Mobile Food

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sean Basinski, founder of the Street Vendor Project, joins us along with Kim Ima, owner of Treats Truck, and Vadin Ponorovsky, owner of Frites 'n Meats, to talk about the changing face of street food as well as a proposed new law that would severely penalize food trucks for parking tickets.

We’ll talk about the explosion in the number and type of mobile food options available to New Yorkers in the last few years—from the old-school Middle Eastern carts to new “gourmet" food trucks to the food markets in Brooklyn where would-be chefs test their goods.


Sean Basinski, Kim Ima and Vadin Ponorovsky

Comments [30]

Mike Caprio from Williamsburg

No one is advocating that trucks be unregulated, or that trucks who idle or flout the law shouldn't be fined - but instead of working with truck vendors to solve those problems, the nuclear option of putting everyone out of business was launched first. Instead of trying to actually do the work of finding a political solution and compromise that would make more people happy, they went the lazy route and singled vendors out and attacked them. That's not the way to be a good council member, that's the way to be a bully and to be short sighted about the economic benefits of working with people instead of putting them out of business in the midst of a recession.

Jun. 16 2010 09:43 PM
David from NYC

Unequal Protection Under The Law

The main argument for Councilwoman Jessica Lappin's recent attack on mobile food vendors revolves around their lawlessness with regard to parking regulations. She claims to seek change in the mentality that parking tickets are just a part of doing business, but does so in an inequitable manner, uninformed by fact. She curiously makes no mention of UPS, Coca-Cola and Verizon, among others, who paid $107 million in parking fines to New York City in 2009 alone, according to MSNBC. These trucks rack up an average of 7,000 parking tickets every day. Moreover, big businesses are given "fleet" status and receive steep discounts on their fines.

If mobile food vendors were issued parking tickets at an equal rate, under the new legislation, ALL mobile food vending permits would be revoked in two days.

We are not asking Councilwoman Lappin to give food vendors a special dispensation. We are asking only that she not make us a target of flagrant discrimination.

Jun. 16 2010 01:14 PM
michael me from Midtown

The food truck on 5th ave at 29th street spews smoke all day long.
I live nearby and cant open my windows because of the smell.

Jun. 15 2010 11:43 PM
Vadim Ponorovsky

To all those interested in supporting the Food Trucks against the Anti Food Truck Bill, please sign our petition at you can also call Councilwoman Lappin or your local Councilperson, and of course, you can come to the Public hearing being held tomorrow at 250 Bway, 16th Floor Hearing Room at 10AM
Please help support your local Food Truck

Jun. 15 2010 02:39 PM
Anonymous from New York City

There is a petition online:

Jun. 15 2010 02:31 PM
Carol Reingold from west village

Is there a way we can sign a petition in favor of the food trucks online?

Jun. 15 2010 02:01 PM
DarkSymbolist from NYC

Waffles & Dinges!

Great...another law targeting small businesses, vendors,etc

We can't have anything nice in Billionaire Mike's corporatized NYC

Jun. 15 2010 01:58 PM

Regarding the ticketing/loss of license, it sounds to me like a shakedown, pure and simple.

Jun. 15 2010 01:56 PM
Andy B. from New York City

There is a Mister Softee truck that parks in front of the entrance to the Little League fields in Forest Hills Queens.

Besides the noise and noxious fumes - they block the entrances for both the entrance and exit for ambulances and are VERY slow in moving out of the way EVEN during emergencies.

Jun. 15 2010 01:55 PM
znm200 from Brklyn

These trucks are providing a much needed lunch service that contributes to the previously restricted, low cost options offered only by korean deli's and halal food of nyc.

Jun. 15 2010 01:53 PM

How are locations allocated; do you lose your regular spot if someone shows up early and takes it?

Jun. 15 2010 01:52 PM

[[Jesse from Brooklyn
"I'm sure the law must say more than three UNPAID parking tickets you'll be punished, no?"

No, the proposed law says any truck that receives three parking tickets will lose its license. There's nothing in the law about payment.

Jun. 15 2010 01:48 PM]]

ugh! what a nightmare to be at the mercy of the brilliant humanitarians who end up in life as meter maids.

