Use of Video
Edible Manhattan

New Yorkers Mobilize to Lift the Cap on Street Vendor Permits

James Boo

What the Judges Say

This film did a number of things that most documentary films should strive for: provide new information, connect the viewer on a character and story level, keep the viewer interested, and leave them wanting more. That is no easy task in 20 minutes, let alone one minute. Through simple, artistic, and clear filmmaking, Mobilize explained a topic and some of the challenges behind it in the perfect, internet-ready length.

On September 22, 2015, New York street vendors of all stripes, seeking regulation changes that would improve the standing of their small businesses, descended on City Hall to make the case for their shared identity. Their protest followed nearly two years of work with city officials on a vendor reform bill that has yet to make it to the city council floor.

The vendors’ leading request is an increase the number of general vending permits available to New Yorkers who want to work. While this “lift the caps” campaign has been underway for two years, the limit on permits has been set to roughly 3,000 for much longer — since 1981. In this episode of 1 Minute Meal, Street Vendor Project leadership board member Mohamed Attia explains how important lifting this cap is to the economic survival of vendors trying to make a living in the black market that the cap has created.

Learn more about the campaign one the Street Vendor Project website.

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