City may double number of food vendor permits

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TIMES SQUARE, Manhattan — Is it a moveable feast of street food vendors or a bellyaching way to clutter city sidewalks?

Rachid Ouldom works very long hours at Halal grill, just south of City Hall Park.

While Ouldom has a food vendor license, he can't get a food vendor permit. He has to work in someone else's food cart.

Ouldom is in favor of the proposed bill to double the number of food vendor permits over the next seven years.

"It's a good idea," Ouldom told PIX11. "Lot of people need work."

Since the 1980s, food vendor permits have been capped at just a little more than 4,235.

Under a NYC Council proposal, 600 new full-time permits would be added each year for the next seven years.

"This is a great balance between enforcement expanding," NYC Councilmember Mark Levine, the main sponsor of the bill, told PIX11. "There's a black market where permits cost $35,000, you shouldn't have to do that to the immigrant entrepreneur."

But the Business Improvement District Association is fighting the bill, citing crowded sidewalks and noisy generators.

"Sidewalk space is very valuable in New York City," Michael Lambert, co-chair of NYC BID Association told PIX11. "With all the street sculpture, they need to study this proposal before you put in new regulations."

Veterans groups are unhappy with the proposed bill as well.

"It will put veterans out of the business of street vendors because sidewalks will be too crowded," Boots Whitlock, a retired U.S. Marine told PIX11.