Taco Truck Bows to Pressure, Leaves Upper East Side

Paty's Taco Truck being towed, Jan. 20 (DNAinfo/Amy Zimmer)
Paty's Taco Truck being towed, Jan. 20 (DNAinfo/Amy Zimmer)

By Amy Zimmer | DNAInfo.com

MANHATTAN — After Paty’s Taco Truck was towed twice by police from its parking space on the Upper East Side last week, the mobile eatery finally left its home of two years on Monday — at least during the daytime.

The truck, which has become a lightning rod in the fight between food truck critics and fans, left its spot at Lexington Avenue and 86th Street and headed to a spot on the Upper West Side on Monday, where it served burritos, cemitas and tacos at 86th and Broadway from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., said the truck founder’s son Alberto Loera.

“We need to make some money,” said Loera, who said the family is struggling to pay their bills amid repeated towings and tickets from the NYPD on the Upper East Side.

Paty’s Tacos had spent more than two years on the Upper East Side without incident, before growing complaints by business owners and community members sparked a ticketing blitz that culminated in Loera’s arrest and the towing of the truck on Nov. 30. When Paty’s returned to its original spot last week, police again greeted it with tickets and tow trucks.

A traffic court judge eventually dismissed 10 of the 11 tickets issued against the truck by the NYPD, on the grounds that they had been written incorrectly. The judge did not dismiss a ticket for an expired registration sticker.

The East 86th Street Residents/Merchants Association has been pushing to remove Paty’s and other food trucks that crowd the area, and members say the vendors steal business from storefront shops and create congestion on already crowded sidewalks.

“It’s a public safety issue,” said Elaine Walsh, president of the East 86th Street Residents/Merchants Association, told DNAinfo previously.

Paty’s is not, however disappearing from the Upper East Side entirely.

The truck will head to the area at 7 p.m. — after the meters are no longer in effect — Loera said. “They have no excuses to give us tickets at that time,” he said.