Thank you to our Sponsors

Gold Level Sponsor Dorinda Medley Silver Level Sponsors Anonymous Amy Kantrowitz Farida Deif & Tawfiq Rangwala James Vicente Jason S. Fitz & Katarina Vretenarova Mervin Burton and Saviya Crick Jeff Zalaznick Mervin Burton & Saviya Crick Myrianne Clitus & Daniel Bustillo Nate Tharp ( Radha Rajkotia & Chris Dunn Richard Frazer Sharat Chandran Yanki Tshering & Yangchen Maya Gruben Wonita Williams

The Street Vendor Project


The Third Annual Vendy Awards
September 29, 2007 Tompkins Square Park, NYC

3 p.m. 3-7 7 7:40 ish 8 p.m. Doors open Eating, Drinking, Judging ballots due Awards Ceremony The end

Super Taco
96th Street & Broadway Specialty: tacos, tortas, tamales, quesadillas

The Benefit Committee
Sean Basinski Mervin Burton Rupa Bhattacharya Sharat Chandran Myrianne Clitus Todd Coleman Jason Fitz Amy Kantrowitz Juhayna Kassem Rachel Kleinman Serge Martinez Tawfiq Rangwala Stephanie Pilipie Nancy Ralph Marla Sincavage Laren Spirer Sam Talbot Yanki Tshering Caroline Waxler Michael Wells Wonita Williams

I was born in Puebla, Mexico. I finished high school there, then I went to work in a big factory that makes socks. I worked the machines on the factory floor, every night for 9 hours. I made 400 pesos a week, which is about $45. That is how it is in Mexico – o w rvrhrbto’ ae n m ny yu o e a udn m k ay oe. k y d t The economy there is not so good. I wanted to go into the Mexican army – father and grandfather did that and so did my brother. But my my father thought that it was not for me. Instead, I came to the U.S. I was 19 years old. My father and a couple of my brothers were in Indianapolis, but it was too quiet for me there. There was nothing to do. I have a godfather who lives in Sunset Park, so I came to Brooklyn. I went to English school for a couple months, then I got a job at a pizzeria in Park Slope. In my heart I am a pizza man. I also learned how to make spaghetti and mediterranean food. But that restaurant closed down, so I moved to another pizza place. The owner of that place sold his pizzeria to the owner of Super Tacos, which is how I got started with them. Its good —the other workers are very nice, and I get to practice my English a little with the customers. The worst part is working weekends, when the ep s ti dn r .o em s dn gto e nl o6nh m rn. xr srn o'u Sm t e Io’ ehm ut5 r it o i e as t n i t i e ng I live in Sunset Park with four roommates. We all went to school together in Puebla. We all work nights, bto em s elooh M xa briBokno ae o eu. e l p y ocr Pousm t e w ’ tt ei n a n r l thv sm f W a o l scei r i l g e c s oy n s a n s pcPr btmnte go.a oi w t i t Sp ns n Et r e eta ,uI ovr odIl l a h gh or o ad n u g. k ’ y s k cn e a e oa —- Alvaro Gonzales (not pictured)

Raffle Prizes include...
“ Tan E t g T u”freg tw t S v u F o E i rT d C lma , 7 ri ai n o r o ih i a e r o d dt o d oe n h o “ te tF o A v nue T u” frfu w t “ eiu E t” fu d rE S re o d d e tr o r o o r i S r s as o n e d h o Levine, Dinner for two at Life Café, Dinner for two at Café Steinhof, Dinner for two at Miracle Bar & Grill, Dinner for two at Mercadito, Dinner for two at SALT, Huffy Red Rock Aluminum Mountain Bike, signed copy of La Dolce Musto, Gift certificate from Three Lives Bookstore, Bottle of H n a O eFa e R v r a p er V d a a dmoe a g r n rs r ie R s b ry o k , n r….

Fares Zeideia
Fed f m“ e i oFle& r yr t Kn fa f d o h g al Shawarma 30th Street and Broadway, Astoria Age: 41 Years in business: 5 Specialty: falafel, shawarma

About the Organization
The mission of the Street Vendor Project is to advance economic justice and civil rights for all the people who sell their wares on the streets and sidewalks of New York City. This diverse group of about 10,000 New Yorkers — mostly immigrants—enlivens our city by providing convenient food and merchandise at reasonable prices. Vendors are a hallmark of our city. Yet, for many years, they have been besieged by more powerful forces. The waiting list to get some licenses is more than 20 years long. Huge swaths of the city have been closed to all vending. Every day, many vendors are arrested and prosecuted for no crime other than trying to make an honest living. The Street Vendor Project is a membership-based project with more than 650 active members who are w rn t e e t c a a edr m vm n f pr aethne F d g edr it s et ok g o t ro r t vnos oe eto em nn cag. i i vnosn h t e i gh ee ’ r nn e r s and the storage garages, we hold legal workshops to educate vendors about how to combat police harassment. We publish reports and file lawsuits — and hold events like the Vendy Awards — to raise public awareness about vendors and the contribution they make to our city. We also help vendors grow their businesses by facilitating access to small business training and loans. The Street Vendor Project is part of the Urban Justice Center, a non-profit organization that provides legal representation and advocacy to various marginalized groups of New Yorkers. The Street Vendor Project is funded through member dues, a few private foundations, and generous individuals like you. To learn more, please go to

