At lunchtime, there’s usually a line of hungry workers in front of the “Schnitzel & Things” truck on West 48th Street off 6th Avenue.
A midtown office worker who only identified himself as Paul, said he comes to the truck “every Thursday.”
But a proposed New York City law would slap tough penalties on vendors who get more than three parking tickets in a year specifically for feeding the meter or idling. After the second ticket, the vending license would be suspended.
After the third, the vending license would be revoked. Oleg Voss, co-owner of Schnitzel & Things, called the proposed measure “devastating”.
The bill is co-sponsored by City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin (D-East Side), who explained that “we want the vendors to feed New Yorkers, not the meter.” She talked about one food truck vendor in her district who’s “got a takeout a menu that says he’s located on 86th and Lexington every day from 11:30 until 10pm at night. And that’s just not right.”
Food truck vendors pointed to their contributions to the economy. Gene Voss, who co-owns Schnitzel & Things, said “this business has actually helped us to survive.” And questioned how “someone can just take it away for three parking tickets?”
The owner of Bistro Truck, parked on 5th Avenue near 16th Street on Thursday, said the customers who line up outside his truck are “not luck”. Yassir Raouli told us “It’s fifteen hours a day, constantly working hard to achieve this.” He too, posts his daily locations on Facebook and Twitter.
Anthony Ko, who works in midtown, believes the bill is “a little unfair because these vendors do provide a really good service.”
When we saw the Schnitzel & Things truck, it did have a valid muni-meter receipt posted by the windshield. Oleg Voss said “we wanna follow rules. But there has to be some compromise” on the measure. Lappin, who spoke to us on the steps of City Hall, didn’t seem opposed. She said “I’m always willing to hear what people have to say and have discussions.”
The first public hearing on the bill is next Wednesday, June 16th. In the meantime, some food truck owners are circulating a petition in-person and online. Voss said “we urge fans of food trucks, fans of New York City, of diversity..to go and sign that petition.”