Mayhem in the streets: Illegal vendors are overtaking NYC

New York Post:

Live crabs. Bras with rhinestones. Old shoes. Frayed electrical cords. Knock-off Louis Vuitton clutches. Disposable face masks. Mets caps.

Illegal street peddlers hawking such items have taken over the outer boroughs, clogging sidewalks with their second-hand wares and pulling customers from pandemic-ravaged mom-and-pop shops.

And everybody is pointing the finger at Mayor de Blasio.

From Brooklyn to the Bronx, Staten Island and Queens, folding tables and mats rolled out on the ground force pedestrians to go single-file or step aside so they don’t get run over.

In the Bronx, 149th Street and Fordham Road are hotspots.

So is Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park and Flushing’s Main Street, especially the few blocks from the Post Office at Sanford Avenue to the 7 Train station at Roosevelt Avenue.

On Main, between Sanford and 41st Avenue, The Post counted 27 street vendors – on just one side of the street. Two pulled out yellow licenses, showing they’re military veterans. Six shook their heads like they didn’t understand English. The others turned away or looked down when asked to show their licenses.

DianSong Yu of the Flushing Business Improvement District estimates 90 percent of the vendors aren’t licensed. Citywide, the number of all kinds of vendors stands at roughly 20,000, according to the Street Vendor Project, an advocacy group. But legit general merchandise license-holders, not including mobile food vendors, total a few thousand.

“It’s a very tough time for everybody, we get it,” Yu told The Post. “But we need to be fair to the local merchant who are paying very high rent and taxes. And they’re hurting.”

Bobby has a yellow license for his spot on Main — and he’s mad about the infiltrators. “They’re robbing the city of taxes. They’re taking money from the veterans. They’re taking jobs,” said Bobby, who wouldn’t give his last name but told The Post he fought in Vietnam.

Licenses get doled out by the Department of Consumer Affairs. The city caps non-veteran general vendor licenses at 853 and charges a $100 or $200 fee depending on what time of year an applicant files. Any honorably discharged veteran can get a permit for free.

Sanford and Main is where you can find live blue crabs. Hawkers stack their wooden bushels three high, selling the crustaceans for a buck apiece.

Read more at The New York Post

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