I got a call late yesterday from James of Gorilla Cheese NYC. He told me there were serious problems down at the Hudson & King St location that had up to now been great for food trucks.
Sweetery, Rickshaw Dumplings, Schnitzel & Things and some of the older trucks have been parking there once or twice a week on a rotating basis, and everything had been hunky dory.
Lately, a bunch of newer trucks have been parking there such as Jalapeno NYC, Marrakech Chefs, Coolhaus, Red Hook Lobster Pound and Gorilla Cheese, and it got to the point where there were 4 or 5 trucks within a 2 block area of Hudson St. In fact, Jalapeno NYC was parking there every day instead of once of twice a week, as is customary for food trucks.
James told me that one of the building owners, security, and a restaurant owner came out to the trucks yesterday, and things got really heated. James and a building security person almost got into it, but luckily, it only threatened to boil over, and cooler heads prevailed.
Then police detectives were called in, and did what they had to do, which was check licenses and permits, and chase most of the trucks away.
Nobody is sure what will happen today, but if 5 or 6 trucks keep trying to park in the same area, the same thing is gonna happen.
We have some advice for the trucks after the jump.
Our advice is to spread out and find some other locations – it’s a big city out there. Gorilla Cheese ended up on 55th St & 7th Ave, where they had a decent day, and hope to cultivate a following on Thursdays. Bistro Truck was down on Hudson & Vandam (about 4-5 blocks south) on Tuesday at the request of Leeann, a NYSF reader who works at 250 Hudson and asked if any trucks would venture a little further south. That worked out well, so just north of 250 Hudson could be another good spot, as long as 4 trucks don’t show up on the same day – and it’s Bistro Trucks’s spot on Tuesdays!
The West 50’s by 7th Ave could definitely use more food trucks, although 52nd St east of 7th Ave seems to be off limits, with Wafels & Dinges getting chased from there the past two Fridays, after being in that spot every Friday for a very long time. I spoke with Thomas from W&D, and he will be parking one of his carts there tomorrow instead.
From what we understand, due to a quirk in the NYC law, carts are allowed to sell food on the sidewalk, but trucks are not allowed to sell food from a truck parked in the street. This is probably a holdover from when streets were made of dirt, and there were a lot of horses around doing what horses do in the street.
Obviously, the trucks aren’t going away, and we need to come up with some sensible solutions. Unfortunately, these solutions are often blocked by local business owners who don’t want the competition. This is where the new NYC Food Truck Association needs to step in and act as an intermediary between the trucks, police and business owners. We are at a crossroads, and the future of food trucks in NYC could be at stake.