Food by VICE

An Inside Look at New York City Street Vendors' Fight to Survive

The city only gives out 4,000 permits a year, creating a black market for vendors securing them illegally—but now one local legislator is pushing to offer up more.

by VICE Staff
Apr 22 2019, 3:37pm

Photo by Diana Hubbell

In a recent story for MUNCHIES, reporter Diana Hubbell follows New York street vendor Lola, an Ecuadorian woman who sells pink-and-white marshmallow-like meringues called espumillas. While getting a street vendor permit through the city only costs $200, Lola paid $6,600 for a six-month summer vending permit. She got it on the black market, which has sprung up in New York due to the fact that the city only gives out 4,000 permits a year—and the waitlist is extremely long. Lola says she feels fortunate that no one has ever taken her money and ran, but she's seen it happen to friends. And Lola’s story isn't unique. Street vendors are up against a whole bevy of issues—and so to address this one, City Councilor Margaret Chin has proposed new legislation that would attempt to increase the number of legal permits New York gives out. On this episode of The VICE Guide To Right Now Podcast, we talk with Diana Hubbell to learn more.

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