nypd 20

By Meredith Kurz

Police officials from the 20th precinct listened to a litany of complaints about aggressive street vendors at a meeting on Monday, but said there’s not much they can do to deal with the issue.

Captain Michael Falcon, the precinct’s commanding officer, was met with a barrage of complaints about the struggle to control large clusters of vendors who residents say have been urinating on the streets, harassing pedestrians, playing loud music and cursing past midnight, illegally having items on the ground, fist fights, unsupervised pit bulls, lounge chairs, and creating a dining area right on the street.  A building supervisor reviewed the daily ordeal of attempting to do his job with these aggressive, non-compliant vendors.

20th precinct meetingCaptain Falcon explained that a) the selling of books is a First Amendment right and the largest bookseller had successfully sued in the past, b) this problem has been brought up for over 20 years and it’s very difficult to enforce because of legal restrictions and c) the police can only enforce the law – the legislators need to change the laws in order for this issue to be cleared up and to contact their city council member Helen Rosenthal to rewrite legislation so he and his police force can enforce it.

A large contingency of attendees said they had tried and received no response from Helen Rosenthal, or left messages, and Ms. Rosenthal never returned calls or emails.  Ms. Rosenthal’s representative was at the meeting and said that she was proposing some new legislation that he did not specify, to address this issue.

A meeting attendee suggested the concerned community members create a committee to address this sidewalk crowding and harassment issue, and that the police department cannot enforce laws that don’t exist.  Here’s a PDF file on how to create a committee:

The audience kept asking “What are the laws?”  Here’s a link to the law.

Here are some other links that address this issue:

To Suggest Legislation, go here: http://helenrosenthal.com/suggest-legislation/

To Report a Problem that Helen Rosenthal can fix, go here: http://helenrosenthal.com/resources-for-residents/reportaproblem/

Going physically to her office and going in as a large group was strongly suggested, as this shows unity of purpose and concern. Her meeting representative said that Friday was the day she was in the office and available for citizen concerns.  Helen Rosenthal’s office address is  563 Columbus Avenue at 87th Street.

Here is a partial excerpt of New York City Administrative Code, Title 20, Consumer Affairs § 20-465 paraphrased:

  1. No general vendor shall engage in any vending business on any sidewalk unless such sidewalk has at least a twelve foot wide clear pedestrian path…. 
  2. In no event shall any pushcart or stand be placed on any part of a sidewalk other than that which abuts the curb
  3. No general vendor shall occupy more than eight linear feet of public space parallel to the curb in the operation of a vending business, and in addition, no general vendor operating any vending business on any sidewalk shall occupy more than three linear feet to be measured from the curb toward the property line. 
  4. No vending pushcart, stand or goods shall be located against display windows of fixed location businesses, nor shall they be within twenty feet from an entranceway to any building, store, etc.
  5. No general vendor shall vend within any bus stop or taxi stand, or within ten feet of any driveway, any subway entrance or exit, or any corner.  … ten feet from any corner
  6. (Here are the ‘protected areas’ where no vendor can vend:  )  “No general vendor shall vend on any street which is in a C4, C5, or C6 zoning district, on in the area bounded on the east by Second Avenue, on the south by Thirtieth Street, on the west by Ninth Avenue and Columbus Avenue and on the north by Sixty Fifth Street…
  7.    The reason for the ‘5th Avenue and Madison Avenue’ restrictions is traffic count, allegedly. 

The next precinct meeting will be Monday, November 30th.

NEWS | 109 comments | permalink
    1. Frank says:

      The boxes on the ground are clearly prohibited.

    2. neighbor says:

      Helen Rosenthal is useless. Remember this issue at the next election. People deserve someone elected to serve the public to actually serve the public, instead of manufacturing issues and not dealing with the real ones.
      Next time I see one of those “vendors” pee on the sidewalk, sell drugs or harass somebody, I’ll call 911 and get her name invoked every 2 minutes. And right now, I’m contacting all major newspapers and TV network. Let’s see if that wakes her up.

      • LB says:

        If you see the vendor peeing on the sidewalk, take pictures or video immediately. That will be more worthwhile than calling 911. You will need proof. (Same for selling drugs or harassing people.)

      • AC says:

        Two things:
        1) These are not vendors. They are homeless people who have found a loophole in the system, which allows for ‘free storage’ on the sidewalk. An explosive device could easily be hidden in that tarp!
        2) Helen Rosenthal’s office reminds me of back in the 70’s when politicians were just useless.

        • ScooterStan says:

          Re: “Helen Rosenthal’s office reminds me of back in the 70’s when politicians were just useless.”

          Ummm…and they started becoming more useful/less useless exactly WHEN ??

        • Upper West Side Wally says:

          An explosive device???? Why, pray tell, would a homeless person be hiding an explosive device under a tarp?

