• In this Nov. 21, 2016 photo, Mohammed Shaheedul Huq serves a customer from his food cart in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Monday, Nov. 21, 2016. For decades, the city's regulatory scheme has made it next to impossible to obtain a new permit to operate a food cart or truck. Unable to get a permit of his own, Huq paid $18,000 upfront to lease one from a man who pays the city just $200 every two years for the license. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

    In this Nov. 21, 2016 photo, Mohammed Shaheedul Huq serves a customer from his food cart in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Monday, Nov. 21, 2016. For decades, the city's regulatory scheme has made it next to impossible to obtain a new permit to ... operate a food cart or truck. Unable to get a permit of his own, Huq paid $18,000 upfront to lease one from a man who pays the city just $200 every two years for the license. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (The Associated Press)

  • In this Nov. 21, 2016 photo, Mohammed Shaheedul Huq serves a customer from his food cart in the Brooklyn borough of New York. For decades, the city's regulatory scheme has made it next to impossible to obtain a new permit to operate a food cart or truck. Unable to get a permit of his own, Huq, paid $18,000 upfront to lease one from a man who pays the city just $200 every two years for the license. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

    In this Nov. 21, 2016 photo, Mohammed Shaheedul Huq serves a customer from his food cart in the Brooklyn borough of New York. For decades, the city's regulatory scheme has made it next to impossible to obtain a new permit to operate a food cart or ... truck. Unable to get a permit of his own, Huq, paid $18,000 upfront to lease one from a man who pays the city just $200 every two years for the license. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (The Associated Press)

A desire named street cart: Red tape stifles NYC vendors

Markets Associated Press

The vendors behind New York City's food carts and trucks have struggled for years under a system that makes it almost impossible to get a permit to operate legally.

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That's locked thousands of vendors into a black-market system where they are forced to pay huge amounts to "rent" one of the city's roughly 4,200 existing permits or risk hefty fines by operating illegally.

The New York City Council is looking at adopting legislation that would add permits and roughly double the number of carts and trucks allowed on the street over a 7-year period.

Street vendors and their advocates hail the legislation. But representatives of the city's business districts say there are too many carts in prime locations now and want more systematic enforcement before new permits get issued.