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Food Trucks Being Chased From Midtown Over Meter Rule

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Do you love getting lunch from a motorized eatery on four wheels? Well, you may need to start dining elsewhere.

WCBS 880's Paul Murnane On West 46th Street


The city has initiated a crackdown on vendors -- much to the displeasure of office workers, tourists and others.

In the last week and a half, Treats Truck, which has sold desserts for four years, and Rickshaw Dumpling, its neighbor on 45th and Sixth Avenue for the last three years, have been told by police to pull up stakes. At least half a dozen other culinary vehicles parked several blocks north have also been asked to move.

The new sweep will not only impact Manhattan but other boroughs as well.

The increased police activity is apparently the result of a court ruling last month which reinforced a DOT regulation, believed to be 50 years old, that states vendors can't park a vehicle at a metered parking space in order to sell merchandise.

Frankie Cupcake, owner of the Cupcake Crew food truck, says the ruling has left him "speechless."

Cupcake Crew
Frankie Cupcake, owner of the Cupcake Crew (credit: Carly Sitzer/CBS New York)

"We built up these trucks, they're very costly, a lot of effort, a lot of time, a lot of money into them," he said. "We've done the research to find good spots where we can make a lot of money and then we're told something different when we arrive there by the NYPD. We're aware they are just doing their job,  but what happened is one truck gave us all a bad name."

RELATED: CBSNewYork - NYC's Best Food Trucks

Frankie says the recently-enforced rule was upheld in a court case, and the NYPD confirms they are issuing warnings against food trucks such as O'Neill Reid's Jamaican Dutchy.

"I don't know how long I'm going to be here for. You know, it's really crazy. We really need some help," he told WCBS 880 reporter Paul Murnane on Wednesday.

"Had you ever heard of this rule about metered spaces?" asked Murnane.

"No. We never heard of it," answered Reid.

The coffee cart vendors, like Tony Diaz up on the sidewalk just a few inches away, say they feel for the truckers.

"They spend a lot of money to make from the trucks. I don't have trucks, so I don't have no problem," he says.

One fan of truck food says there's room for compromise: "If they feed the meter, then they should be able to park. That's what the space is for."

Dennis Kum
Dennis Kum, owner of Big D's Grub food truck (credit: Carly Sitzer/CBS New York)

Dennis Kum, owner of Big D's Grub food truck, also offered a solution.

"They should do a law that says you cannot vend from a metered parking spot for more than three hours," Kum explained. "And if we're there for more than three hours, give us another ticket. But to shut down a business? We're employing several people, we invested a lot of money into this, and it's just not fair."

To come up with a more fair solution, the mayor's office says it's looking for spaces for these popular lunch options.

What do you think of the rule? Let us know below...

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