Could we use more street vendors selling everything from falafel and hot dogs to umbrellas and clothing? Maybe. Maybe not. There are about 4,000 operating legally, but activists who want to ease up on licensing rules say there are at least 10,000.
Periodic calls to increase the number of permits and to legalize many of the illegal carts have failed to gain widespread support. Manhattan Councilwoman Margaret Chin’s bill that would do so has been stuck in committee since April 11. But now we have Queens state Sen. Jessica Ramos proposing that there be no limit at all. So while the city won’t raise the cap on permits, the state might just eliminate it? We say no.
Such a move would be incredibly unfair to brick-and-mortar stores that must do things like pay rent, property taxes and electric bills to operate. And if you think sidewalks are crowded now, imagine if Ramos had her way. Even Mayor de Blasio, kind of a babe in the woods when it comes to day-to-day life in the city, opposes the idea. It would be far better to revisit Chin’s bill and tell Albany to stay out of this one.