Street vendors and food vendors rallied in front of the city’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protections in Lower Manhattan Thursday.

They chanted, “We apply, you deny.” People at the rally said the waitlist for food vendor permits and licenses for general venues has been an ongoing problem.

What You Need To Know

  • Street vendors rallied in Lower Manhattan Thursday
  • The rally was in response to the NYPD and DSNY confiscating the merchandise of illegal vendors
  • The Street Vendor Project says it would like to see 1500 spots released over the next 5 years 
  • Sources say the rent from the tenants was not covering the cost to operate the incubator

The city’s Health Department reports about 9,500 people are waiting on a permit to sell food.

The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, which oversees the general vendor licenses, said about 11,000 people are waiting for a vendor license permit.

The NYPD and the Department of Sanitation said they responded to complaints from residents in Jackson Heights claiming the streets were a mess. Officers confiscated the merchandise of illegal vendors on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens.

The rally Thursday was in response to that sweep and a comment made by City Councilmember Francisco Moya encouraging people to follow the rules and vend legally.

Filiberto Diaz has gotten multiple tickets. He addressed the group through a translator.

“I started selling food after I was fired from a job at the beginning of the pandemic. At that time, we were doing really well. The city wasn’t harassing us like they do now,” Diaz said.

Mohamed Attia is the managing director of the Street Vendor Project, which advocates for the workers.

“It was really disappointing to see this [sweep in Jackson Heights] happening because thousands of vendors across the city want to make a living,” Attia said.

Francisco Moya released a statement in response to the sweep of the vendors on Monday:

“I have repeatedly stated my support for increasing the number of permits, but I will not support the unsanitary food sales under open subway staircases, sales of counterfeit goods or the sale of stolen goods we see on our streets today,” Moya said.

As for Diaz, he said he is looking to figure out his next steps.

“Now they confiscated my merchandise, they confiscated my food cart, they have given me fines. I have accumulated $6,000 in fines,” Diaz said through a translator.

The Street Vendor Project says they would like to see the release of 1,500 new spots over the next five years. The Health Department said there is no delay in permits being issued to eligible food vendors.