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Sunnyside’s Street Vendors Are Likely to be Gone for Good

Under the 46th Street Station (Photo: QueensPost)

Dec. 30, 2013 By Christian Murray

Several street vendors have been kicked out of Sunnyside in recent weeks after being found to be violating health department codes and for posing a risk to public safety, officials said.

The large fruit stand and long-serving Halal cart have both disappeared from under the 46th Street train station in recent times as Community Board 2 has been working with the police in getting rid of unlawful street vendors.

Fruit Stand (Photo: QueensPost)

Joe Conley, chairman of Community Board 2, said many people have been complaining about the cleanliness of the street vendors and are supportive of the board’s efforts. Furthermore, he said, it was not fair that local restaurant owners are subject to vigorous inspections from the health department, yet there was very little oversight of street vendors.

Conley said the fruit stand owner was first cited for storing his fruits and vegetables on the ground, a violation of the health code. He said there are pigeons and rats under the 46th Street station and that such a practice was particularly unsanitary.

The owner of the fruit stand could not be reached for comment.

Additionally, Conley said, the owner of the Halal cart parked his cart under the 46th Street station 24 hours per day. He said the owner is supposed to take the cart away once a day to restock it. “We saw him refilling his supplies from a car on a hot day,” Conley said. “It’s a question of health.”

The owner of the cart could not be reached for comment.

But the vendors are likely to be gone long term because the community board and the police deem them a threat to public safety—since the area below the station was beginning to get cluttered.

If the 7 train had to be evacuated, Conley said, there would be a lot of people crammed into the space below the station as they tried to exit. “They would have to navigate through the vendors…and at one point there were 4 or 5 vendors there,” Conley said. “This is an issue of public safety.”

Furthermore, the New York City administrative code prohibits vendors from operating within ten feet of any driveway, any subway entrance or exit, or any crosswalk at any intersection.

Meanwhile, the vendors on 46th Street between Queens Blvd and Greenpoint Ave. were cleared out because they lacked vendor licenses, Conley said. There were vendors selling bootlegged items, to a woman selling shaved ice. “They had no right to be there,” Conley said.

Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District has supported Community Board 2’s efforts from the start. In a statement, Rachel Thieme, the executive director of the BID, said: “Our organization represents brick and mortar businesses in Sunnyside, and we are supportive of the vendor enforcement at the 46th Street pedestrian plaza.  We appreciate the work of the 108th precinct and Community Board 2 to enforce the law.”

Captain Brian Hennessy, the commander of the 108 police precinct, could not be reached for comment.

The community board has been targeting unlawful vendors for years.

A fruit vendor located next to the 52nd Street station was thrown out some time ago after being cited for violating health department rules. The vendor was storing food on the side walk, which was covered with pigeon excrement.

Conley said that the health department seized all his merchandise and threw it into a garbage truck. He said it happened twice before the vendor got the message.

“It was mind boggling how people would buy from him given the pigeons and the rats in the area,” Conley said.

Meanwhile, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, issued a statement on the role of street vendors in the neighborhood:

“While some people love them and some people hate them, clearly there is a place for street vendors. Food carts, pretzel stands, and hotdog vendors have always been ubiquitous in New York City.”

“The city has the obligation however to make sure that all laws and health codes are followed. If vendors are breaking the rules or endangering public safety, they should be fined and removed if deemed a danger.”

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no way

Hey conly u don’t reading Sunnyside post.come on sat think you know everything but you don’t know anything.dont be shy be man please..


plus complaining about trash when you can WALK FOR BLOCKS before you can find a garbage can, I walked today from 48 and 43rd until 44 and 43rd before finding a garbage can …. those restaurant owners that claim sunnyside their beloved neighborhood should do something about that… no wonder why people don’t pick up after their dogs …


Also sanitation laws are way though for street vendors than restaurants. I did saw him loading and unloading water, which I though it was HEALTHY, those carts only carry between 30 to 50 gallons of water depending of the size, you can’t expect that to last the whole day


