A Bay Ridge community board voted unanimously last Wednesday to ban food vendors along a stretch of busy 86th Street.
Members of Community Board 10 said the handful of hot dog and other food vendors between Fourth and Fifth avenues was a menace that attracts crowds and litter.
“It would be best to have no vending at all,” said the board’s District Manager Josephine Beckmann. “It just causes problems. The issue is cleanliness.”
The community board vendor ban request, which is only advisory, now heads to the city’s Department of Small Business Services for further review.
The proposal would affect the three vendors who regularly set up on the block. As you might expect, they weren’t pleased.
“I have nothing else to support my family,” said Sam Aped, 32, who sells chicken, lamb and falafel out of a silver food cart near the corner of 86th Street and Fifth Avenue.
The hard-working Aped started as a food vendor in Manhattan a year ago, but relocated to Bay Ridge to improve his business and nourish local shoppers.
“It’s very difficult,” he said while slicing eggplant. “If I have a job I do my best to keep that job.”
Aped’s customers certainly support his right to make a living selling low-cost food with little wait time.
“I don’t see the benefit of banning them,” said Kelene, a 26-year-old woman who ordered a hot dog. “I just want something quick and easy without the wait.”
Another customer, Kawain Boston, agreed.
“They just sell good food,” said Boston, who looked forward to indulging in a chicken gyro. “You can’t find that at McDonald’s — that’s why I come here.”
But at least one 86th Street restaurant owner showed little sympathy for his competition.
“I would bomb them out if I could,” said the restaurateur, who requested anonymity for obvious reasons.