Did you know there are more than 10,000 street vendors in New York City?  This includes hot dog vendors, flower vendors, book vendors, street artists, and many others. They are small businesspeople struggling to make ends meet.  Most are immigrants and people of color who work long hours under harsh conditions, asking for nothing more than a chance to sell their goods on the public sidewalk.

The Street Vendor Project, a membership-based non-profit organization with more than 1,300 active vendor members, has been working tirelessly for 10 years to create a vendors’ movement for permanent change.  The SVP also created and run the annual Vendy Awards, which honor the best street food vendors in NYC.

Earlier this week, the Street Vendor Project celebrated its 10th Anniversary.  To mark the occasion, they threw a party, with some past Vendy Award Finalists donating food to help the cause.

(credit: New York Street Food)

The event was held in a beautiful room at the Judson Memorial Church on Washington Square South, and it ran from 7-10pm.  With food events, we always tell people to get there early, but we didn’t take our own advice.  By the time we hung up our coats, got drinks and got on line, it was nearly 8pm.  That was a mistake.

It seems they didn’t ask the vendors for enough food, and a lot of it was gone by 8pm.  In the 1st hour, the food had already run out from Biryani Cart, the King of Falafel & Shawarma, and we were 2 people away from getting a pupusa from last year’s Vendy Cup winner, Solber Pupusas, when they ran out.

That did mean we were 2nd in line for A-Pou’s Taste, a Rookie of the Year nominee in 2010.  They had chicken, pork and vegetable dumplings, as well as lo mein.

(credit: New York Street Food)
The dumplings were much longer than normal dumplings, probably 5″ long (not counting the one on my plate I already took a bite out of).  The fillings had a slight spiciness that I don’t recall their dumplings having at the 2010 Vendy Awards.  The lo mein was also nice, with fresh veggies mixed in with the noodles.

While we only got to try one savory dish, we did have several drinks, and also got to have extra dessert!  When is that ever a bad thing?

(credit: New York Street Food)

The donuts from the Cinnamon Snail were excellent, as always.  Dark chocolate donuts, glazed donuts, and the light colored one on the right (above) had coconut flakes and black sesame seeds.  Very nice!

We finished the night with a great brownie from Treats Truck.  I love Kim’s Mexican chocolate brownies, but tonight she made regular brownies with raspberry jam on top, which were excellent too.

Kim Ima and her Treats Truck have been a welcome fixture on the NYC streets since 2007, and she received  the very first Vendy Award for Best Dessert, before it was even an official category.  Kim is also opening a new bakery and store in Brooklyn in the coming months, so be on the lookout for that.

(credit: New York Street Food)

Even though the food ran out early, we still had a nice time, and were happy to support this worthy cause.  We cannot imagine New York City without street vendors, nor should we have to.

We almost forgot to mention there was music at the party, and one of the coolest was a sitar player.

How’s this for a melting pot moment: Eating street food in a Christian church, listening to an Indian sitar player, with Jewish stars on some of the the walls (see photo below).

I love New York!

(credit: New York Street Food)