Take a virtual walk through Midtown and learn about some of the food carts and food trucks that serve this neighborhood. We will discuss the history of street vending, the landscape of vending in the city today, and the regulations in NYC, including the impacts of a recent major reform to city law. Along the way we will check out some of our favorite spots, and talk to the vendors themselves about their food and the challenges of running a street food business. We wish we could pass out tastings with everyone, but we will share the spots that we visit to check out on your own.
Brian and his son Sam have set an ambitious goal: to make a traditional dish from every country in the world. They’ve been making their way through the countries alphabetically and documenting their process in a wonderful video series featuring cooking demos, insights on ingredients and culinary traditions, and of course, Sam’s taste test. Join us a for a live episode, where Brian will share what goes on behind the scenes making the videos, discuss where to find ingredients from every country on Earth, and do a cooking demo with one of his recent creations. So join us if you’ve ever wondered how to make Afghanistan’s Kabuli Pulao or Antiguan Johnny Cake (yes, they’re still on the A’s, but there are a lot of countries to get through!)
We are teaming up with our friend and renowned pizza expert Scott Wiener from Scott’s Pizza Tours to explore the world of mobile pizza and discuss the history and culture of pizza on the street with some special guests. We will be joined by Ernie Wong of Shanghai Mobile Kitchen Solutions, one of the city’s leading fabricators of food carts and trucks, who will teach us about what goes into building and operating a pizza oven on wheels in New York City.
You may have seen people collecting cans and bottles, dependent upon the few cent deposit for their livelihood. For the past 10 years, Sure We Can has provided a sustainable and safe space for this community to thrive. The non-profit organization is not only a recycling center, but also an art space, community center, garden, composting facility, and a place for the local community to learn about sustainability. Join us as we chat with executive director Ryan Castalia and take a virtual tour through this incredible facility in Brooklyn, where we may even get to meet a canner or two to hear their stories.
Due to the precarious nature of their business, New York City street vendors’ livelihoods are dependent on knowing and exercising their rights. In this virtual program, we will look at examples that illustrate how vendors navigate the city’s legal and regulatory environment, including the complex permitting process. We also examine how street vendors have engaged, historically and today, with the political process through collective action and advocacy, and explore how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting vendors and the industry as a whole in the current moment. We will joined by Matt Shapiro, legal director of the Street Vendor Project, who will share insights on the permitting system, as well legislation before the City Council to reform the vending system, Intro 1116.
Street vending has been a part of New York City’s public life for hundreds of years, often taken up by newcomers to the country and New Yorkers excluded from the formal economy, as a means of starting a small business. For this special virtual program, Cindy VandenBosch and Andrew Gustafson will explore street vending history from the 19th century to today and examine how the city’s physical, culinary, artistic, and legal landscape has been shaped by vendors. We’ll also be joined for a special visit from street vendor MD Alam, calling in from his food cart Royal Grill Halal Food to share with us how his business has survived during COVID-19.
This program is fundraiser for the non-profit Street Vendor Project, a project of the Urban Justice Center, and is not part of our ongoing Virtual Program series or included in our Membership program
We are pleased to welcome back food photographer and writer Dave Cook of Eating In Translation to discuss a family of fascinating cuisines. Many of us might not have had the opportunity to enjoy the food of Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, or Ghana; these and many more can be found throughout New York City. Dave will share his mouthwatering photos, walk us through different dishes, and let us know where we can try them in all five boroughs.
The Vendy Awards were an annual celebration of the best street vendors in New York City hosted by the Street Vendor Project, a project of the Urban Justice Center. It was by far our favorite day of the year, full of food, friends, and a celebration of the vibrant vendor community. After 15 years, the Vendy Awards took its last bow in 2019. To look back on the previous ten years, our resident foodie Brian Hoffman will reminisce with Matt Shapiro, the Legal Director at the Street Vendor Project, about the winners, the food, and the evolution of the local street food scene during that time.
Ten years ago our very own Brian Hoffman embarked on a journey to discover the most iconic foods in New York City. In addition to creating videos and articles on his blog Eat This NY, he spent years writing for local publications like Midtown Lunch and Gothamist. During that time he ate, explored, and documented the stories and places in New York to get the most iconic slice of pizza, the freshest bagel with cream cheese, and the juiciest delicatessen sandwich, among other specialities. Join him for a look back at his favorite places in the city and to learn about why certain dishes have become such important cultural icons.