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Old Dec 23, 2009, 12:15 PM   #1
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Default New York City Street Vendors

According to weather.com, this morning's temperature is "25 degrees" but "feels like 13". That's 7 degrees below freezing but feels like 19 below freezing. That's brrr-cold.

Following are pictures of people who make a living early out on the streets of New York -- they are the sidewalk vendors many office workers and building tenants can't live (or at least function coherently) without.

#1. Newspaper vendor under the 42nd Street overpass fronting Grand Central Station.

In the three bracketed images of this HDR-edit, the vendor is actually swaying from side to side. He is doing this to generate body heat.

#2. Fruit vendor on Madison and 40th.

Many of his fellow fruit vendors along my walk to work are absent today. He's actually the only one who made it in. As you can see, he is moving. He is constantly moving. Stopping would mean loss of body heat. In the third frame of this bracketed picture, he's near-invisible as he is moving toward the other side of his cart.

#3. Coffee vendors have it made -- they are shielded from the cold and wind gusts. They're my source (and many New Yorkers' source) of smiles and early morning happy banter (which perhaps preserves our sanity) before plunging headlong into the dog-eat-dog corporate-world of Wall-Street.

This one on Park and 41st is where I get my daily morning coffee from. And, yes, many of them mean their nice smiles all year long.

#4. Corner newsstand.


Corner newsstands are the best protected. I'd say they're the elite mansion-dwellers among New York City's street vendors.

Depending on what they're selling, sidewalk vendors are either exposed to the elements or have some protection. It must be agonizing during exceptionally cold mornings for those with no protection trying to decide whether to just stay home or risk getting sick. According to one website, losing a day's take on a good day could mean losing the equivalent of a month's utility bill or, worse, rent.

As always, C&C welcome. All pics are taken today. Thank you for looking!
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Old Dec 23, 2009, 2:14 PM   #2
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Nice collection of very clear shots of the cities fixtures.
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Old Dec 23, 2009, 2:35 PM   #3
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Thanks, Bynx. I had a lot of fun post-processing the glass and stainless steel surfaces. Even the underexposed shot below of the coffee vendor's cart didn't show the bagels inside the glass as clearly -- PE brought it out.

Underexposed bracket shot:
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Old Dec 23, 2009, 4:37 PM   #4
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Very nice. The second and 4th are brilliant. I love the motion blur of the second and fourth image. Well done.
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Old Dec 23, 2009, 5:09 PM   #5
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Magazine quality lighting!

Some of NYC's finest cuisine is fond right on the street and you have captured the essence of it.
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Old Dec 23, 2009, 5:33 PM   #6
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Never been to NYC.

Great pictures...I can't imagine being outside for many hours in colder weather like some of the pictured vendors.

Also seeing a fruit vendor in the open air in well below freezing temps...wonder how his produce weathers the cold.

Interesting carts...more complicated then the vendor carts we see here.

The carts with enclosures...sort of small trailers look very well built, probably expensive. The permanent vendor building is something I've never seen before...looks like it anchored right on a raised, purpose built foundation on the city sidewalk.

It would be interesting to know the city contract, taxes, set up needed for a permanent structure like that.

Our vendors only run from spring, through summer, pack it up by October. Winters here can get to be 30 to 40 below for periods.

They use smaller carts...all open, except for a few chip wagons which are converted city delivery vans.

Great series a bit of social history of NYC vendors that will be interesting to see 25 years later.
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Old Dec 24, 2009, 9:33 AM   #7
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Thank you, jgredline, jelpee, and lesmore49 for your kind comments.

I found this article containing the nitty-gritty on NYC street vending.

http://www.slate.com/id/2224941/

Essentially, NYC doesn’t set the price on how much monthly rent a street vendor pays the city for a spot in high traffic tourist attractions like the Met. The price is set by auction among competing vendors. In the article, the winning vendor agreed to pay the city $362,201 for one year or $53,558 per month to sell hotdogs.

About a year ago I remember reading a similar article where a street vendor pays the city $175,000 a year for a street corner in midtown Manhattan (where Saks, Bergdorf Goodman, and all the other posh department stores are) to sell peanuts. I thought that was excessive and maybe I remember wrong but the article above confirms my memory.

For other street corners around the city that are not “parks”, there is no rent. The street vendor only pays for the city permit ($50 for two years, if I understand NYC’s website correctly) plus the cost of his cart. Recently I saw the movie, “Man Push Cart”, on Netflix about a Pakistani coffee street vendor in NYC. He pays $5,000 for his stainless steel coffee cart similar to #3 above.

