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City Sent NYPD to Shut Down Unlicensed Street Vendors in the Bronx

Plus, fan-favorite Gaia Italian Cafe returns — and more intel

A man shops for produce at a sidewalk stand during the coronavirus pandemic on April 12, 2020 in New York City.
A produce sidewalk stand in NYC
Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

NYPD, no longer in charge of street vendor enforcement, shuts down unlicensed street vendors in the Bronx

The New York Police Department shut down a collection of unlicensed street vendors, including food vendors, who had set up shop at Webster Avenue and East Fordham Road in the Bronx, in a sweep on Wednesday morning, the New York Post reports. The cops told vendors to dismantle their setups if they could not show proper licenses, according to the report. Business owners located in the same area were arguing in an earlier Post report that the “illegal and unorganized” group of vendors on the sidewalk were blocking the shops from participating in programs like outdoor dining, among other problems.

The action highlights long-running issues in the city with how street vending is regulated. Street vending permits, including for food carts and trucks, are notoriously costly and difficult to obtain due to a decades-old cap on permits in NYC. Earlier this year, the City Council passed new legislation that would add 400 new street vending permits to the city each year for the next 10 years in a move aimed at toppling a permit black market that has thrived due to the lack of available permits. The bill also moved street vendor enforcement out from under the NYPD’s purview — following an earlier announcement by Mayor Bill de Blasio — favoring instead the creation of a specific vendor enforcement unit trained in vending laws, which is slated to be up and running by September.

Still, the city used NYPD enforcement in this week’s vendor shutdown, which shocked some street vendor advocates. Nonprofit Street Vendor Project commented on social media on Thursday: “.@NYCMayor we are appalled by your decision to send NYPD to harass vendor small biz in the Bronx for selling fresh, affordable produce, just 1 year after declaring NYPD out of vending. Raining down police on a broken vending system is NOT the answer. STOP criminalizing poverty!”

In other news

— Basque restaurant Ernesto’s is partnering up with ibérico ham producer Cinco Jotas for a five-course tasting menu on Monday, July 26 featuring a variety of ibérico preparations paired with Osborne sherries. Tickets are $150 apiece; reservations are available on Resy.

— Milk Bar is giving away 2,020 birthday cakes starting at 10 a.m. today to offer people a do-over for their 2020 birthdays. But the company isn’t exactly slinging free cakes left and right: Customers have to order any cake online or in stores first, and then will receive credit for a free cake.

— Fan-favorite Gaia Italian Cafe has reemerged in a new Lower East Side location after shutting down during the pandemic last year. Chef and owner Gaia Bagnasacco has now set up shop at 119 Essex Street, between Rivington and Delancey streets. The restaurant will likely open in August and may only focus on takeout orders at first.

— New Jersey is home to a large hub of flavorists in America, who determine the flavors of boxed foods that are sold across the country.

— Restaurant workers joined nonprofit One Fair Wage to protest against tipped wages in front of Olive Garden in Times Square on Tuesday.

— Bed-Stuy’s For All Things Good has launched a new Sunday pop-up series. First up on July 25: former Xilonen chef Alan Delgado, who will be serving up burritos, tacos, tlayudas, and nicuatole for dessert.

— Mezcal brand Illegal Mezcal has launched a community fridge in Greenpoint, near Transmitter Park.

— Ahh, summertime: