An Elephantine Task

Picture included in Street Food Vendor Project Nicko Uncle Gussys Food Truck Food Cart in New York by Mary Catherine Messner mcmessner

In NYC, obtaining a required unrestricted, year-round, citywide mobile food vending unit (MFV) permit is nearly impossible as the city has capped the total number available at just 2,000 – no matter what type of vehicle used.  This amount was last increased in 1981, the limited waitlist last opened in 2007. Not surprisingly, permit holders rarely give them up. The arbitrarily low number fuels a booming black-market, as individual holders continually renew and then rent them out to vendors wanting to work. A black-market permit is the only option for the majority of  NYC food truck or food cart vendors. MFV permits, which cost just $200 to renew every two years, currently fetch $25,000 on the black-market.

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