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Vending: Not As Easy A Lemonade Stand


Street Vending has been around since the beginning of trade. From the Silk road and different merchant vendors. From spices to clothes to silk, everything including information was passed along through these vendors. America is an immigrant-dominated vendor industry. After California became a state in 1850, street vending became popular in the second part of the nineteenth century. In 1870, some of the first street sellers were Mexican and Chinese immigrants. The city attempted to limit their travel by 1890, but the meal proved to be too popular. In the 1850s, railroad dining carts were the first mobile food merchants. People may buy meals aboard the train or from one of the many vendors who set up shop at railroad stations. In 1866, Charles Goodnight devised the Chuck Wagon to feed cattlemen and wagon trains heading west, according to Mobile Cuisine's chronology. For hundreds of years, street selling has been a feature of New York City's public life, often used as a means of launching a small business by newcomers to the nation and New Yorkers who are barred from the formal economy. In New York City, there are up to 20,000 street vendors, including hot dog vendors, flower vendors, t-shirt vendors, street artists, fancy food trucks, and more. They are small business owners who are having difficulty making ends meet. Immigrants and people of color make up the majority of the population. Some are veterans of the United States military who have served their country. They toil long hours in inhospitable conditions for nothing more than the opportunity to sell their wares on the public sidewalk. Vendors, on the other hand, have been the target of New York's relentless "quality of life" crackdown in recent years. Vending permits have been denied to them. At the urging of influential business groups, many avenues have been restricted to them. They are subjected to expensive fines for small infractions such as vending too close to a crosswalk – far more than any large corporation is compelled to pay for similar infractions. Surprisingly, neither hot dogs nor pretzels were the first foods offered on New York City's streets. Oysters and clams, which were cheap and simple to come by, were the first known street snacks. Henry Hudson discovered one of the world's most spectacular ports when he first arrived in 1609. Thomas Downing, a pioneer in the oyster business, was one of the most well-known figures in New York City's oyster craze. He was a former slave who moved to New York City with his family in 1825 and started an oyster house on Broad Street, which quickly became one of the city's most famous restaurants. Downing offered raw oysters, fried oysters, stews, and even an oyster-stuffed poached turkey. He was not just recognized for his delicious meals, but he was also a well-known abolitionist crusader. While pushcarts, or carts on wheels, have been a part of the city's streets for generations, around the close of the Civil War, a large number of immigrant populations began to settle in the city, particularly in the Lower East Side. Tenement apartments began to spring up all over the Lower East Side in the 1840s, thanks to an influx of Irish and German immigrants. Then, from 1880 to 1925, 2.5 million primarily destitute Ashkenazi Jews flocked to New York. Many Jewish immigrants ran their own pushcarts to make ends meet. Street carts grew in popularity as a result of the Great Depression. Because there were so many unemployed New Yorkers, many turned to sell low-cost items like apples or potatoes. Joseph Sicker, head of the International Apple Shippers' Association, came up with the concept of putting people to work by selling apples for a nickel on the street in the fall of 1930. Apple sellers, now an iconic image of the city's Depression, accounted for between 4,000 to 6,000 of the city's unemployed. But a lot has changed since then with the introduction of food trucks and a lot of street vendors. Although the food truck craze may have passed, New Yorkers have embraced the city's new infatuation with food halls and indoor markets. With the launch of Brooklyn's Smorgasburg in 2011, the country's largest weekly outdoor food market, street vending was elevated to new heights. Smorgasburg, as well as the Brooklyn Flea and the food and beer hall Berg'n, are the brainchild of Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler. On Saturdays on the Williamsburg waterfront and Sundays in Prospect Park, over 100 local vendors serve 20,000-30,000 people.

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