The city plans to shift enforcement of regulations on street vendors away from the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection to the Department of Sanitation, mayor Eric Adams revealed on March 17th.
The change would go into effect April 1st.
The city currently has as many as 20,000 street vendors, comprising flower carts, halal food carts, street artists, coffee carts, hot dog carts and myriad others. They are largely immigrants and people of color, and a classic symbol of the city.
Vendor advocates such as the Street Vendor Project were critical of the change, saying the sanitation department ought not to be policing small businesses.
Theodore A. Moore, Vice President of Policy and Programs at the New York Immigration Coalition, “For too long, the City has hampered this industry with confusing and burdensome rules, enforced by ever-changing agencies,” said Theodore A. Moore, Vice President of Policy and Programs at the New York Immigration Coalition.
“The Department of Sanitation’s purpose is to keep NYC clean; they should be allowed to focus on that, rather than regulating small businesses,” Moore said. “We should be recognizing the contributions of our street vendors, and creating systems that support their existence and growth.”
Sanitation Chair Sandy Nurse and Immigration Chair Shahana Hanif responded critically to Adams’ announcement in a press release, stating: “We will be sending our questions to the administration to further understand why this decision was made without engaging stakeholders, who was consulted, and what impacts there will be on working-class immigrant New Yorkers.”