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Mayor Adams Unveils Plan for First-Ever Community Vending Area at Corona Plaza

November 28, 2023

Regulated Community Vending Area Will Keep Corona Plaza a Safe, Clean, and Vibrant Community Space 

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today unveiled a plan to establish the first-ever regulated community vending area at Corona Plaza in Queens. Developed by a group of city agencies led by Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi, in partnership with local elected officials, community leaders, and other partners, the plan will ensure that Corona Plaza remains a welcoming community space that is safe, clean, and vibrant. 

The community vending area, permitted and regulated by the city for the first time at Corona Plaza, will resolve longstanding public safety and quality-of-life concerns stemming from unregulated vending that previously occurred. As of October 31, 2023, the city’s 311 system had received 78 complaints related to illegal vending in this area in 2023 — a nearly five-fold increase from 17 complaints in the same period of 2022. With the formal community vending area in place, all active vendors will be required to have necessary city permits, and a third-party operator will work with city agencies to address any public safety risks and community concerns. The plan for Corona Plaza delivers on a unanimous recommendation from Mayor Adams’ Street Vendor Advisory Board, which included representatives from city agencies, street vendors, retail food stores, property owners, small businesses, and community organizations. 

“Our administration has a vision for a Corona Plaza that welcomes all members of our community — keeping our neighbors safe, ensuring our streets are clean, and creating economic opportunities for local residents,” said Mayor Adams. “For too long, city government has told the community around Corona Plaza to fend for themselves, but now we are being clear that we are here to help. This community deserves a plaza that everyone living in, working in, and visiting the area can enjoy — and that’s exactly what this plan will deliver.” 

“New Yorkers rely on public space for recreation, culture, community building and eating. Today’s announcement reflects this truth and more importantly the level of cooperation and compromise it takes to make it happen — bringing safe and tasty vending back to Corona Plaza,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “This new community vending area provides a unique opportunity for street vendors to make a living outside of the shadows and has the potential of serving as a model for other neighborhoods.” 

“The first-of-its-kind community vending area at Corona Plaza will allow all who visit to celebrate what is best about street vending in a space that remains safe, clean, and vibrant,” said New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodríguez. “Street vending is part of the fabric of our city, and this community vending area will ensure that people can enjoy the culture of the neighborhood while addressing longstanding safety and quality of life concerns.” 

“The variety of New York City’s mobile culinary offerings is legendary,” said New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “These vendors bring their cuisine and culture to our communities, and we are proud to support this opportunity to add even more flavor to our neighborhoods.” 

“Street vendors are a vital part of New York City’s economic and cultural landscape,” said New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga. “We are excited to see Mayor Adams implementing a proposal from the Street Vendor Advisory Board, and we applaud him and our sister agencies for working hard to ensure vendors continue to have opportunities to serve our communities.” 

Under Mayor Adams’ plan, the city will identify a third-party operator to manage the vending area. The Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) will initially receive a permit to serve as the interim operator for four months, with the option for DOT to renew it. DOT will issue a request for proposal in early 2024 to select a long-term operator. As in other commercial districts, the third-party operator will address safety, sanitation, and quality-of-life issues caused by previous unregulated vending, while city agencies will monitor and take enforcement action as necessary to keep Corona Plaza safe and clean — including the New York City Department of Sanitation for sanitation rules, the New York City Police Department for quality-of-life issues, DOHMH for food safety and permit requirements, and the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) for fire safety and related permit requirements. 

The Corona Plaza community vending area will host 14 vendors, with up to 10 selling food. All vendors must have contracts with the third-party operator, which will direct vendors to apply for the other permits or licenses they need. All food vendors will be required to apply for a DOHMH food vending permit that is specific to Corona Plaza, and the third-party operator will need to comply with FDNY rules and regulations. DOHMH will review applications to ensure that all the required paperwork is in place and accurate, that the food being sold is appropriate for on-site preparation, and that all vendors have the required commissary relationship and food vendor license. General vendors who sell non-food items that are participating in the community vending area do not need a license from DCWP but must follow all other rules and laws. 

To ensure upkeep of the plaza, the operator will oversee maintenance during operating hours. The community vending area will operate every Wednesday through Sunday, from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM. 

“Corona Plaza has been a hub of culture, cuisine, and commerce for years — a place where hard-working, mainly immigrant residents make a living and where guests from around the globe come to see what ‘The World’s Borough’ is all about. There is still a long way to go to ensure Corona Plaza is returned to its rightful status as the heartbeat of Corona, but I’m optimistic that we now have a framework to build upon in the weeks and months ahead,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “Now that we’ve taken that all-important first step in this process, I look forward to continuing this critical work with the administration and our community partners to write the wrongs of this summer and bring a sense of vibrancy back to the plaza.” 

“The QEDC, with our partners, is looking forward to making Corona Plaza a center of commerce that will benefit businesses both large and small,” said Seth Bornstein, executive director, Queens Economic Development Corporation. “In doing so, it will serve this thriving community and be a model for other neighborhoods throughout the city.” 

“The Corona Plaza Street Vendors Association is grateful to the elected officials and partners for their support for our community’s street vendors, most of whom are immigrant mothers,” said Rosario Troncoso, board president, Corona Plaza Street Vendors Association and member, Street Vendor Project, Urban Justice Center. “We have advocated for several years to formalize the market, even during the height of the pandemic, because we believe the market will be a foundational opportunity for the essential microbusinesses that provide our community with a cultural hub and nutritious, affordable food. We look forward to growing our collaboration with all involved in this project to make the market an example for the entire city, and to continue contributing to the economy of our neighborhood, Corona, Queens.” 


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