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Mayor Adams Announces Steps to Reform and Modernize Vending Regulations, Expanding Legal Opportunities for Street Vendors While Remaining Committed to Managing Public Space

May 25, 2022

Mayor Adams Supports Business Development by Committing to Reducing Draconian Penalties for General and Mobile Food Vendors and Cutting Red Tape

Fulfills Key Recommendations of Consensus-Driven Street Vendor Advisory Board Report

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced a number of actions to reform and modernize street vending regulations for New Yorkers, cutting red tape and supporting business development for street vendors, while also expanding access to healthy food for consumers. The steps include recommendations put forward by the Street Vendor Advisory Board (SVAB) in a report released today and transmitted to the City Council, which seeks to balance the needs of street vendors, brick-and-mortar businesses, and consumers, while expanding economic opportunity and safety.

“Street vendors are an integral part of New York City’s economy and give communities across our city their unique character, which is why I am thankful the Street Vendor Advisory Board has taken a collaborative and inclusive approach to addressing street vending,” said Mayor Adams. “Together, we can balance the needs of street vendors, brick-and-mortar businesses, and residents. These recommendations do just that by cutting red tape, creating new opportunities for street vendors to operate legally, and improving access to healthy food throughout the five boroughs.”

Through a collaborative six-month process, SVAB members — comprised of stakeholders representing city agencies, street vendors, retail food stores, property owners, small businesses, and community organizations — unanimously developed 16 recommendations for Mayor Adams and the City Council, ranging from specific amendments to local laws to broad, new conceptual approaches to street vending in New York City. The recommendations — which Mayor Adams will begin to implement — include:

  • Introducing business supports tailored to street vendors at New York City’s Department of Small Business Services (SBS);
  • Enhancing the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DOHMH) Green Cart Program to improve access to fresh produce for NYCHA residents;
  • Cutting red tape to:
    • Simplify requirements about the display of goods,
    • Repeal book keeping requirements, and
    • Allow mobile food vendors to keep goods on top of carts;
  • Repealing criminal liability for general and mobile food vendors;
  • Directing the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) to study and pilot the feasibility of new opportunities for street vending in pedestrian plazas, municipal parking lots, and metered parking spots; and
  • Repealing and replacing the inactive Street Vendor Review Panel with a new body that would review and amend time, place, and manner restrictions to street vending, which have not been updated for decades.

Local Law 18 of 2021 requires the SVAB to review and evaluate all state and city laws and rules that together regulate street vending in New York City, in addition to proposing recommendations for reform, which have been submitted to the City Council.

The Adams administration will work alongside the City Council on recommendations where legislation is required, while moving forward immediately with implementing new programs and amending relevant administrative rules. In addition to the reforms that were spurred by the  SVAB process, Mayor Adams is also committed to reducing and aligning penalty schedules for general vendors and mobile food vendors alike — while remaining committed to managing public space and upholding codified time, place, and manner restrictions on vending.

“An equitable economic recovery relies on our ability to harness the potential of all of New York City’s entrepreneurs,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “We thank the Street Vendor Advisory Panel for developing win-win recommendations that support street vendors and brick-and-mortar businesses alike.”

“Our streetscapes hold so much potential to spur additional economic opportunity,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “Creating new spaces for street vending in parking lots and plazas, while balancing the needs of both brick-and-mortar businesses and pedestrians, is a win-win-win.”

“Streamlining requirements, cutting red tape, and creating new spaces for legal street vending balances safety and opportunity for our city’s residents,” said Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Phil Banks. “I thank the Street Vendor Advisory Board for coming together to collaboratively work toward solutions.”

“I thank the board for their dedication to evaluating this complex array of state and city laws related to street vending,” said New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga. “These recommendations cut red tape while creating additional opportunities for legal street vending and a more equitable system for street vendors and brick-and-mortar stores alike.”

“Our city’s street food vendors provide so much for our city — including access to affordable foods and cultural delicacies,” said DOHMH Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “Thank you to Mayor Adams and to the members of the advisory board for their continued partnership in creating a fairer environment for our vendors to thrive in.”

“Thanks to Mayor Adams’ leadership, we look forward to taking a fresh look at how our public space and facilities could efficiently host some of New York City’s hard-working vendors and boost economic development,” said DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “Vendors from our immigrant communities play a vital role in our entrepreneurial economy — we must find ways to advance their needs while also balancing those of pedestrians and local businesses.”

“New York City’s economic recovery has to include support for our city’s street vendors, many of whom are immigrants working toward their American dream,” said SBS Commissioner Kevin D. Kim. “The Street Vendor Advisory Board’s report is clear — if we want to help these diverse entrepreneurs succeed, New York City must simplify requirements, bring clarity to the legal street vending market, and invest deeply in our commercial corridors to support street vendors, pedestrians, and brick-and-mortar storeowners alike.”

