Public advocate and mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio weighed in on the 5th Avenue food cart fight during a recent meeting of the Bay Ridge Democrats – stating that the carts are hurting restaurants on the strip and may have to go, writes Will Bredderman for Brooklyn Daily.
“The fact is right now that the weight of regulation falls on our traditional businesses,” de Blasio reportedly told Bredderman as he exited the meeting. “We need to be careful in regards to where we allow food vendors to be placed.”
De Blasio’s disposition on the subject closely matched those of fellow Democrat City Councilman Vincent Gentile, as well as Republican State Senator Marty Golden – both of whom say street vendors have an unfair advantage over storefront restaurants – which have to contend with scrutinizing city health inspectors’ grading systems, not to mention rent.
From Brooklyn Daily:
City agencies spring surprise inspections on food wagons and traditional restaurants alike, but only the latter is required to post inspection grades in their windows, disgruntled merchants claim.
Gentile proposed legislation in March to grade mobile vendors, and met earlier this month with Department of Small Business Services Deputy Commissioner Andrew Schwartz, demanding that the city turn Fifth Avenue around 86th Street into a food cart-free zone.
De Blasio thinks more regulation for food carts will go a long way in helping to keep better relations between mobile food vendors and restaurateurs.
The “cold war” between Middle Eastern Halal Cart operator Sammy Kassen and Lone Star Bar & Grill proprietor Tony Gentile [no relation to Councilman Vincent Gentile] began to heat up in March, when two benches were mysteriously installed in Kassen’s favorite 5th Avenue spot.