The Wild West nature of street vending in NYC keeps getting worse. As the NY Post reports this morning, we now are seeing strong arm tactics in the absence of any visible city oversight: "Try to move in on a city food vendor's turf and there'll be halal to pay. Newcomers to the city's food-cart wars say that when they stake a claim to a busy corner, they frequently get threatened by a loose-knit band of gyro-cooking thugs they call the "Halal Mafia." "They had their friends park a truck in my location because they were trying to push me out," said Clive Dennis, who manages the Little Ochi Hot Spot, a Jamaican cart on Park Row downtown. "It's like a mob thing -- these halal guys think they're the only ones who should be selling food on the street."
The $64 question here is, when will the city get its act together to enforce what is, apparent to so many of us, an out of control situation. We have vendors selling fraudulent cart permits, impersonating veterans; and, our favorite pet peeve, setting up shop with over sized fruit carts right in front of tax paying food stores.
It is now time for the city to take appropriate remedial action-and after next week's primary, we plan to convene a meeting of all the affected stakeholders in order to devise an appropriate game plan. But, really, enough's enough with this outrageous lack of proper oversight.