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New York City Street Vendors Fed Up With Fines Hold Protest

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A food cart is seen outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art - New York, NY - Jan 8, 2009 - Photo: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

A food cart is seen outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York, NY – Jan 8, 2009 – Photo: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some New York City hot dog vendors were feeling just a little hot under the collar Thursday — and they weren’t alone.

About 1,000 street vendors held a rally as part of their campaign to end what they say are excessive fines of $1,000 for a variety of infractions.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Al Jones Reports

Dave Mercier, who is a vendor in Times Square, told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones that some of the fines include those doled out for vending before 8 p.m. and vending three feet from the sidewalk.

Princey Smiley said those fines could wipe out two weeks of profits for her peanut cart in Times Square.

“Thousand dollar fines are given every day to a lot of vendors around New York City,” Smiley said.

Some prominent City Council members also joined the protest Thursday.

“We should not be putting any stumbling blocks before them, we should not be engaging in any fines that are oppressive. We should encourage them each and every day,” Councilmember Letitia James said.

Council Member Charles Barron also took a shot at Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“You’re a billionaire, you don’t know what it means to lose a $1,000,” he said.

The vendors are backing a City Council bill that would revise and reduce the fines, which some contend are simply unfair and senseless.

“Many vendors get ticket for $1,000 because they are not displaying their ID — sometime they have it in their pockets, sometimes they have it in their jacket,” one vendor said.

Last year, 26,000 tickets were handed out to vendors.

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