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NYC Street Vendors Renew Efforts to Lift Longstanding License Cap at Times Square Rally

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Plus, decade-old wine bar LIC Market is permanently shutting down — and more intel

People wear protective face masks near a food truck in Bryant Park as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on August 13, 2020 in New York City.
A street vendor at Bryant Park
Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images

Street vendors demand City Council to lift decades-old permit cap in the city

Street vendors from across the city rallied in Times Square yesterday in a bid to draw the City Council’s attention to a bill that would get rid of the city’s nearly 40-year-old stringent cap on street vendor permits, AMNY reports.

Current law, which has been previously disputed in the city, dictates a strict limit on the amount of street vendor permits in circulation. The cap has led to 20-year-long waiting lists for permits and an underground market where vendors can source permits circulating at shocking markups. The bill — which was originally introduced to City Council in 2018 by Councilmember Margaret Chin, who represents several lower Manhattan neighborhoods including Soho, Noho, and the LES — would lift the cap and gradually add more vendor permits to the system. It has garnered support from many local legislators, including Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

But many are also skeptical of the bill, including a number of the city’s business improvement districts, AMNY reports. Detractors were concerned about how social-distancing regulations and safety measures would be enforced as the amount of vendors expanded. In June, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the NYPD would no longer be in charge of street vendor enforcement — a move that was applauded by street vendors at the time — but some argue that it’s now unclear how enforcement is handled.

Supporters of the bill are hoping to push City Council to vote on the proposed legislation soon, as the pandemic has left many vendors struggling without governmental aid amid the crisis.

In other news

— Mayor Bill de Blasio turned away from a Chinatown bakery manager as the small business operator publicly pleaded for more city support during the mayor’s tour through the neighborhood yesterday afternoon.

— Longstanding Le Bernardin dining room manager Ben Chekroun announced on Instagram that he was leaving the Michelin-starred seafood destination after 27 years.

— Long Island City Mexican newcomer Top Quality nails its lineup of self-assembly taco trays, Gothamist’s Scott Lynch says.

— Popular Tribeca spot Racines has reopened today with a rotating menu of meals for pickup three nights per week.

— A slew of Andrew Carmellini’s Noho Hospitality spots are reopening for outdoor dining, according to a restaurant spokesperson. Casual pasta spot Bar Primi and French restaurant Lafayette opened this week for dinner service, and The Dutch will follow with outdoor dining starting next Wednesday.

— Decade-old natural wine bar LIC Market is permanently shutting down due to the pandemic. “We always managed to pull through, carry on, evolve as needed,” the restaurant’s ownership said in a statement on Instagram. “But this 2020 lunacy... this is something else.”

— Never ignore the udon:

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