In recent years, the food truck has taken New York City by storm. In a city where space is a premium, food trucks are mobile and convenient, allowing New Yorkers to enjoy their goods just about anywhere. And lucky for food vendors, New York City Council has been trying to make life easier for them and facilitate their growth. Over half a dozen members of the City Council have introduced the Street Vending Modernization Act legislation, which would double the number of food vendor permits over the next seven years. For those who fantasize about a halal truck on every corner, their dream may soon become a reality.
The last time the number of food vendor permits was set was in the 80s. Since then, there’s been a cap of 4,235 permits available at one time. These permits, leased to an individual, are a precious resource, leading to an exploitative shadow economy that oppresses New Yorkers in a cycle of extortion. Of course, the nature of street vendors in the city of New York has changed drastically since the 80s. Food vendors at that time were restricted to the standard hot dog, candied nut and halal stands that have always been synonymous with New York. But nowadays, while New Yorkers still love their halal trucks, a new breed of food truck, serving more “high-end” food, has become popular as well. Food trucks in New York have slowly but surely evolved, going from the classic hot dogs and gyros to everything from grilled cheese to lobster rolls.
Under the new legislation, 600 more licensed vendors would be roaming the streets each year for the next seven years. Out of the 4,200 permits, preference would be given to those 2,500 who were already on the city’s waiting list for permits. 35 of them would be allotted to veterans and people with disabilities. The cost of a two-year permit would go from $200 to $1,000, but that’s also a lot cheaper than the $25,000 it costs on the black market. This legislation is helping to address the restrictions imposed on food vendors that result in thousands of dollars in fines and make running this business even more difficult.