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MONDAY, MAY 19, 2008 // ISSUE 097. // VOLUME 6 ‘Vending’ t eir anger Vendor vigil at Mike's house __ By David Freedlander dfreedlander@am-ny.com Food and merchandise vendors are planning to set up shop outside the may- or’s Upper East Side town house starting today and are vowing to-stay around- the-clock until the mayor © agrees to meet with them. The 24/7 vigil is in re- sponse to an increase in _ the cost and frequency of citations issued by the city, which many vendors say are often for frivolous vio- lations-like-not properly displaying a permit. Tick- et_fines can reach-up to $1,000 each. “Street ‘vendors: have been a hallmark part of the New York Gity. streetscape for the past 200 years,” said Sean Basinski of the - Street Vendor Project, an advocacy group, pointing. ‘out that city. staples like D'Agostino’s Supermarket — _and Cohen's Fashion Opti- cal began as street vendors. - Basinski added that for many setting up_a little _ business on the sidewalk is their foothold into the American dream. “Starting a brick-and- mortar business can be a million-dollar investment in New York City,” he said. “Most immigrants don’t have that kind of money.” In 2005, the Bloomberg administration began in- creasing the amount. of fines — in someases dou- bling the ‘penalty for in- fractions — in an effort to Taise revenues for the city. Administration officials last week did not respond toa request for comment concerning street vendors. Tony Dragonas, the ‘owner of a beloved Greek » food cart'on 62nd Street “and Madison Avenue, is among those planning to | protest, After 25-years on the corner, he. said. city health’ officials started showing up two to three times a year, fining him ‘hundreds of dollarsformi- | nor violations. “They give mea ticket; it takes me week to make ey to pay it back. 1 stand out in the cold all day just to support my family,” Dragonas said.