Upscale Street Vendors Spark NYC Food Fight

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2009 11:00 AM CDT
A street vendor sells food in New York City.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Old guard NYC food vendors are serving up a side of invective with their hot dogs, aimed at upscale newcomers disturbing the traditional order, the Times reports. In the last year the recession has pushed white-collar workers of all stripes onto the street, but the newbies don’t understand—or won’t abide by—the community’s arcane rules. “I should not have to carry a baseball bat on my truck in order to sell cupcakes,” says one.

Street vendors are barely regulated; spots on the pavement are handed down from generation to generation, and a black market for permits inflates the $200 sticker price to as much as $15,000. And the community is resistant to change. “A new vendor used to mean someone’s cousin coming in from Egypt,” a blogger said. “Now it’s a major culture clash.” Not that the newcomers aren’t in dire straits. “The whole Brooklyn Philharmonic season was canceled,” says one bassoonist-turned-ice cream man. “I have to get through the summer somehow.”