I was born in Ramallah, Palestine and came to the U.S. when I was 15 years old. My father was a U.S. citizen, and I knew if I came before I was 18 I could get a green card. Plus, it was hard living in Palestine. I sometimes get arr t b t Ial oc bcue d n hv a a s e e yh s e pl eas Ii ’ ae Pl sd eri i e dt e tinian resident card. I was born in Palestine, but my paretfdo o a drgh ’ w r o e e nton d sei n w e t yokh cnu. n l tJr n un t 6 a s w w r ocut a r d t hnh t t ess se d i e7 , e e se s e o e IQ en,erl ih h col uIi ’ pa ay nl ,o cola vrdfu.d pe ot n uesIn ldn i sho btd n sek n Egs s show s e iclIr pd u oe g , dt i h yf t o i after a few months and went to work with my dad, selling sheets and bedspreads door-to-door. Sometimes I got lost in my own neighborhood – cu n ak noeohloee r dh seti s Iol ’ s ayn f e rvne t tes n. dt r p a er g After that, I went to work in a pizzeria, then in a stationary store in Astoria, then I became a cab driver for 17 years off and on. At one point I opened up a coffee shop in Long Island City. I also managed a supermarket. But I wanted to make falafel and schwarma the way we did it back home. I scouted the spot for a couple of years, then opened the cart with Sammy, who worked with me at the supermarket. There is a big Palestinian community in New Jersey, but not much of one in Queens, so its hard to find real Palestinian food here. I thought there would be a market for it. I love working in Astoria. It is near my apartment in Woodside, and there is a real community here. The same people walk by every day on their way to the subway, so we get to know almost everyone. I have made a lot of friends at the cart. I see women when they are pregnant, then I see them carrying their babies, then I get to seh cir g wu.l aeh cr ller its w Btee dy a ekI hr e t hd n r pIl v t a aie ayfs l .usvn as w e,m e . e le o ’e l e t t l i o t ’ e

Our Esteemed Team of Judges

Ron Kuby

Ed Levine

Sarah Moulton

Michael Musto

Mo Rocca

Andrea Strong

Scott Stringer

As always, our esteemed team of judges will determine who takes h meteSle V n yC p B t hsy a,o tef s t , P o l’ o h i r e d u . u ti e r fr h i t i a e pes v r me Choice Award placard will also be presented. Vote below and return ti b l t otejd e ’ e t y7pm. o i t b c u td V t fr hs al t h u g s tn b o . fr t o e o ne . oe o one vendor only by marking a box below for best NYC street chef.

Veronica Julien
“e n a Kt e” Vr i ’ ihn o cs c Front Street and Pine Street Years vending: 2 Specialty: jerk chicken, oxtails

Fe d “h Kn ” ed i rd y te ig Z iea T i “ o aMa ” u r hr D s u n K ma Mo a h mme “ w kMe l R h n dK i a” a ma V rnc J l no V rnc ’ Kth n eo ia ui f eo ias i e e c Super Taco
To improve this event for next year, we are doing market research. Please tell us how you found out about the 3rd Annual Vendy Awards:
M spoltn I Jm i nbta fm otep h k’ a a a,uIm r ei m c o a town called Penal in the South of Trinidad. My father was a derrick man in the oil company and my mother was a housewife. I went to school through 12th grade, then I went to commercial school to learn typing and shorthand. I got a job as a waitress in a Chinese restaurant, then at a famous restaurant in Port of Spain called Belvedere. But I always loved to travel. I lived in Venezuela for 3 years, where I did housekeeping. Then, when I was 24, I started my own business selling secondary school supplies. I got to travel all around the West Indies. B m er 3’Ia m to hd nad w n d btr teot m Ia a ieln iH r y y ay 0 hd yw cir ,n I at a eefu f h .hd st i gn a l s le e t ur r e s rv i lem, so we came to New York. I got a job waitressing at Bun & Burger on Wall Street, then I moved to Nedicks at 1 Centre Street. The Buildings Department was upstairs, and one of my customers worked for a microfiche company. They needed someone to operate the microfilm machine. I got the job and stayed there 17 years. It was comfortable, and I got to see my kids grow up. When my daughter started college, I had more time, so I got a little table and started selling cakes – carrot cakes, lemon cakes, chocolate cakes –a t j zetat y sdt hv a Gat Tm . hnI th a f i l e ue o ae t r ’ o b Te e z sv h ns added drinks, like sorrel, lemonade and ginger beer. Then, when I moved to Brooklyn, I saw an advertisement for the farmers market in East New York. My sister Shirley encouraged me to give it a try with jerk cie ad x i Se be slgod t hea ad o lg r nom rt n 0 er h kn n otl h’ en ei f aW ihl n Bwn Ge f o h 1 ya . c as . s l o n t l i e r ea s Ik gi tp y o Bod a. o em s’g wh y ie sm t e Io y ye.l m s l o go l s n r w ySm t e I o i m st,o em s g b m slIk ui i n e a a i l l t sr i f i e cals and comedies. The last play I saw was called Platanos and Collard Greens.

