For the past month, teams have been exploring New York City completing scavenger hunt challenges all about street vending. With over 100 teams competing, it has been an intense race, as teams had to complete 40 challenges while also raising money for the Street Vendor Project. Join us for our closing ceremonies as we look at some of the highlights of the competition, and most importantly, announce the winners and award prizes in these categories:
Scavenger Hunt Champion – Cloudy with a Chance of Matzah Balls
Scavenger Hunt Runner-Up – Eat Something New in Queens
Vendor Power Spirit Award – Bones Day
Fundraising Champion – Cloudy with a Chance of Matzah Balls
Food carts are an iconic image of New York City that most New Yorkers pass every day. Even if they stop to enjoy their food, not many take in the beauty and visual appeal of food carts – that’s why photographer Maxwell Schiano published a 64-page zine of his photography celebrating these icons, New York City Vibe, Volume One. In this conversation, we will learn about his process and check out his stunning photos that reveal so many wonderful details about these carts and the people working inside them. We will also be joined by Carina Kauffman-Gutierrez, deputy director of the Street Vendor Project, who will update us on the current challenges vendors face in New York City.
Take a virtual walk through Manhattan’s Financial District and learn about some of the food carts and food trucks that serve this neighborhood. We will check out some of our favorite spots, and talk to vendors about their food, how their businesses have fared during the pandemic, and how they are managing as the city reopens. We wish we could pass out tastings with everyone, but we will share the spots that we visit to check out on your own.
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.
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.