Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Dec 19, 2011 07:29 PM

Street food question

While there's a huge diversity of food trucks in NYC, why is that so many other street vendors (non drivable truck) offer essentially the same thing? Especially at night.


- Hot dog/pretzel/chestnut cart
- Halal/Gyro/Falafel Chicken on Rice cart
- Nut cart / kabob cart.

I walked many miles this weekend on a photo project and probably walked by 50 street food vendors in the evening, all of whom were one of the above.

Just curious... are the permits issued to a select few who don't deviate from what they know or supply chains? Is there a limit to the kinds of foods that can be offered?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. There are only 3,000 street food permits out there. The city has instituted this cap, resulting in a huge secondary market for the permits. Permits get passed down from family member to family member.

    Also the type of food is dictated by the kind of cart you have (some are more expensive than others), the margins you want to make, and if your permit is of a "processing" type or not.

    You may find these interesting:

    1 Reply
    1. honestly, I think they are all owned by one company. I could be wrong, but they all have the same signs, same get up, and same food.

      If so, there needs a study on how to diversify the market with smaller guys not being crowded out by the big trailered single owned comapny, if that be so.