Y s I o l l et h l pa n x y a’ V n yA ad : e , w ud i o ep ln e t e r e d w rs k s My email address is:



Tear along line

Mohammed Rahman
f m“wk el r K iM a o ” 45th Street and Sixth Avenue Age: 47 Years vending: 7 Specialty: lamb

Thiru Kumar
“h D s M n Te oa a” Washington Square South & Sullivan Age: 39 Years in business: 6 Speciality: pondicherry dosa

I grew up in a big family in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. My father had a fast food restaurant; fried chicken, hamburgers, etc. After college, when I was about 22, I moved to Canada with a group of friends. I knew I wanted to end up in New York because New York offers the most opportunity. But I had no family here. It was easier to go to Canada first, get my Canadian citizenship, then come to the America. I spoke almost no English, so I took ESL classes in Montreal and worked in a deli. After a couple years, I tried toe a ia ps r t r t uIi ’el ko w aI a di .slt r t r tt l s o pn p z & at e a a . td n r l nw htw s o gIo h e a a aao z a su n B d t ay n d e su n s after a few months and moved to Toronto to go to cooking school. When I got out, I worked in a few fine dining restaurants in Toronto. Then, in 1996, I got my green card and came to New York. I worked at a steakhouse, then a French restaurant, and then the Russian Tea Room, where I was the sous chef. InwI at m o net r t uIol ’ fris I o aonr m b t r r u m c d ke w n d y w r a a , tcu n ao t o t k l fm y rh s a p y r i e su n b d t fd , o a o oe, n et cards, and bought a pushcart. My total investment was $50,000. The main chef at the Russian Tea Room laughed at me. And my wife gave me a hard time – thought it was not a respectable job for a chef like she me. When I was young, I wanted to be a doctor. And here I was working on the street. But now things are much better. We have two boys and a girl, and we own a house in Jackson Heights. I dn seh k s uhs c I o fm6 0 .. 1 p .un t w e. uw hv a akt l o’ e t i m c,i e w r r : a t 0 . drgh ekBt e ae bse a t ed n ko 3 m o m i e bl hoop in the back yard, and on the weekends I play with my kids. My children are doing well. My eldest son, Rafat, is 15 . Now he wants to be a doctor. He goes to the high school for health professionals on 14th Street. And my daughter, Tazri, just started at Brooklyn Tech, one of the best high schools in the city.

I immigrated to New York City from Jaffna, Sri Lanka in 1995, with my wife and daughter, after I won a green card in the diversity lottery. I worked for a travel agency in Sri Lanka, so I knew a lot about the U.S. First I worked in a gas station doing construction, then an iron factory on Long Island, then I got a job as a cook in a South Indian restaurant in Flushing. I worked there for almost five years. The restaurant business pays well but I wanted to be outside in the fresh air. I tried to get a permit to work on the street but there is a long waiting list, so I went through the process of applying for a spot in the parks. I chose Washington Square Park because it is near NYU which has a lot of international students who I knew would like my food. Some of these recipes are family recipes from my mother and my grandmother, and some are my own creations. To keep the traditional flavor of my dosas, I use a stone grinder to make the lentil-rice batter. I really love my customers, most of whom are NYU students. People love street food because they want to be able to have me create it the way they want it, right in front of them. This is my third year in the Vendy awards. Hopefully I can win this year, but whatever happens is OK. I became a citizen in 2000 and now my life is here. I live in Flushing with my wife and daughter, who is 16. The rest of my family is still back in Sri Lanka, and there are still some things I miss. I love the water, and my best memories are of swimming in the ocean that surrounds Sri Lanka. I still love to swim, and now I go on Long Island at Jones Beach and Long Beach, which is almost as good.

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