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14 May 2009

New York's "Green" Street Vendors

A green street vendor at 84th Street and Park Avenue.

A while ago I read that New York was going to issue another 1,000 street vendor permits, in addition to the already 3,000 that they issue, to "green" carts that would peddle produce exclusively. To be honest I thought it was a bad idea. They were controlling where they could set up shop, the number of permits available, and the good to be sold. I suppose specifying the good to be sold, in this case produce, is fine, but the rest just seemed like a bunch of bureaucratic hassle and piecemeal economic development.

Wow was I wrong. Why doesn't Chicago have these things? I don't care what silly bureaucratic nonsense has to go down. When I was in NY I ate more fruit and less crap because I could pick up two apples and two oranges for $2 right before I hoped on #2 train in Harlem everyday (too many twos?). Harlem - fruit? There have been entire chapters in prominent books devoted to the fact that getting produce to city dwellers is a problem. Especially if they're poor.

Naturally, the grocery stores complained and of course they have a point, but here's mine. I live in a city and when I go grocery shopping I generally have to carry it home. I don't like to go shopping for groceries too often so I buy a limited amount of fruit due to its weight and perishablility. Thus, by placing fruit strategically on my walking routes my diet and well being were improved.

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