New City Council Bill Could Lead To Food Trucks Being Impounded

(credit: NYSF)
(credit: NYSF)

Street vendors in NYC just can’t catch a break! No sooner does the City Council reduce the top street vendor fines from $1,000 to $500, then a new bill is introduced 2 weeks later by Councilmember Margaret Chin that would make it more difficult for food trucks to operate.

If the bill passes, the above spot on 46th St just east of 6th Ave (plus many other spots) would have cost Bob & Jo $250 for being within 15 feet of that fire hydrant to the left of the truck. A 2nd offense within 6 months would cost $500 and the truck would be impounded.

According to Gothamist, Councilmember Chin says she receives “many complaints about ice cream trucks and other mobile food vendors that park at fire hydrants for hours on end.” She says it’s a public health hazard, but common sense says otherwise.

Food trucks are actually manned at all times, so in the case of an emergency, they are much easier to move than a car illegally parked where the driver cannot be found.

Both Ben Van Leeuwen from VLAIC and Adam Sobel from the Cinnamon Snail made this and other salient points when contacted by Gothamist.

This sounds like another case of local politicians carrying water for the restaurant industry, who feel threatened by food trucks. As Adam points out in the article, and we can confirm, the reality is much different than what the restaurateurs and politicians believe.

During peak season, there are only about 75 “gourmet” food trucks operating in Manhattan. Our Mobile Munchies twitter feed currently has 108 members, but a number of them are actually food carts, not trucks, and others are no longer active.

There is no way existing restaurants should feel threatened by less than 75 food trucks in the city, which have far less equipment, work space and storage space than b rick and mortar establishments. Food trucks necessarily have smaller menus too.

If restaurants can’t compete with food trucks, maybe the restaurants need to raise their game, not use the political process to protect their position. That’s what capitalism is all about.