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.>> Continue reading
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
Get a snapshot of the life of a food photographer. Brooklynite Clay Williams will join us to discuss his experience working on cookbooks, at the James Beard Foundation, on projects for the New York Times, and being the official food photographer of the Vendy Awards. In addition to sharing his stories and mouth-watering photos, he’ll give us some tips on how to get great food photos from our phones for Instagram or just your own personal memories.
In this virtual program, Turnstile Tours founder Cindy VandenBosch examines how children’s books, novels, paintings, and postcards have depicted New York City’s street vendors, and the foods and merchandise they sell over time. From hot corn and baked pears to knishes and sweet potatoes, she will dive into vendor stories depicted in works including the 1808 book “Cries of New York,” documentation from the Works Progress Administration, and images by William Chappel (pictured), Lou Barlow, and Raymond Ewer, among others.
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
This weekend marks the end of an era, as the Essex Street Market will be moving from the building it has occupied since 1940 into a new facility across Delancey St in the Essex Crossing development. The new Essex Market will have nearly all the same vendors as the old market, plus 15 additions, in a larger space that will be more convenient for shoppers and vendors.
The old market building had its own charms, and it represented an important period in New York City’s history, when Mayor Fiorello La Guardia fought to keep food affordable for New Yorkers and to provide indoor space for the city’s growing population of street vendors in the midst of the Great Depression. As we say goodbye to the old market, we are looking back at the history of the city’s public markets, and what happened to the rest of them. >> Continue reading
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