A Brief History of New York City Street Vending
Street vending has been a part of New York City’s public life for hundreds of years, often taken up by newcomers to the country and New Yorkers excluded from the formal economy, as a means of starting a small business. For this special virtual program, we will be joined by Cindy VandenBosch and Andrew Gustafson of Turnstile Tours, who will explore street vending history from the 19th century to today and examine how the city’s physical, culinary, artistic, and legal landscape has been shaped by vendors.
We’ll be joined for a special visit from street vendor MD Alam, calling in from his food cart Royal Grill Halal Food to share with us how his business has survived during COVID-19. For over 10 years, they have set up at 44th St and 6th Ave, often with lines stretching down towards 5th Avenue, preparing all their specialties such as chicken tikka masala and biryani with a unique blend of spices which Alam says is “prepared with love”.
This program is presented by the non-profit Street Vendor Project, a project of the Urban Justice Center, as part of a series of monthly fundraising events highlighting the history and culture of street vending in New York City.
All ticket costs go to supporting SVP, a membership-based organization working to defend the rights and improve the working conditions of the approximately 20,000 people who sell food and merchandise on the streets of New York City.