NEW YORK (PIX11) — Mayor Eric Adams warned allowing food vendors without permits to sell fruit in the city’s subway system could lead to people bringing propane tanks into the system and barbecuing by train tracks.
His argument about food sales came after police handcuffed Maria Falcon, a mom selling mangoes and kiwis in a subway station. She was taken into custody on April 29 at the Broadway Junction station. Falcon has a food vendor license, but she does not have a permit to vend, according to the Street Vendor Project.
“If we follow the rules, we don’t have these incidents,” Adams said on Monday in response to a video of Falcon’s arrest being shared on social media.
Falcon was held for about two hours after she was handcuffed. She said police threw her fruits and chocolate in the trash, then gave her a property voucher to reclaim her cutting board, cart and other non-perishable materials.
Permits to vend can be near impossible to obtain. There’s even an underground market where permits can go for up to $20,000 each.
Adams stressed that rules need to be followed, particularly around food. He worried someone could get sick from food sold without all legal standards met. Adams indicated there could be a slippery slope if rules aren’t followed.
“Next day is propane tanks being on the subway system, next day is barbecuing on the subway system,” he said. “You just can’t do that.”
Adams’ reaction was similar to his stance following the viral arrest of a woman selling churros. At the time, he was Brooklyn borough president.
“Those officers did the right thing because you can’t have everyone in the subway system, that’s a very dangerous place, he said at the time. “When you handcuff a person because they were doing a minor infraction, that is what causes things to escalate, that is where things went wrong.”
The @NYCMayor position was similar when he was Brooklyn Borough president and a woman was arrested for selling churros in a station, however he believed then she didn’t need to be handcuffed. Here a clip from back then on @PIX11News https://t.co/YKw4yfvOk7 pic.twitter.com/BnItionkdf— Dan Mannarino (@DanMannarino) May 9, 2022