Forsyth Market Produce Vendors Fighting Back

Posted on: July 21st, 2011 at 6:09 am by

For the last month, we’ve kept a watchful eye on the plight of Forsyth Street fruit and vegetable vendors just below Canal.  A number of readers wrote in expressing concern over the disappearance of numerous peddlers here at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge.  Authorities have already begun cracking down, issuing a barrage of tickets, some of which are for heaping mounds of trash. And just yesterday, the Urban Justice Center staged a press conference onsite, while vendors protested the crackdown.

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In tandem with the yesterday’s event, the Street Vendor Project subsidiary released press materials that shovel deeper into the crux of this issue.  Sean Basinski and company unearthed empirical evidence after a three-month study of the local produce market.  Apparently some 2,000 tickets have been issued in the last two years to merchants along this block.  According to the report, the aggressive enforcement of late “has driven vendors out of business, diminished themarket, and curbed access to healthy food for Chinatown residents.”  The pro-vendor organization compares the Union Street Market with the Forsyth Market, claiming the former is treated more fairly and not subject to the same surveillance.

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The press release includes the following history of the market:

Forsyth Street Market started in 2005, when a group of vendors were relocated from Division Street to the then-desolate, curved block along the base of the Manhattan Bridge. The vendors had gained popularity for their exceptionally low prices, which catered to ―elderly people and poor workers in the neighborhood. However, their presence had also drawn complaints from the managers of Confucius Plaza, the large housing complex nearby. After coaxing from the Mayor’s office and, finally, the construction of bollards that blocked their access to the curb
the vendors moved to Forsyth Street.

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You can read the full report from the Street Vendor Project below. It’s worth it:

Spoiled Report Final

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