Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cheapest Retail Space On Upper East Side- Food Trucks Paying $1.50/Hour

I really see these as a scourge and an affront to basic fairness. While legit retailers are paying up to $450 per square foot, a bunch of food trucks have found a cheaper way- just find a parking spot, pump $1.50 into the meter every hour and they are in business! This is a recent trend on Lexington Avenue between 86th and 87th and I see several reasons why this is a disturbing trend.
On an average afternoon as many as 4 trucks park on the block and that number is up from one or two a year ago. For one, they take up several hard to find parking spots which further impacts rent paying retailers in the area. Then you have food retailers competing with trucks with far lower overhead which will inevitably cost the area more permanent food establishments and jobs. You could also argue that tax revenue is being lost because the food truck food is cheaper and they might not be quite as accountable with their cash. Yet another problem is that they are all parked steps from one of the city's most traveled subway stations. Burrito and falafel seekers line up and clog already congested streets. Finally, having hundreds of people eating on the street inevitably produces excess waste, overflowing garbage cans, garbage on the street, and dropped food can create a vermin issue if it hasn't already. Oh yeah, they don't look good either.
The rash of non-tax paying, non-rent paying street vendors is bad enough, we don't need a dozen food trucks on top of it. So, I can only hope that by exposing this current scourge, someone notices and does something about it, otherwise, the progress on East 86th Street will be easily undone.

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