If people only knew what happens in side a restaurant… If we are talking about being clean there should be a LOT of restaurants that should be closed for good.
I ate from the Halal cart and it was very good and it look WAY BETTER than the other halal food places along queens blvd, not to mention that I order a salad from a dinner from which I will not disclose the name and it has a mosquito in the lettuce, THEY REFUSED TO GIVE ME MY MONEY BACK, they wanted me to order something else…. from a place that does not clean their veggies before putting them on a plate, don’t think so , talk about salmonella on a fork.
Sunnyside has become a bubble of close minded people who believe they live in the upper east side, and are oblivious to the damages they do to honest working people with their outrageous laws….
We cannot have a food cart, but yet no body complained about the 2 spa/hair/nail salons that opened in less than 3 months….


great, the place where i’d buy my breakfast of 2 bananas for 50 cents and my late night 5 dollar dinner is gone… this is ridiculous. that halal cart would have people lined up, from all walks of life, who wanted a hot dinner and only had 5 bucks to spend. sorry, this is a huge blow for the working man and a gain only for rich people and lobbyists.


I personally like the food carts when I’m bombed, but the reality is that it only takes one outbreak of foodborne illness and all of the pro-cart people on this thread will be headed to court to sue the city for as much as they can get. If they were not up to code, the city has the responsibility to remove them. Even if some of you enjoyed the cheap food, as I did, you need to concede this fact. Also, it’s not fair that brick/mortar establishments are given letter grades while these carts squat in different parts of neighborhoods (low overhead costs) while bucking food sanitation laws.

South Side Johnny

Um, no one is contesting their right to be anywhere; it’s when they start conducting commerce and selling food in an unhygenic manner that they run into government interference. We’ve established regulations so that society’s safety is preserved. If you do not like it, go live in a lawless society where no one cares about good health. I’m glad that we have these rules.


You need to be a disgusting slob to eat a greasy sandwich on the streets. Sit down somewhere like a human being, and eat properly for 5-10 minutes? They should get rid if every food cart in the city.


Health hazard, unsightly, noise pollution from the generator, air pollution from the generator, clutter, smell… Who the hell needs this crap? They should be given the boot!


How about the old lady on my block (48th Street between Skillman and 39th Ave.) who sells baked goods outside her house everyday? Unrefrigerated baked goods, even in 100 degree summer heat. Now there’s a health hazard.


The halal e-coli stand is back at 40th… How the hell is it fair that others have to pay 8-10 thousand dollars a month for rent, but this douchebag gets to set up shop for free?


“There were vendors selling bootlegged items, to a woman selling shaved ice. ‘They had no right to be there,’ Conley said.”

Um, anyone has a natural right to be anywhere in public they please. This isn’t a matter of rights, it’s a matter of government monetization of public space. And not playing by the government’s arbitrary rules means they can send their goons to arrest people.


Unfortunately I think the one I get my “fix” from under the 46th street is the one that is really gone for good as it has remained empty for a few weeks already.


The “likely gone for good” lasted all of two days. The halel truck was back at the 40th Street station on Wednesday (1/1) afternoon, parked in the midst of the urban jungle gym.

Always Sunny

So the police can clear out the vendors from under the subway, but seem to not be interested in clearing out the drunks who practically live in Noonan Park. Why?


This is bull. There are families in this neighborhood who can’t afford fruits and vegetable in these grocery stores in the area. Not all of us are hipsters.

Ahmet Gurbuz

I have no comments for the halal food truck because I don’t eat that but I believe the fruit vendor should be there because the prices were cheaper than the supermarkets. I personally know all the fruits and vegetables were fresh. It’s sad to not see the fresh fruits there.


Why don’t they get rid of the women selling the illegal dyd’s? if the vendors go, they should go too!


Where will one eat now at 4am? Don’t mess with the Taco truck on 41st st, it’s a Sunnyside institution. What if i dont want mexican?


Instead of worrying about vendors trying to
make a meager living, why not clear out the
drunks sprawled out on the benches (and urinating,etc)
all over Sunnyside. It’s awful and everywhere – even
inside some playgrounds. Who cares if someone
is selling ice out on the street, when there are many
larger issues in Sunnyside.


