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'Ugly' Food Carts In New York City Should Be Banned, Says 34th Street Partnership

Food Carts

First Posted: 03/ 5/2012 2:13 pm Updated: 03/ 5/2012 2:13 pm

A conclave of outraged midtown businesses are putting their time to good use by demanding the removal of "ugly" food carts from their otherwise pristine streets.

Members of the 34th Street Partnership are even criticizing street vendors as "almost exclusively terrible citizens" and have presented their case before local Community Board 5 to help with their crusade.

Co-founder of the 34th Street Partnership Dan Biederman harshly explained, "They are unsightly, and not particularly good citizens. They litter. They violate the rules frequently. The fact that these are humble vendors doesn't give them the license to be slobs."

Vendors that did pass the group's gold standard however, included fancy newcomers Wafels and Dinges and the Fruit-n-Juice. The group has alluded to the two carts as prototypes for what all food carts should aspire to look like.

Jeremiah Moss of the blog Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, which chronicles the shutterings of the city's longtime venues, dismisses the partnership's complaints as "the suburbanization and homogenization of urban culture."

Folks behind the popular blog Midtown Lunch, perhaps the people's voice behind the hungry crowds who actually frequent the neighborhood's food carts, are telling Biederman and company to lay off. "...this would make it much less pleasant for us MLers who value the carts for their delicious, affordable food as an alternative to the generic and overpriced chain restaurants in the area" and credit current vendors as legitimate businesses providing for immigrant workers.

Unfortunately, 34th Street's attacks are commonplace for street vendors who routinely find themselves defending their way of life. Earlier this year, vendors throughout the city marched outside City Hall in a demonstration called "1,000 Vendors Against $1,000 Fines" to protest an imposed fine structure that heavily fines them for minor offenses.

Attorney Matthew Shapiro who advocates for vendors cited the hefty fines as very reasons why people are unable to spruce up their carts, "They can't afford to invest in their businesses and make them look better because they're always getting slammed with fines" and spurned the group's proposed cleansing.

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Filed by Inae Oh  |