For over three decades, New York City has had a laughably low number of street food vendor permits. At just 3000, the number is crazy low for the size of the city. Because of this, many vendors have been renting permits illegally on the black market at a huge markup. Some food cart owners pay thousands of dollars per year just to keep their business up and running! In the end, the limited number of vendor permits helps no one; not the city and not the business owners.
Luckily, a new law called the Street Vending Modernization Act is in the process of coming to New York. If passed, the Act will double the amount of legal street food vendor permits available over a period of seven years. That means 600 new vendors will be able to get their permits legally each year! At its start, the Act will choose vendors from its permit wait list of 2500 people and will also designate 35 new permits for war veterans and disabled business owners. The final aspect of the Street Vending Modernization Act will establish a law enforcement unit specifically for crimes related to food vending.
Not only will this help more potential business owners get on their feet in the city, but it will certainly expand the variety of street foods in New York. In order to get enough business and keep their permits, most vendors stick to hot dogs and soft pretzels, items they know will be hot sellers. When the new law relieves this financial pressure, they will surely feel more free to sell unique, new, or ethnic foods.