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Bronx street vendors to New York City: Enough with the crackdowns -- just let us work

Bronx street vendors to NYC: Enough with the crackdowns -- just let us work
Bronx street vendors to NYC: Enough with the crackdowns -- just let us work 02:09

NEW YORK -- Street vendors in the Bronx say the city's vending system is failing them and disrupting the community with constant enforcement crackdowns.

CBS New York's Shosh Bedrosian was the only reporter to cover the rally on Fordham Road, where vendors said the enforcement is putting more strain on their lives than ever before.

There is no stopping Vincente Veintimilla when it comes to using his voice.

"The means we generate. Only serve us to survive and pay for the basics and live a decent life," he said through a translator.

READ MOREFrustrated street vendors in the Bronx waiting decades for licenses

He and other workers were rallying for basic street vending rights on Fordham Road. All they want from the city are licenses to legally vend.

"Instead of giving us tickets, they could give us licenses for that $100 or $200 fees and be adding to the city instead of taking away from us, putting us in debt. We're already in debt trying to feed our family," vendor Yahyan Lavann said.

For the last month, CBS New York has documented the hardships the city's vending system puts on street vendors trying to survive. With the city's cap on permits and a waitlist that has been closed for decades, we've shown you the realities and financial strains enforcement crackdowns put on vendors.

Floriberto Diaz was on the street rallying, too, after he shared his story with Bedrosian about the $6,000 worth of fines the Department of Sanitation issued him in just one month. On a good day, he makes $100 selling tamales.

"We're not asking for money. We're not asking for housing. We're only asking for the government, mayor and sanitation to give us a break so we can work," vendor Manuel Soto said.

The vendors were collecting signatures and said within the first hour of being out there, they already have several pages filled up. They said it speaks to the volume of how important they are to the community.

"The more the tickets they can't really do nothing because they speaking more on tickets than helping people out," Fordham resident Stephanie Waters said.

READ MOREFordham Road Patrol ambassadors monitor illegal vendors on the streets

In neighborhoods dubbed "food deserts" in the Bronx, residents say vendors offer more affordable prices, especially for healthy foods. The city says any changes in the vending system would need to be made by they City Council, as it establishes the law.

Vendors said they feel like the realities they face are finally being told.

"Thank you, Shosh. You are giving us the opportunity. You do the journalism that we always aspire to, which is equitable and fair journalism for the community and the street vendor community. We thank you," Veintimilla said.

You can email Shosh with Bronx story ideas by CLICKING HERE

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