VENDOR NEWSLETTER

Street Vendor Project 666 Broadway, 5th Floor New York, NY 10012 Winter 2004-2005 (646) 602-5679 or (646) 602-5681

Vendors Cope with Winter Cold
Board of Advisors Mustapha Cisse Prokash Das Gupta Md. Anwar Hussain Mohammad El-Madaawy Sophia Laskaris Angelo Vega Michael Wells Jiean Weychu Project Organizer Judi Mukarhinda Project Director Sean Basinski Volunteers David Chang Bryn Chernoff Wrenny Chin Matt Furshong Diana Gruberg Julie Lodomez Stacey McFadin Xenia Polikhovskaja Sara Sluszka Sarah Yahm

This winter has been colder than most, and Record cold and snowfall during the winter of especially dangerous for those who spend time 2005 have hit the street vending community as outside. For the third year in a row, the city had hard as ever. At a time of year when business is more than 40 inches of snow. In January, Mayor already down, vendors have battled sub-freezing Bloomberg pleaded for the temperatures and biting homeless to take refuge in winds just to keep their shelters after two people carts and tables runfroze to death from sleeping ning. While many vendors outside. Vendors, who return to their home counspend on average 9 hours tries for the coldest outdoors every day, know months, those that stay how they feel. must find creative ways to Ema Camache, a nut cope. vendor originally from “di 3 us fe I r k cp o t n a Chile, has improvised an with lemon in 2 hours and innovative cart design to I r l w r , sy ’ e l a ” as m ay m stay warm. By draping a thick Muhammad Ali, a vendor of Ema Camache bundles up in her peanut cart sheet of clear plastic around the African art, who wore four cart, she traps the heat inside and creates a warm pairs of pants, three sweaters and a big coat on a refuge that is protected from the elements but recent chilly March afternoon. For Ali, vending is worth fighting brutal temperatures. “ mnto - open to her customers. The health inspectors are I o cm ’ hpy adE as y w r . E e Ma hhs ap, n m t s a “ vn r a a m c plaining about what I do. Because I really like been cold this year. The wind is the worst. But vending. I get to see a lot of good New Yorkers i i hr Imw r ,se a . n d e , a a ” h si se e m d adht ae m sog n t m ks e t n. a r ”

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Free Tax Help Available
The Street Vendor Project has teamed up with local community organizations and credit unions to make sure all vendors get free help filing their taxes. W h y pay to have your taxes done? Free tax preparation assistance is available if you earn less than $40,000 with dependents, or if you are single and earned less than $20,000. There are more than a dozen free tax locations spread throughout the five boroughs, and assistance is available in nearly every language. All tax preparers are specially trained and approved by the IRS. Last year, more than 250,000 New Yorkers missed out on valuable tax rebates because they failed to apply for federal and state credits that would have saved them hundreds of millions of dollars. For example, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), is a new city program that can bring tax credits of up to $5,800 per household. Other services are also available, including help opening up a free bank account and assistance in accessing affordable health care plans. This free service is available from March 1st until April 15th, 2005. Call the SVP at (646) 602-5679 for help finding the location nearest you.

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East Broadway Phone Card Vendors Seek Justice
For years, these vendors After a series of police have quietly sold from their tiny sweeps that led to arrests and stalls beneath the confiscation of Williamsburg their goods, a Bridge. Customers group of Chicome from miles nese phone around to buy their card vendors on phone cards, which East Broadway make it possible to have recently call China a penny gotten organPhone card central : E. Broadway a minute. ized to stand up Beginning in November, for their right to make a liv2004, however, the NYPD ing. launched an unexplained crackdown on these vendors. Dozens of vendors, mostly women, were arrested and had their merchandise confiscated. One vendor lost more than $5,000 in phone cards; when she finally got them back, they were expired. With help from SVP, the vendors got a meeting, on January 28th, with Council Member Alan Gerson. Gerson listened on as the vendors complained that, even though they work from tiny storefronts, they could not get a license to sell phone cards out front, only flowers, fish, fruits, vegetables, and ice cream. Gerson promised to work to change this outdated law, and also assured the vendors he would ask the 5th Precinct to be more lenient in the meantime.

Member Profile —Emad Ali
My name is Emad Ali, and I work on a shish kabob cart on Sixth Avenue in midtown. I was born in 1974 in Al Fayyun, Egypt. I was working in a ceramic plant there when I won the US immigration lottery. I came here in 1998. I i ’ko a olnt s d nt nw su i h d i cut adI i ’sekay on y n d ntpa n r d English. But I met an Egyptian guy at the airport from Allentown, Pennsylvania, so I went with him there. I worked in a clothing factory for a year, and then as a delivery guy for Dunkin Donuts. I had to walk more than an hour each way to work because I didn't have a car. I also worked at a battery factory, but I got sick because of the lead and the doctor told me if I wanted to be healthy I should find another job. On one of my trips back to Egypt, a friend knew someone in New York, so when I came back to the US in 2002, I stayed here. I got my food vending license and started selling hot dogs on the street. I work for different people, bcueIdnt aeeog eas o’ hv nuh money to buy a cart and I cntea e io m o n a’gt pr t f y w . m Life is really hard here. I work 6 or 7 days a week, and I live with two friends in a small place in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I dnt m k o’ ae much money, and what I do make I send home to my wife, my little boy, and my little girl, as well as my four brothers, my sister, and my mother in Egypt. I really miss my family. Every December, I go back to Egypt to see them, but it is not enough. I call my wife every 2 or 3 days. I want to bring them over here, but first I have to become a citizen. I dream a l aott t btId nt o bu h , u t a i’ d pass the reading test the first time, and now I have to pay the lawyer $1,200 to make a new application. I want to study for the test but there is not much time after work, prayers, and calling home. Sometimes I watch a little TV, but there is no time for hobbies. I am a Muslim, and after September 11th, people on the street sometimes told me to go back to my country. I told them this is my country. I am not here asking for anything free. I just want to work and be with my family.