Jun. 15 2010 01:52 PM
Christophe from SoHo

What would you suggest for individuals who are interested in venturing into the food truck/ stands.. what is the best way to get your foot in the door? Does anyone have any comments about the recent food debacle with the Greenpoint Food Markets who have recently cancelled their "bake sale" because of the DOH? and not having the proper 'paper work' / use of commercial kitchens?

Jun. 15 2010 01:52 PM
Quinn from Lower East Side

I remember when we used to call these 'mobile food trucks' the roach coach.

As a consumer I am relieved to learn the city has such strong regulation of this industry.

It makes me far more likely to buy something from them.

Jun. 15 2010 01:50 PM

according to your guest on food vendors, there are lots of regulations...but if you walk by roosevelt ave. in queens, you will see all kind of ethnic food vendors without permit or follow any health guideline....

Jun. 15 2010 01:50 PM
Barry from Jersey City

How do they stake out a place? Are there fights over parking vendors? Being too close?

Jun. 15 2010 01:50 PM
Jesse from Brooklyn

"I'm sure the law must say more than three UNPAID parking tickets you'll be punished, no?"

No, the proposed law says any truck that receives three parking tickets will lose its license. There's nothing in the law about payment.

Jun. 15 2010 01:48 PM
S Block from NYC

I'm in favor of more food vendors (more licenses!), I think the possibilities are limitless. Mobility and potentially cheaper startup than bricks and mortar, make for more variety in more places.

two comments:

The existing street food culture is pretty sucky. Even/especially the famous halal cart. The food just isn't that good to me, mostly reheated and or overcooked.

Vendors should not "own" public spaces. I don't know how to allocate choice spots, maybe auction, maybe lottery, maybe a combination and taking turns. But we should not tolerate the crappy little mafia protection rackets that operate today.

Jun. 15 2010 01:47 PM
dage from brooklyn

i've never seen anyone working a food truck wearing a hair net or gloves. i once saw a vendor dip his towel in water streaming down the street in a rain storm and wipe down his griddle with the dirty water. what can be done about that?

Jun. 15 2010 01:43 PM
antonio from park slope

portland, oregon started right?

Jun. 15 2010 01:43 PM
Ceasar from Midtown

Can you ask them what their incomes are like?

Jun. 15 2010 01:41 PM
donald Patriss from midtown

Pat from Midtown:

I live in an apartment house in midtown and we have no stores on ground floor. We are inundated with food vendors and into our windows come coffee smells in the morning and Middle Eastern food and hot peanuts etc. besides clothing, scarfs, fruit etc. Crowds gather and make noise and throw their garbage around on our lawn etc. It seems they multiply. the vendors bring chairs , their children and play their radios. We complain to no avail.

Jun. 15 2010 01:39 PM
Sally from LES

Sad you only got two rich people to represent the industry.

Jun. 15 2010 01:39 PM
A listener

I'm sure the law must say more than three UNPAID parking tickets you'll be punished, no?

Jun. 15 2010 01:38 PM

I looove the Treat Truck! You have really good treats! (Lemon cookie - mmmmm)


Jun. 15 2010 01:37 PM
nycdeb from manhattan

what is it about NYC that fosters food truck culture? It thrives in some places - Shanghi comes to mind - and not in others such as London for example.

Jun. 15 2010 01:37 PM
A listener

There's some talk on blogs that food trucks could help solve the problem of "food deserts," areas in the city that don't have access to fresh healthy food.

Do your guests see themselves in that light?

Jun. 15 2010 01:37 PM
Joel from Manhattan

I've always wondered what sorts of regulation the food carts are subject to. Do they undergo the same sorts of health inspections that restaurants do? Are the standards stricter?

Jun. 15 2010 01:06 PM
leslie ima from San Diego

We feel that the food trucks are an important part of the city. Venders have been in New York from the time of pushcarts.

Jun. 15 2010 12:15 PM
leslie ima from San Diego

Food trucks are good for busy people, and small businesses. They become a part of New York, or any city they are in.

Food trucks bring warmth and smiles to their custumers.

Jun. 15 2010 10:10 AM

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