New Bills Aim to End Cap on Street Vendor Permits in New York


Well-known member
Oct 30, 2023
This is great news for anyone looking to start their own street vendor business in New York. City Councilmembers in New York put out several bills to lift the cap limit on the amount of street vendors allowed to operate in New York. Before this change, the state only issued 400 new vendor permits per year, as of 2021 legislation. But seeing as there is 10,000+ on the waitlist to get their hands on a permit, these new rules could help give more people the opportunity to start their own street vendor shop and sooner rather then later.

One of the bills being discussed is to also decriminalize street vending outright. So that's an added bonus on top of it all.

You can read more about this news from NY Eater.
New York, New York, United States
That is a lot of people waiting to be heard. I hope these bills as passed into law and vendors can finally run their shops in peace. Should make things easier when going through all these 10K plus permit sign-ups. There will still be strict rules to follow, just like any business.
After reading the article, it looks like many bills are packaged as one. Pork sandwich, anyone?

I am confused, though. Why would they lift the amount of permits that can be issued while decriminalizing the act of street vending? Without the extra bill, would even vending with a permit be illegal?
This is a game-changing development for aspiring street vendors in New York. The City Council's efforts to remove the cap on street vendors and decriminalize their activities is a positive step towards entrepreneurship and economic growth. With thousands on the waitlist, these new rules offer hope and opportunity to those seeking to start their own businesses. Exciting times ahead for the street vending community in the Big Apple.
Removing the cap on how many street vendors are allowed to operate in New York is a game changer. With costs being as high as they are at the moment and more people looking for ways to make a little extra, this will help so many be able to get into the vendor business and make their lives better financially.

This is a great change!
I am confused, though. Why would they lift the amount of permits that can be issued while decriminalizing the act of street vending? Without the extra bill, would even vending with a permit be illegal?

The problem is that the cap on street vending permits is so low compared to the demand that black market street vending has become rampant. The big push right now is to raise or eliminate the cap, but that may not necessarily happen. Unsurprisingly, doing away with the cap is opposed by brick-and-mortar businesses who don't want the extra competition. As mentioned in this more recent article, it looks like these business's opposition resulted in the reform bill not even coming up for discussion at NYC Council's latest meeting.

So considering all the illegal vendors operating in New York because of the low cap (which may or may not stay in place), and that most of these vendors are low income immigrants, you have to wonder whether the City's punishments for all these offenders really fits the crime. According to the article linked above, "under current law, vendors who operate without a license can be subject to a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment of up to three months, or both."

Does it make sense that poor people should face prison time for the crime of selling food without a permit? It sounds like advocates of reform are at least trying to decriminalize illegal street vending in the sense of reducing penalties to civil fines rather than criminal punishment. Hopefully the cap is lifted or eliminated but, if it isn't, I think decriminalization would at least be a step in the right direction.
Lifting the cap on the number of street vendor permits and potentially decriminalizing street vending in New York City is certainly a positive development for aspiring entrepreneurs. This will allow more people to engage in street vending, give a boost to economic activity, and also create opportunities for those on the waitlist. This change wil contribute to a more inclusive and diverse market, will foster entrepreneurship and potentially address some of the challenges faced by aspiring vendors.