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Street Vendor Project

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Handicapping the Vendies

The Vendy Awards, a.k.a. the Homeless Beards, are upon us again, and the finalists for Street Vendor of the year have just been announced. As at the Beards, a familiar cluster of luminaries dominates the nominations. These are not necessarily the very best carts going, but the ones whose years of service and body of work has earned them a high reputation among sidewalk gastronomes. The nominees, and our handicapping, are below.

It's Hard Out There for a Street Vendor

USA Today just published an article detailing how vendors are routinely harassed by cops for minor violations like being too far from the curb, too close to a doorway, or on the wrong corner. Making matters worse, in February, the city raised the maximum fine for non-health-related violations from $250 to $1,000. Now there's talk of capping the number of licenses given out. The Street Vendor Project, an advocacy group best known by civilians for the Vendy Awards, might be the only resource the workers have. So support them by dropping in on the Vendys, happening Sunday night at St. Mark's Church in the East Village. After the jump, find the list of nominees — and info on a special contest!

And the Nominee for Best Performance by a Falafel …

The street cart boils the restaurant experience down to its most intimate dimensions: One person cooks for another, with no waiters, walls, or even kitchen separating them. For this reason, New York's best vendors inspire fierce loyalty. Now, "cartisans" can vote for the vendors they love best. But the polls will soon close: The Street Vendor Project's Vendy Awards are happening October 22 at St. Mark's Church, and voting ends the day before. Which means we only have 13 days to lobby furiously for our candidates. Without further ado … Update, 1:15 p.m.: Contrary to what we just said, the Street Vendor Project tells us that the polls close today, at midnight. All the more reason to blindly follow our endorsements!