A Brief History of NYC Street Vending | Virtual Fundraiser for the Street Vendor Project

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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

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A Look Back at the Vendy Awards with the Street Vendor Project’s Matt Shapiro | Virtual Program

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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.

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Eating In Translation with Dave Cook | Virtual Program

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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 BackstreetsThe New York TimesSavoring Gotham: A Food Lover’s Companion to New York City, and many other publications.

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Street Organizing: A Conversation with Sean Basinski | Virtual Program

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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.

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NYC Street Vendors: How Can We Help Them? | Virtual Program

Street vendors rally on the steps of city hall with signs that read I love immigrant NY and Support NYC smallest businesses and Help us to serve you

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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.

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National Manufacturing Day Tours, Oct. 4

Ferra Designs metal design and fabrication workshop at the Brooklyn Navy Yard

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.

National Manufacturing Day Tours

icon-gears  Brooklyn Navy Yard: Inside Industry // FRI, Oct 4, 9:30am 
icon-truck  Wafels & Dinges Factory Tour // FRI, Oct 4, 10am

Join the Final Vendy Awards, Sep. 21

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

icon-calendar  SAT, Sep 21, 12pm
  20+ street vendors, all you can eat and drink
  Governors Island

Testifying at NY City Council: Lift the Caps!

Street vendors rally on the steps of city hall with signs that read I love immigrant NY and Support NYC smallest businesses and Help us to serve you

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

Celebrate NYC’s Best Street Food at the Vendy Awards

For more than a decade, the Vendy Awards have been celebrating the unique – and delicious – contributions that street vendors make to this great city. The event takes place on Governors Island, where 25 of the best vendors gather for an all-you-can-eat-and-drink extravaganza. The lineup of vendors will be announced later this summer, and every year it is a great cross-section of the diverse vendor community, with categories including Best Dessert, Best Market Vendor (to acknowledge all the amazing pop-up vendors), Rookie of the Year, and the coveted Vendy Cup. All proceeds from the event benefit the Street Vendor Project, a non-profit organization that supports and advocates for vendors, a project of the Urban Justice Center.

Saturday, Sep. 22, 2018 | Governors Island 

Finding a World Cup Squad to Root for through Street Food

The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off yesterday, and we’re struggling to find a team to support. So we decided to turn to some of the street food and market vendors that we work with to find a substitute for the disappointing USMNT. Of the 32 squads playing in Russia, we’ve whittled it down to these 10 – notice none of them are favorites or powerhouses, just respectable teams with sizable NYC diasporas and delicious food.

Belgium

One of the highlights of the 2014 World Cup was US goalkeeper Tim Howard’s performance in the first knockout game against Belgium, when he made a World Cup-record 15 saves. The US still lost, and this staggering achievement overshadowed just how spectacularly the Belgians outplayed the Americans. They are a very, very good team in a weak group that seem to have an easy path to at least the quarterfinals (sorry, England). Kevin de Bruyne absolutely smoked the US as a 22-year-old, and now he’s developed into one of the world’s best midfielders.>> Continue reading