A desire named street cart: Red tape stifles NYC vendors

IndustriesAssociated 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.