Food Carts Carve Global Niche as New York City May Allow Them More Corners

Bloomberg.pngBy Henry Goldman

For more than a century, New York City officials viewed cart-pushing peddlers as public-health risks and threats to taxpaying businesses. Now, a new generation of City Council members courts them as a working-poor constituency.

As many as 10,000 vendors sell everything from dirty-water hot dogs to mobile-phone chargers on New York’s streets, far more than the most populous U.S. city allows. Demand for the $200, two-year food permits is so great that it has created a black market for dealers who lease them illegally for as much as $30,000, according to a council report.

...“They add life to our streets,” said Councilman Mark Levine, 47, sponsor of the proposals. “New Yorkers’ demand for street food is insatiable. But we have an antiquated system crying out for an update.”

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