Food Trucks Face Unfair Law in New York

by Virgilia Singh |

The story behind the food truck craze a familiar one — with the economic slump making it incredibly difficult to run a restaurant in NYC, chefs and restaurateurs who had either lost their jobs or didn’t want to take a large risk sought for a more cost-effective and mobile option.

Native New Yorker Dennis Kum is just one great example. While growing up in Queens, his family gatherings always featured good food with bold flavors influenced by Guyana. His family’s home food ultimately shaped his love of food which became a desire to learn how to cook. Under the alias of “Big D,” Kum opened up his food truck in Manhattan called Big D’s Grub Truck.

During the past few weeks, “Big D” and many other food truck owners have been harassed, ticketed, and forced to shut down their businesses during peak business hours. As a result, they are not only fined but are forced to suffer the loss of a day’s business, according to a petition being circulated now.

There is an obscure 1950s-era law barring vendors from parking at a metered space and selling merchandise out of their vehicles. According to the regulation, no “vendor, hawker or huckster shall park a vehicle at a metered parking space” to offer “merchandise for sale from the vehicle.”

The city has created a situation in which it enforces an old parking regulation preventing the sale of merchandise at a metred parking spot, but yet allows food trucks to operate and in fact issues them permits to operate.

In response to the outdated law, Big D started a petition geared at NYC Council Members and Mayor Bloomberg to change the law so that food trucks can operate without being harassed and fined.

At Invoke, we’re strong supporters of food carts. Our development team built the Eat St. App to better connect consumers and vendors in North America, including New York. Our Vancouver office regularly hosts Food Cart Fridays. We’re in favour of the petition, which so far has received more than 700 signatures and is rapidly growing.

We urge the NYC council members and Mayor Bloomberg to reconsider the regulation and allow the NYC food truck industry to continue providing the people of the city with diverse food options and a diverse culture. In the meantime, if you want to be able to track where the food trucks in New York are, use the Eat Street app for iPhone or Android to browse vendors, locations, menus and specials.