Street food trucks—from the hemp-powered vegan vendors to the classic Italian ice cart—are an essential New York staple. And they may soon be an even more common sight. NYC’s City Council plans to pass legislation this week that would double the number of available food cart permits by 2023, bringing the total to 8,000.
But wait—according to the advocacy group Street Vendor Project, there are currently about 12,000 street vendors, meaning that the vast majority peddles their foodstuffs outside the bounds of the law. At present, the wait list for a permit includes 2,500 people, and because scarcity inflates value (and because drunk people will always buy tacos in NYC), the rate for a “black market” permit is reported to be around $25,000. The cost of a legal permit? Just $200.
More permits equal less sketchy mystery street meat (hopefully), and so far, the opposition to the legislation comes mostly from businesses with entryways crowded by hot dog stands. And anyway, the law would just allow for more legal street vendors, not necessarily more in general.
But hey, even if there were more food trucks around, none of us will mind when we grab a hot meal as we stumble home on a late night.
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