Close out 2020 with us as we celebrate all of the amazing museums, non-profits, and cultural institutions that we have featured on our virtual programs this year. We will have special guests from several different organizations that will share brief updates on their work and what they are looking forward to in 2021, including the Street Vendor Project, Think!Chinatown, Makerspace, South Street Seaport Museum, Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, Gowanus Dredgers, Lilac Preservation Project, Prospect Park Alliance, Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka, and the Reher Center. Check out all of the non-profits that have participating in our programs this year, and please consider making a year-end donation.>> Continue reading
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
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.
Many fairs, festivals, and food bazaars, rooted in culinary traditions from all over the world, have been postponed or cancelled this spring. New York-based photojournalist Dave Cook will lead a virtual tour through all corners of the city to look at the past, and the future, of these beloved events. Since 2005 his website Eating In Translation has explored lesser-known food in the five boroughs of the city and, occasionally, farther afield. Dave’s work has also appeared in The Art of Eating; Culinary Backstreets, The New York Times, Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover’s Companion to New York City, and many other publications.
We are thrilled to sit down with Sean Basinski, the founder and former director of the Street Vendor Project. Sean will walk us through his journey from law student to running a food cart in New York City to being an advocate and organizer of street vendors throughout the city. We’ll learn about the early days of the Street Vendor Project, some of their successes, and how Sean grew the organization into a strong member based advocacy group with over 2,000 members.
- Watch our interview with current SVP Director Mohamed Attia
- Read about the Lower the Fines and Lift the Caps campaigns on our blog
- Watch a video about the 2019 Vendy Awards finalists
- Support the Street Vendor Project
There are as many as 20,000 street vendors in New York City, most of whom are immigrants. This program will focus on the impact of the current public health crisis on the lives and livelihoods of New York City’s street vendors, including an interview with Mohamed Attia, Executive Director of the Street Vendor Project, a membership-driven project that is part of the Urban Justice Center, a non-profit organization that provides legal representation and advocacy to various marginalized groups of New Yorkers.
Celebrate National Manufacturing Day on Friday, Oct. 4 on a guided tour at the Brooklyn Navy Yard focused on interior design and fabrication The tour will begin with an introduction to the Yard’s story, with an emphasis on the diverse array of products, goods, and objects designed and manufactured on-site over the last two centuries. Next, visitors will walk the 30,000-square-foot factory floor of Ferra Designs, a company that specializes in custom-built architectural metalwork, and visit the studio of textile maker AVO, and speak directly to some of the craftspeople redefining manufacturing and making at the Yard today. This tour is great for anyone interested in art, design, craft, and manufacturing as well as those interested in history and the continued social and economic impact of the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Metalworking and woodworking is one of the largest manufacturing sectors in New York City, but it is eclipsed by food production, processing, and packaging, which employs more than 17,000 New Yorkers. On Oct. 4 we will also be hosting a tour of de Royal Dinges Factory, a commercial kitchen and food truck commissary that produces more than 7,000 waffles daily for Wafels & Dinges, one of the most successful street food businesses in the city (and finalist at this year’s Vendy Awards). Visitors will learn how commissaries work to support the thousands of food carts and trucks around the city, walk through the production line, and even get to put their hands in some dough to make their own authentic Liège wafel.
The best day of the year is fast approaching: Saturday, September 21, 2019, the day of the 15th – and final – New York City Vendy Awards. For 15 years, the Street Vendor Project has been convening carts, trucks, and pop-ups to serve up the best street food New York City has to offer, in order to raise awareness about the plight of vendors and raise money for their vital mission. Started in 2005 with just four vendors gathered in commissary garage in the East Village, and attended by just 250 guests, the Vendys have grown into one of the city’s premiere food events, featuring two dozen vendors and 2,000+ attendees flocking to Governors Island.
This year’s competition will feature three categories instead of the usual five: Best Dessert, Best Freshman (for first-time Vendy competitors), and the All-Star Vendy Cup, featuring 15 vendors that have collectively earned 25 nominations, nine Vendy Awards, and three Vendy Cup championships, including two finalists from the first Vendys in 2005, Tony Dragon’s and NY Dosas (see the full list of 2019 nominees). The event is all-you-can-eat-and-drink, and all of the proceeds benefit the Street Vendor Project. This may be the final Vendys, but SVP will continue to support and celebrate the vendor community, so stay connected, and you can prepare for the Vendys by joining one of our Food Cart Tours.
15th Annual Vendy Awards
On April 11, the New York City Council Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing held a hearing on a package of bills affecting street vendors, most important among them a proposal that would raise the artificial cap put on the number of mobile food vendors that has been in place since 1983. For the third time in six years, we were at City Hall with the Street Vendor Project to make our voices heard.
Intro 1116 would take several steps to address the issue of black-market permit renting. While Mobile Food Vending Permits only cost $200 for two years, they can be renewed indefinitely, and there is a hard cap of 5,100 permits available. As a result, very few permits come back into circulation, and most permit holders don’t actually vend, but rent their permit to working vendors; the going rate is currently around $25,000.>> Continue reading