ECB Seeks $1,000 Vending Fines —Again !!
Just as vendors began to feel victorious in their eight-month struggle over increased vending penalties, the Environmental Control Board (ECB), recently announced its plans to try, once again, to raise penalties back to $1,000. The SVP won a lawsuit against the ECB for illegally raising the fines in the first place. Then, in November, more than 120 vendors showed up at a public hearing, where not one person spoke out in favor of the fine increase. More than 50 vendors and their supporters spoke out against them. Yet, the city seems intent on passing its $1,000 increase. To support the increase, the ECB has cited the fact that vending fines have not risen with inflation over the last twenty years. Their proposal includes increases for every level, to a maximum of $1,000 per violation (see box, right). Come to the public hearing on April 18th - each person will get three minutes to speak. If you do not come, expect to be paying twice as much in ECB fines from now on.

Public Hearing -- April 18 @ 5 p.m. 125 Worth Street, 2nd Floor
New Fine Proposal
1st ticket 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th Now $25 $50 $100 $250 $250 $250 Proposed $50 $100 $250 $500 $750 $1000

For each ticket within a 24 month period

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Be a Member Street Street Vendor Project ! Join the of the Vendor Project !
Benefits
Join the 260 members who have already signed up

● E BT kt C i es c ● E BA p a C p el s Street Vendor Project Membership Card ● S l Tx e a sa Hl e p Expiration date: 2/5/06 ● Ci n l o r( me ae) r aC uts mi o css ● I B d e se a l r h) D a g ( smp ,i t e e g Fall, Barra ● Vt i A n a E co s oen n u l l t n ei ID No 00-248 ● Fr i r &L e s R vct n of t e i ne eoai s eu c o 666 Broadway, NYC ● L e s A pct n &R n w l i ne p lai s e e a c i o s ● N w l trfu t s ya) e s t ( ri a e r e e o me ● Fe Dsoa lC mea n 3 f ta e aue re i sb a r a d 0 o tp me sr p e o ● H lwt fn P le o ln (C B Fr , n moe e i i g oc C mp i C R ) omsa d r ! p hl i i at

DUES = $100 per year
2nd Tuesday of the month @ 7 pm

MONTHLY MEETING April 12, 2005 May 10, 2005 June 14, 2005

Hot Dog Cart for Sale
With Permit Call (646) 602-5679 For more information

Refreshments always provided

City Vows Not to Bother Fortune Tellers
Like food and merchandise vendors, people who tell fortunes on the street make New York a more lively and enjoyable place. Where else can you learn what life has in store for you for five dollars on your way home from work? Unfortunately for Christina Stevenson, who learned the art of clairvoyance from here grandmother, police officers on 42nd Street did not agree. Officers frequently drove her off the street for not having a license — when the waiting list for licenses is more than 20 years long! While some midtown officers were friendly with Christina, others arrested her (on more than one occasion) and taunted here with racial slurs because of her gypsie heritage. Christina, who supports three children telling fortunes, turned to the SVP for help. Since fortune-telling involves freedom of expression, no license should be required, but the city did not agree. With help from the law firm Cleary Gottlieb, the SVP drafted legal papers and got ready to go to federal court. Luckily, just days before the lawsuit was filed, the city relented. Knowing they would lose in court, they agreed that fortune tellers may practice their trade without a license. “ m vr hpy hto en I e ap t sm oe ’ y a f ay lt e, si C ri l ie d a n l s n ” d hi s t a “ blv t t ht’ i . I eee h w a I n i a m di ir h” o gsi t n g.

Street Vendor Project 666 Broadway, 5th Floor New York, NY 10012 (646) 602-5679 (646) 602-5681 www.streetvendor.org

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The Street Vendor Project of the Urban Justice Center is a membership based non-profit organization founded in October 2001 to provide legal representation, advocacy and grassroots organizing support to street vendors of all kinds in New York City. For more info, go to www.streetvendor.org.

Holiday Party Raises $1,000
The Street Vendor Project held its first ever holiday party on December 14, 2004, and more than 60 vendors enjoyed the great food, drink, music, and friendship. More than $1,000 was raised, after expenses, to help the Project. Board members Sophia Laskaris, Michael Wells, and Angelo Vega, in addition to Janis Collado, helped plan the event, which took place near the “ ht w s a vr go soe i d ntm trt t Ta a e y od pk, t i ’ ae h d t a SVP offices at 49 East Housa y a r s D s ut t” d k a ton Street. Tasty Indian food pr ,si Paah a G p , night on the dance floor. As was provided by a local res- who helped with the musical Angelo Vega, who handled s e l e c t i o n . security for the event, said, taurant, and “ We gt a “ a w sas ak g pr . o tt a h m ci a y n t wine was dochance to We have meetings all the nated by a lomeet many time, but this was the first cal wine shop. v e n d o r s time we came together to Vendor Diallo from all over have fun. We should have Internationale the city. m r o t s. oe fh e e ” spun the reNow, when The 2005 party will be in cords, which we see each September so that vendors do had the whole party dancing Judi cuts a rug with Mustapha Cisse other on the not have to sacrifice a night of street, we will work during the busy holiday before the night was over. o b sagr” r s season. Janis baked wonderful deserts nt e t ne . Whatever language anyone that were enjoyed by all.

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