The following is a press release from the office of City Councilman Vincent Gentile:
COUNCILMAN GENTILE CALLS TO REGULATE FOOD VENDORS IN SOUTHWEST BROOKLYN
BAY RIDGE – The traditional brick and mortar shops are taking a beating and losing their customers to the restaurants on wheels who do not play by the same rules.
Councilman Vincent J. Gentile has been banging the drum on this issue since 2008 when, along with Community Board 10 and 11, he called for the NYC Department of Small Business Services to add mobile food carts to the existing “Vendor-Free Zone” within the confines of the 86th Street B.I.D.
“Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach and Bensonhurst were all built on independent retail stores and mom and pop businesses,” Councilman Gentile said. “I hear what they’re going through with City agencies trying to wring them dry with fines and they are not happy – then a food cart pulls up outside their store and competes for their business.”
“How can a brick and mortar business owner – who is already paying a premium to rent a storefront on a main strip while covering business and property taxes, water bills and private sanitation –compete with a ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ food cart?”
Not to mention, it’s the merchants who are responsible for maintaining the cleanliness outside their property and now they must also make sure that any garbage left behind by the food vendors is taken care of or else they will get a fine.
“At the very least, to level the playing field, food vendors should be held to the same standards as the City’s brick and mortar restaurants. There currently exists a double standard,” said Councilman Gentile who strongly supports and co-sponsored Councilman Garodnick’s proposed legislation which would require mobile food vendors to display letter grades similar to the ones posted in restaurants throughout the City.
“I am calling on the NYC Department of Small Business Services to revisit my request and reconvene the Street Vendor Review Panel to take another look at this area immediately.”