It hurts retail, which is already stressed.”

Under the bill passed by the City Council in January, the city will hand out 400 additional licenses annually for 10 years starting in July 2022, more than doubling the number of licenses.

Currently, holders of vendor licenses can renew them indefinitely for a nominal fee, a system that led to an illicit underground market.

“The lift on the caps is a really, really, really important aspect of this bill, because it doesn’t limit the ability for anyone to to create a street vending small business,” Assembly member Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, who sponsors the Assembly version of the bill.

Support for the legislation follows social media outcry over a street vendor’s illegal stand in the Bronx being raided by the New York Police Department and Department of Sanitation.

In a statement, the Street Vendor Project, an advocacy group for vendors, called on the legislature to “[remove] the barrier to entry to the industry so that vendors may obtain permits and licenses to operate their business in accordance with the law.”

“As we recover from a devastating pandemic, we urge the legislature to invest in economic development strategies that center the most marginalized, supporting street vendors in doing their jobs and acquiring permits and licenses to legalize their work, rather than criminalizing them for trying to provide for their families,” the organization said in a statement.

The state bill would only apply to New York City. The state legislative session will begin in January.

This story has been updated with comments from Dan Biederman.





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    The price of a new home in China’s largest cities fell for the first time since 2015
    New home prices in China’s largest cities fall for first time since 2015
    New home prices in China’s largest cities fall for first time since 2015
    MLB teams agree to pay for some minor leaguers’ housing
    MLB teams agree to pay for some minor leaguers’ housing
    MLB teams agree to pay for some minor leaguers’ housing
    Real estate powers Blackstone’s best quarter ever
    Real estate powers Blackstone’s best quarter ever
    Real estate powers Blackstone’s best quarter ever
    Terreno Realty CEO W. Blake Baird and an aerial of the property (Google Maps)
    Terreno Realty pays $44M for NJ industrial site
    Terreno Realty pays $44M for NJ industrial site
    Madison Realty Capital Co-Founders Josh Zegen and Brian Shatz with a rendering of the River North development (Madison Realty Capital, FXCollaborative)
    Madison Realty’s altered plans for SI complex approved
    Madison Realty’s altered plans for SI complex approved
    Pandemic forces mom-and-pop landlord to sell out
    Pandemic forces mom-and-pop landlord to sell out
    Pandemic forces mom-and-pop landlord to sell out
    Former Washington Prime Group CEO Lou Conforti (Twitter, iStock)
    Washington Prime Group back from bankruptcy; CEO out
    Washington Prime Group back from bankruptcy; CEO out
    PBC's Eli Elefant and 452 Fifth Ave (PBC)
    Elefant’s PBC to liquidate $2B in US real estate, including HSBC building
    Elefant’s PBC to liquidate $2B in US real estate, including HSBC building
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...