Street Vendors Will be on Governors Island Tomorrow, Along With the Street Vendor Project


It’s been a busy summer at the Street Vendor Project. Both a recent spike in new-wave vendors and a New York Times article about vendor permit fraud brought increased attention to the group, which advocates on behalf of its 750 members. “We’ve been contacted by a lot of radio stations and newspapers,” says Richard Krebs, the project’s legal intern. “Hopefully, word’s getting out there.” They’ve been getting five to 10 new members every week, Krebs says. “The summer’s been busy — as the police have become more aggressive, that’s drawn in more vendors because we can help them with their tickets.”

Tomorrow, the project will be advocating for a cheerier affair, a vendor competition taking place on Governors Island as part of its City of Water Day festivities. Five of the group’s members, including the Dosa Man, Kwik Meal, and the Arepa Lady, will be competing. The Street Vendor Project will have a table to provide information about their work, which includes an ongoing attempt to contact the Department of Investigations about the ramifications of the crackdown on black market permits. “Our vendors are very worried,” Krebs says. “They’re in this situation out of necessity, not choice. They only want to work to make money for their families.”

Krebs says there’s some hope surrounding Councilman Barron’s proposed legislation to increase the number of legal permits, but “at this point, we’ll just wait and see.”