NYC owed millions in street vendor fines

You may not realize it, but the street vendor who just sold you that bagel could be among those who collectively owe the city millions in unpaid fines.

Between 2008 and 2009, police and other city departments issued $15.8 million in fines to street vendors, the carts and trucks that sell everything from hot dogs to “I Love New York” T-shirts. Yet $14.9 million of that money remained uncollected as of December 2009, according to a report released yesterday by the NYC Independent Budget Office.

Street vendors are fined daily for such offenses as being parked too close to a fire hydrant, to such health regulation violations as not keeping hot dog water at a minimum temperature.

Why aren’t the fines being paid? Vendors say they simply don’t have the funds.

“I make $45 to $50 a day,” said one vendor who sells photos in the Financial District. “Some days I make zero; I just stand here in the cold. If I got a $200 fine for taking up too much of the sidewalk right now, I would not pay it. You have to eat. You have to pay rent.”

The fines need to be lowered, said Matthew Shapiro, legal director of the Street Vendor Project: “The fines can go up to $1,000 for not wearing your license outside your jacket. You have to be 10 feet from a crosswalk; if you’re eight feet, it’s a $1,000 fine.”

Many customers agree the city’s being too hard on these falafel-serving entrepreneurs. “They probably don’t follow most of the rules out there,” said financial advisor Gary Schneider, as he waited to get his lunch from a chicken-and-rice vendor. “But the food is quick and easy, and good.”

“They’re just trying to make a living,” agreed Dmitry Cherchas.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.