“Street vendors — like their brick-and-mortar counterparts — are integral parts of the economic life of our city,” said New York City Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell. “Members of the NYPD are fully committed to working with our partner agencies to always ensure fair and adequate services, while maintaining the quality of life New Yorkers expect and deserve.”

Board members include:

  • Designees from five city agencies: DCWP, DOHMH, DOT, NYPD, and SBS;
  • Mohamed Attia, executive director, Street Vendor Project (street vendor representative);
  • Murad Awawdeh, executive director, New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) (community organization representative);
  • Cheikh Boubacar Fall, U.S. military veteran and street vendor (street vendor representative);
  • David Estrada, executive director, Sunset Park Business Improvement District (BID) (small business representative);
  • Regina Myer, president, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (small business representative);
  •  Randy Peers, president and CEO, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce (small business representative);
  • Sonia Perez, street vendor and member, Street Vendor Project Leadership Board (street vendor representative);
  • Matthew Shapiro, legal director, Street Vendor Project (street vendor representative);
  • Reggie Thomas, senior vice president, Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) (property owner representative); and
  •  Aly Waddy, secretary-treasurer, UFCW Local 1500 (food retail worker representative).

“For centuries, street vendors have been an essential part of the fabric of New York City. From the Bronx to Queens, street vendors ensure under-resourced communities have access to fresh, affordable food, commercial corridors have diversity of business, and tourists get the iconic New York City experience. And now, for the first time ever, street vendors are stakeholders in deciding the future of the industry,” said Mohamed Attia, managing director, Urban Justice Center’s Street Vendor Project. “We look forward to continuing to work with Mayor Adams and the City Council to modernize the vending system, ensuring all street vendors are permitted, and cutting the red tape so our city’s smallest business can truly thrive.”

“Street vendors are an iconic part of New York’s landscape and an indelible part of New York City’s economy and recovery,” said Murad Awawdeh, executive director, NYIC. “We’re thrilled to see the city adopt and implement much-needed protections for our smallest businesses to ensure that our vendors are better able to serve New York communities with less red tape, reduced penalties, and increased opportunities to thrive.”

“Street vending is an important part of our city’s culture,” said Regina Myer, president, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership; and David Estrada, executive director, Sunset Park BID. “Mayor Adams’ swift response to the Street Vendor Advisory Board’s report is a good step toward fully re-envisioning private commerce in public places. We can honor the needs of residents, businesses, and everyone’s quality of life if we manage our shared spaces with fair rules and consistent enforcement.”

“Street vending is an opportunity to revitalize New York City’s economy, impact thousands of lives, and improve the quality of life of New Yorkers. As a disabled U.S. military veteran, street vending provided me the opportunity to build a business in our city for the last 19 years,” said Cheikh Fall, U.S. military veteran and street vendor. “Now more than ever, after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, street vending is a real opportunity to create jobs. For that to be possible, permitting and licensing must be increased, more vending spaces must be created, and vending restrictions and fines should be re-evaluated. By reviewing the laws that govern street vending, major improvements can be achieved.”

“As a food vendor, I have been dealing with an outdated system that kept me on a waitlist for the past 20 years to get a permit and operate lawfully,” said Sonia Perez, food vendor and activist. “After many years of working with the past Council, we were able to have our voices heard. This report is a good first step to reform the vending system, and we’re looking forward to working with the City Council and Mayor Adams to legalize and formalize the work of all street vendors in our city.”

“Today, nearly 20,000 entrepreneurs — primarily immigrants, people of color, military veterans and women — are employed as street vendors, keeping our streets and sidewalks vibrant. Yet for decades, street vendors have struggled with an unequal regulatory system, due to lack of available permits and licenses and strict rules and penalties,” said Matt Shapiro, legal director, Urban Justice Center’s Street Vendor Project. “As New York City reimagines our streets, sidewalks, and plazas to be more equitable and pedestrian-friendly, we are hopeful that the board’s work will result in meaningful opportunities for all street vendors to formalize and legalize their work.”

“Street vending is part of the city’s fabric, and it’s important for stakeholders to collaborate on reforms that ensure fairness for vendors and brick-and-mortar businesses while improving public safety and quality of life for visitors and local communities,” said Reggie Thomas, senior vice president of government affairs, REBNY. “Mayor Adams’ announcement is a much-needed first step toward developing a comprehensive plan, and we look forward to a continued partnership to address the diverse needs of all stakeholders and provide a more equitable system for all.”

“It has truly been an honor to represent the voice of the labor community on the Street Vendor Advisory Board. Our city’s future for an overall economic recovery depends on creating balance and opportunities for all businesses to coexist,” said Aly Waddy, secretary-treasurer, UFCW 1500. “As a board, we made recommendations that covered many diverse opinions. As a representative of brick-and-mortar employees, I was able to add a necessary perspective on behalf of thousands of essential food workers. I look forward to continuing the important work ahead to building better solutions for food vending harmony in our great city of New York.”


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