Just over two months ago, Adam Sobel of The Cinnamon Snail – one of New York City’s most popular food trucks and the reigning Vendy Cup champion – made the shocking announcement that they would be calling it quits from the streets of New York. Cinnamon Snail had won four Vendy Awards for their big, bold, vegan flavors, garnering long lines at lunch time no matter what neighborhood in the city they parked.
So why did they pull the plug on this hugely popular food truck? Adam discussed the decision with Grub Street, and recently he appeared on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show alongside Street Vendor Project director Sean Basinski. In short, Adam expressed his frustration with the current permit system for mobile food vendors in New York City.>> Continue reading
As promised, Wednesday was an inspiring day, the culmination of years of hard work and campaigning by our partners, vendors, and friends. Though a seemingly small piece of legislation was approved by the New York City Council (and it’s not law yet, as the mayor has promised to veto it), it is something that will have a real impact on the lives of thousands of workers in this city, and the proceedings brought attention to important issues that usually get little public notice.
Our team members Cindy VandenBosch, Rich Garr, Andrew Gustafson, and Brian Hoffman were on hand for the session, though we saw them from slightly different vantage points – Cindy and Rich, from inside the City Council chamber, amidst vendors and supporters; Andrew and Brian, from the sidewalk outside the City Hall gates, then Andrew from an office computer via streaming video.>> Continue reading
Wednesday is a big day for New York City’s street vendors. After months of stalling, the speaker of the City Council (and mayoral candidate) Christine Quinn has finally promised to bring to a vote legislation to reduce and simplify fines imposed on vendors. This vote comes after years of campaigning and lobbying by the Street Vendor Project, including months of plastering posters with Speaker Quinn’s face on carts across the city to pressure her to call the vote.>> Continue reading
A small item in the mayor’s draft budget that was released today caught our attention, because it may have big impacts on the street vendors we work with. Mayor Bloomberg wants to try to collect the millions of dollars in unpaid fines issued to vendors, and he wants to do it by spending $580,000 of city money on lawyers to pursue these so-called scofflaws. What he fails to grasp is the reason why so many fines go unpaid – it’s usually due to poverty and discrimination, not disrespect for the law (read more about this proposal on Gothamist).>> Continue reading
As we all know by now, the actual wind, rain, and storm surges from Hurricane Sandy this weekend were only the beginning. Thousands of people have lost their homes, and whole swaths of neighborhoods have been destroyed. As the weather gets colder this week, it’s more important than ever for those without shelter and power to get hot meals.
Thanks to the New York City Food Truck Association, along with generous help from JetBlue, a number of New York’s best food trucks have been able to provide hot meals to people in need, despite gas shortages and limited road service. Last week, trucks started appearing to donate food to the neighborhoods of Lower Manhattan that were still without power, and they served over 20,000 meals. But as news reports started coming in about the massive devastation in areas like Staten Island and the Rockaways, the food trucks turned their engines to the communities that needed it most.
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As a street vendor we know likes to say, “Food is love.” If that’s so, then the Vendy Awards are a massive, jubilant, gut-busting celebration of that love. Each year, vendors from across New York City are brought to Governors Island not so much to compete, but the share their food and stand up for their rights (though winning the coveted Vendy Cup is a big, big deal – just ask the winners). The event’s sponsor, the Street Vendor Project, which provides advocacy and legal services to vendors, tries to bring together vendors of all backgrounds – humble, immigrant-owned carts from the outer boroughs stand beside slick, high-flying gourmet trucks. And everybody spends the day eating until they can hardly move.
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