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NYC Street Vendors Issued More Tickets Despite Moving Away From NYPD Enforcement, Report Finds

Plus, new labor laws offering basic job protections to NYC’s delivery workers start to go into effect this week — and more intel

A brightly colored food cart with three umbrellas shading the cart from sun is parked on the sidewalk.
A food cart in Chelsea.
BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty Images
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

A year after New York City moved street vendor enforcement out from under police purview, street vendors are still getting swamped with tickets.

According to data compiled by Gothamist, the city’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, which is now in charge of street vendor enforcement, issued over 700 tickets in 2021 for violating various vending regulations. While that’s still far less than the nearly 2,000 tickets that the NYPD issued in all of pre-pandemic 2019, the DCWP oversaw a greater amount of tickets issued from July to September 2021, as compared to the same period in 2019. Plus, the NYPD is still issuing tickets, Gothamist reports. Together, the two departments issued 540 tickets from July to September last year, as compared to 525 tickets issued by the NYPD in the same period in 2019.

It all adds up to more daily frustrations and revenue loss for the small business owners who run the carts, according to street vendor advocate Mohamed Attia, the executive director of the Street Vendor Project. One vendor tells Gothamist that he was allegedly ticketed more than 70 times last year, over infractions like not keeping his cart close enough to a sidewalk curb.

Penn Station’s flashy new food hall opens

The food lineup at Moynihan Train Hall, the fancy Penn Station extension, now includes big-ticket names like Japanese ramen chain E.A.K Ramen, Upper West Side brunch spot Jacob’s Pickles, and a bar run by the team behind acclaimed cocktail hot spot the Dead Rabbit, according to the New York Post. The openings are part of the transportation hub’s new food hall — run by the same company behind ill-fated, Penn Station-adjacent food hall Pennsy — which just launched on Moynihan’s street-level floor.

City labor laws protecting delivery workers go into effect this week

After passing last fall, NYC’s milestone legislation offering basic job protections to delivery workers starts to go into effect this week, AM New York reports. Food delivery apps are now required by law to be more transparent about pay, including disclosing to workers how much customers tipped on each delivery, and how much workers accumulated in total pay and tips for the previous day’s work. Workers also have better access to restaurant bathrooms while on the job. Further regulations are set to roll out later this year.

A Dominican mainstay in Hell’s Kitchen fights off closure

Forty-year-old Dominican spot Laly Restaurant — also known as Lali — has launched a GoFundMe in an emergency effort to keep its doors open, W42St reports. Similar to many restaurants during the pandemic, owner Ibis Lara has struggled to keep the lights on at Laly while sinking under mounting rent payments and low sales. According to a message Lara posted on the restaurant’s fundraiser page, Laly owes $96,300 in back rent, wasn’t able to get emergency relief funds from the government, and has been threatened with eviction over nonpayment. (New York’s moratorium on evictions ended in mid-January.) “This place is my whole life and I am sad to have to close it due to an accumulated debt of rent due to the pandemic,” Lara wrote.