Please insert “we” between “rather” and “just” in the last line of the first paragraph.


Another example of the marriage of politicians and business owners remaking the neighborhood for themselves, and not for the people who live here. They would really rather just move away or die off.

Vultures–wearing the tidy suits of civilization–feasting on the weak to make room for the strong. I think I’ll go throw up now.

Jacob Fink

Can we do something in this community to stop the solicitors with their shopping carts from dumping flyers all over the is a complete nuisance to deal with this garbage on a daily basis…these people casually toss flyers over fences on front lawns in hallways and along fences…it really needs to stop!!!


52nd Street the illegal garbage dumping continues and is worse than ever. Make some damn arrests! Or close off the ugly park and remove the garbage cans.


How about the vendors in Woodside under the train stations it is just horrible and also the dumping of garbage in the bins that come from illegal apartments — nothing is ever picked up — who is doing something about this!!!!!!!!

Cheese-it. The cops!

Anyone notice the deployment of police in our ‘hood yesterday? There were 2 police cars on Skillman and one on 46th St. There were cops walking the beat. I talked to one and he said they will be here for the next few days. He mentioned break-ins as a reason. Seems every 5 or 6 years Sunnyside gets this treatment. Then they leave and…

South Side Johnny

I think the best lamb sandwich is to be found at Mangal, the proper restaurant across the street from the el. Whatever is cooking (or heating up) in these carts and trucks smells weird- very pungent, like they’re cooking organ meat (tripe?). Who knows what they are seving- it’s all hidden away. No thanks. The people of Sunnyside deserve more; including the respect of the vendors. They think they can serve leftover scraps from the butcher and we will eat it! No WAY.


What became of the mitigation system? did not hear the sound for a while, did it work,are the pigeons all gone?

Where is the class

Oh I feel safer about the clutter next to the exits of the subway.
When Sunnyside host musicians to play right next to the 46th st subway entrance and invite people to sit down with seats that is not a problem in case of evacuation. Permitted carts and vendors have rights to sell stuff hence the reason for a permit . Someone is pissed off about something. While we are talking about pigeon excrement how About the cops/ politicians target the pigeon feeding lady who makes her rounds at 6am by leaving a trail of old food behind.


Swagbibi — the prices at Sofra are 2-3 times as much as the cart and it isn’t open late at night. The point people were trying to make was that the carts were an affordable convenience for the working class, especially those of work late nights.


I hope Conley and his cronies don’t mess with Taco Rey de Oro underneath the 52nd St. station. This late night taco truck defines our diverse working class neighborhood. Street vendors like this one strengthen our ties with the rest of the international express to our east and distances ourselves from gentrification that is now expanding from LIC.

P.S. Didn’t we just spend $250K on a pigeon mitigation system? Why are pigeons now the scapegoat for an attack on our street vendors?


For all the halal lovers out there, Sofra on 43rd and 43rd has the same food as the halal truck. They have the best lamb evvvveerrrrrr … just saying ;]


I think we should have a Sunnyside Flea under the 7 train. Vendors of all things unique and food vendors too!


This is gross. Joe Conley clearly wants to run for office and thinks that by taking away the vendors, he can finally show one accomplishment. The brick and mortar of Sunnyside are the thousands of residents who get off the 7 train after 16 hour days and want something cheap and warm to eat. What is “mind boggling” about that? What small business was the Halal truck negatively affecting?

The majority of the neighborhood, not the rich people who can afford to care about the Community Board’s vendor crusade, want the vendors! This is gentrification plain and simple. Gross!


Thank god! It’s foul that people would go to those places and not even know what the items have went through due to the fact that whatever the street vendors are selling are being exposed to hazardous outdoor elements health wise. Fruits stored on the ground with pigeon feces?! I wouldn’t even dare purchase an item that is stored in such a way. Most of the time street vendors isn’t the first place for a quick buy and people should think about how the merchandise is being taken care of.


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