NYC Food Cart Vendors Issued 13,000 Tickets In 2010, Paid Only 400

The Battle Is Raging Between Carts, Watchdogs And The NYPD

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some call it the “Fifth Avenue shuffle” — street vendors ticketed and told to move only to move right back once the police leave the scene.

The vendor violations have some calling for a street cart crackdown, reports CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

The food vendors near Fifth Avenue know the rules. They just don’t bother to follow the rules or pay the fines.

“They’re constantly violating. They’re constantly accepting summonses, and then they don’t pay them. The fines build up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in most of these cases,” said Tom Cusick, president of the “Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District.”

Fifth Avenue business leaders say it’s a public safety issue as holiday crowds fill the pricey shopping district. Vendors routinely violate rules requiring them to stay 10 feet away from the striped crosswalk and stay clear from fire hydrants and utility poles.

One vendor Aiello saw was violating another regulation: he was supposed to be 20 feet from the entrance to a store. Instead, he was about 15.

The Fifth Avenue BID regularly asks the NYPD to enforce the rules, and on Monday Aiello saw an officer ticket four vendors at 54th Street and Fifth Avenue.

The vendors promptly moved their carts from the crosswalk, but guess what?

“When the police leave, they’ll come back,” Cusick said.

Indeed. An hour and 20 minutes later the vendors were all right back at the crosswalk.

“Not only does it become an issue of public safety, but all those fines that we are entitled to are not actually getting paid,” said City Councilman Daniel Garodnick.

Councilman Garodnick said the answer is to make the owner of the cart responsible for tickets, rather than the vendor who is working from it.

It’s shaping up to be a real street fight when the City Council takes up the issue next year.

Last year the city issued street vendors more than 13,000 tickets. Only about 400 were actually paid.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • consumer

    I agree with Elsey. If they owe money, just confiscate the cart until they pay up!

  • Bullett

    Let’s stop all this nonsense. Bring in the tow truck.

  • Mayor Koch's Tomb Inc.

    Dirty filthy vendor on Broadway & 28th street nyc cutting meat and serving
    and taking dollars all with the same plastic glove on ONE hand ,you can
    see the outline of grease when the cart is not there,been having lines of
    Africans buying his sandwiches for years,never washes hands ,never
    gets ticket,s ,I have a hunch he never pays taxes.
    He will never be moved. What’s dirty food between friends,the owner from
    Egypt owns several of these dirty food wagons in the city when I have
    complained to the precinct ,he shows up with his passports of his
    family crying almost to tears “he has mouths to feed “,even the cops feel sorry for him.
    NYC is what you get away with , a Banana republic.

  • Meme Meyagi

    what is done about 7 million mooslime terrorists living in usa?

    • consumer

      What is being done about the millions of American’s who can’t spell?

  • man from the old ways

    a man in Libya killed himself after the eivl corrupt goverment give him a ticket
    for a food truck the man said he has a right to do this and dont need no permit from a worst corrupt state after this started people roits to overthrow the goverment what kind of rights we have ,we have a right to sell and dont need no goverment to sell us a permit the evil corrupt goverment of the us
    will have the same fate this goverment better stop this, food vendors are welcome in this country and dont need permits and no tickets the hell with this blum-bug dictator ps i am not a vendor but i buy from them and they are welcome look at the people protests all over this country people are fed up
    with bribe taking goverment who only works for the corps the give them bribes

    • Michael H.

      Does punctuation only work for the corporations too?



  • Linda Elsey

    Confiscate the carts, that will put an end to this. The police have bigger fish to go after, what a waste of taxpayer money, constantly writing tickets to these violations and then not bothering to collect the fines, what a joke.

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