The New York City Department of Sanitation is poised to take control of the city’s enforcement efforts against illegal street vendors, as part of an effort by Mayor Adams to better control the problem.
Vending regulations are currently enforced by the city’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, but that will end on April 1, when DSNY assumes that role.
“Street vendors are a vital part of New York City’s economic and cultural landscape, but unregulated street vending is a quality-of-life issue that affects the health, safety, accessibility, prosperity, and cleanliness of our streets, sidewalks and neighborhoods,” Adams said in a written statement to the Daily News.
“With DSNY taking responsibility for enforcing street vending regulations, New Yorkers will enjoy a better quality of life, cleaner and more accessible streets, and a more welcoming city.”
The city’s worker protection agency will continue to issue vendor licenses, and the Health Department will continue to be responsible for permitting and inspecting mobile food vendors.
The street vending enforcement became a flashpoint of controversy during the administration of former mayor Bill de Blasio after the New York police, who were responsible for the enforcement at the time, arrested a woman selling churros at a Brooklyn subway station in 2019.
A year later, de Blasio shifted that responsibility away from the police department, earning praise from vendor advocates.
But the application of the sale remains a sensitive issue. Last week, Councilwoman Sandra Ung (D-Queens) called on the Adams administration to crack down on the vendors. after complaints from storefront businesses that compete with vendors, who have the advantage of not having to pay rent to do business.
“Everywhere I go, community leaders, elected officials and residents tell me about unlicensed peddling,” DSNY Commissioner Jessica Tisch told The News. “This is a problem that the men and women of Sanitation are ready to get to work solving.”