Banned Brooklyn Bridge vendors find new place to set up shop

CeFaan Kim Image
Saturday, January 6, 2024
Banned Brooklyn Bridge vendors find new place to set up shop
CeFaan Kim spoke to some of the vendors.

DUMBO, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Even on a frigid night, tourists flock to Dumbo from all over the world for that perfect picture of the sunset blanketing the Midtown skyline.

However, before you can snap that photo, you have to navigate through a block of Washington Street occupied by vendors. The sidewalk is jam-packed like sardines on the train during rush hour.

"First, it's a big public safety issue. You have sidewalks that are up there, pretty narrow as they are," said resident Jimmy Ng.

Residents say vendors set up camp on this side of the East River as soon as the city cleared them off the Brooklyn Bridge this week.

"We need order in this city. That is one of our major landmarks," said Mayor Eric Adams.

The strategy behind occupying the block is simple - this way you hit tourists as soon as they get off the Brooklyn Bridge on their way to get the perfect shot of the Manhattan Bridge.

"There are a few tents up there where people are sleeping overnight as a competitive edge if you want to call it - to be able to keep their vending spot," added Ng.

Advocates from the Street Vendor Project agree. Mohamed Attia says vendors want to find a happy medium.

"Shutting down the bridge and banning vending on the bridge would not be the answer. Because what happens, these people need to make a living. A lot of them don't want to wait home and stay home and get a handout from the government," Attia said.

The Department of Sanitation, which handles enforcement says,

"At this time we are monitoring the conditions, in line with our focus on enforcement around cleanliness and quality of life. DSNY takes a warnings-first approach whenever possible, and enforcement when necessary."

Attia says the solution in mind is to have a conversation with the administration.

"Like a real conversation with the stakeholders at the table," he adds.

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