Yes, jelpee, great food is right there on the streets of NYC. My favorite is chicken gyro -- that's chunks of grilled chicken breast wrapped inside a pita bread topped with chopped green salad and white and red hot and spicy sauce. Some sell it for $3.75 but people don't bother for change so it goes for $4. That's pretty cheap.

For breakfast, large coffee is $1.25 and a bagel I think is 50 cents. For me, I get a roll with butter for breakfast for a $2 total.

They put too much butter, though. I scrape it off with a plastic spoon. Looking at the heaping mound of butter on the plastic spoon, I can't imagine what would happen to my arteries if I stuff it all in.

My coffee street vendor is manned by two very friendly Moroccan immigrants and they already know what I get. They watch the street crowd always so by the time I get to their cart, my coffee and roll are ready. Still, when there's a line -- as is most often the case -- it feels good to say, "The usual please", in front of all the other patrons when my turn comes.
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Old Dec 24, 2009, 9:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lesmore49 View Post
Never been to NYC.

Great pictures...I can't imagine being outside for many hours in colder weather like some of the pictured vendors.

Also seeing a fruit vendor in the open air in well below freezing temps...wonder how his produce weathers the cold.

Interesting carts...more complicated then the vendor carts we see here.

The carts with enclosures...sort of small trailers look very well built, probably expensive. The permanent vendor building is something I've never seen before...looks like it anchored right on a raised, purpose built foundation on the city sidewalk.

It would be interesting to know the city contract, taxes, set up needed for a permanent structure like that.

Our vendors only run from spring, through summer, pack it up by October. Winters here can get to be 30 to 40 below for periods.

They use smaller carts...all open, except for a few chip wagons which are converted city delivery vans.

Great series a bit of social history of NYC vendors that will be interesting to see 25 years later.
BTW, interesting info about city carts in Western Canada. Thanks for sharing.
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Old Dec 24, 2009, 5:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vvcarpio View Post
Thank you, jgredline, jelpee, and lesmore49 for your kind comments.

I found this article containing the nitty-gritty on NYC street vending.

http://www.slate.com/id/2224941/

Essentially, NYC doesn’t set the price on how much monthly rent a street vendor pays the city for a spot in high traffic tourist attractions like the Met. The price is set by auction among competing vendors. In the article, the winning vendor agreed to pay the city $362,201 for one year or $53,558 per month to sell hotdogs.

About a year ago I remember reading a similar article where a street vendor pays the city $175,000 a year for a street corner in midtown Manhattan (where Saks, Bergdorf Goodman, and all the other posh department stores are) to sell peanuts. I thought that was excessive and maybe I remember wrong but the article above confirms my memory.

For other street corners around the city that are not “parks”, there is no rent. The street vendor only pays for the city permit ($50 for two years, if I understand NYC’s website correctly) plus the cost of his cart. Recently I saw the movie, “Man Push Cart”, on Netflix about a Pakistani coffee street vendor in NYC. He pays $5,000 for his stainless steel coffee cart similar to #3 above.

Yes, jelpee, great food is right there on the streets of NYC. My favorite is chicken gyro -- that's chunks of grilled chicken breast wrapped inside a pita bread topped with chopped green salad and white and red hot and spicy sauce. Some sell it for $3.75 but people don't bother for change so it goes for $4. That's pretty cheap.

For breakfast, large coffee is $1.25 and a bagel I think is 50 cents. For me, I get a roll with butter for breakfast for a $2 total.

They put too much butter, though. I scrape it off with a plastic spoon. Looking at the heaping mound of butter on the plastic spoon, I can't imagine what would happen to my arteries if I stuff it all in.

My coffee street vendor is manned by two very friendly Moroccan immigrants and they already know what I get. They watch the street crowd always so by the time I get to their cart, my coffee and roll are ready. Still, when there's a line -- as is most often the case -- it feels good to say, "The usual please", in front of all the other patrons when my turn comes.
Thanks vcarpio for the interesting info...boy $ 363K is a lot of hotdogs...but then taxi licenses sell for about the same out here. Thank you again for the info and the article...fascinating world...the world of commerce.

Les
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Old Dec 25, 2009, 10:23 AM   #10
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Fantastic series and interesting informations about the street vendords, vvcarpio! My favourite is #2 - you can really feel the ice-cold temperatures in NYC!
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