      • Sprinkles says:

        Don’t call 911. You’re tying up resources that are needed for actual emergencies. Yeah, I know, nobody likes this public nuisance, but don’t tie up a phone line when there are people with medical emergencies/fires/life-threatening crimes in progress trying to get through for help. It only ensures you won’t be taken seriously.

      • Martha says:

        You surely mean 311. 911 calls are for urgent problems, not for nuisances.

        • formervendor says:

          Actually, if you call 311 (which you should do) they will patch you into a three way call with 911. The reason for that is the police are the ones that need to handle this. Selling your goods off the sidewalk is kind of urgent – it is a safety hazard. And blocking the muni meter and bus stop time sign so you need to walk in the street to get to them – that is a hazard.

    3. Christine E says:

      The booksellers by the old Urban Outfitters are definitely more than 3×8 feet. Even if you count several sellers. So, there is a law that the police can enforce. They just chose not to.

    4. denton says:

      What Frank and Christine said. Plus, after reading the entire text of the rules, no place do I see a clause allowing the vendors to store their crap oops I mean valuable books overnight. The cops should treat it as abandoned property and haul it off to the recycling plant.

      • robert says:

        Sorry but that was already done several times.
        With the help of our regular self appointed community leaders, UWS lawyers got all charges against Kurt dropped and the city enjoined from any further “harassment”. In place other than the UWS that would read enforcing the law. Also the city paid him $150K for his lost property, saying the police and sanitation could not consider it abandoned, as they knew who it belonged to.

    5. Sherman says:

      Helen Rosenthal is useless. I’ve sent numerous emails to her over the years and never received a response.

      I’m not sure what she actually does all day.

      • Jeremy says:

        I think she is very active in her advocacy for Meatless Monday. So, there’s that.

      • Gretchen says:

        Helen Rosenthal has never ever returned my calls or emails. But I’m sure it’s because she’s doing very important things for the district, like um, uh, something…

    6. formervendor says:

      Here are some facts:
      1) Booksellers and artists have a First Amendment right to have tables set up.
      2) There are rules that exist that they and all vendors must follow.
      3) Three rules that they are breaking are
      a)selling goods off the sidewalk surface.
      b)Setting up tables that do not abut the curb.
      c)Having tables set up more than three feet from the curb.
      4) You can read the rules here:http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/ADC/20/2/27/20-465
      5) The police have the ability to enforce these rules: http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/ADC/20/2/27/20-468
      6) Enforcement can be:
      a)verbal instructions to the vendors to correct violations.
      b)Issue summonses.
      c)Seize the vendor’s goods.
      7) The 20th precinct is making a decision NOT to enforce these rules.

      These are opinions:

      So why doesn’t the 20th precinct and the C.O. enforce the above rules?
      Why would councilwoman Rosenthal suggest new rules when there are already rules that prohibit the current activities going on?

      My best hunch is that this is coming from somebody above the C.O. – perhaps we have a Bridgegate situation?

      I would suggest that if you came to the last meeting at the 20 precinct that you attend again, and bring a friend.

      I would also suggest that everybody ask the C.O. why he doesn’t enforce the rules as they exist The suggestion that there is little the police can do is a false statement.

      Ms. Rosenthal should attend the meeting as well. She should ask the same question of the C.O.- why isn’t he doing anything, when if he wanted, that situation could be cleared up within a week. Again – I think the C.O. is taking orders from somebody higher up. Who that would be or why is a good question. Maybe it is a holdover grudge from prior years against West Siders?

      Don’t be distracted by suggestions of “new laws are needed“, or it is “a complicated legal issue”. It is settled law. The C.O., for whatever reason, chooses not to enforce the laws as written.

      • richard says:

        Excellent points! My take on why the CO of the 20th doesn’t take action is simply to avoid another lawsuit as mentioned in a previous post. At his level within the police department, your are not moving up the chain if you have blemishes on your record. A six-figure lawsuit settlement to a sketchy street vendor is just not career enhancing. Frankly I can’t blame the CO – this happens in nearly every business – people don’t typically want to sabotage their careers for what is in essence a nuisance.
        What needs to happen here is some public shaming of politicians that allow this situation to exist. This will give the CO cover to enforce the laws without risking his career.
        And yes, Helen Rosenthal is a completely useless. She is being paid SIX FIGURES to do absolutely nothing.

      • Joe says:

        Agreed that we DO NOT NEED any new laws. We need enforcement of existing laws.

        The “squatting” booksellers between 72nd-74th create a uniquely irritating problem for many of our neighbors who live nearby or walk along that stretch.

        Why is that we can have a dozen or more regular booksellers in my part of the UWS (above 96th) who can set up a small table or two, pack up at night and not create any nuisance whatsoever?

        And what does the bookseller/1st Amendment situation have to do with illegal, unlicensed vendors of rip-off clothing and other crap who pop up at the busiest corners and create hazardous conditions for passersby? The exact situation I complained about a couple of days ago (the evening of 10/21, right outside TJ’s) and was rewarded with a commenter here playing the race card on me.

        Why does the 20th Pct. (and the other police stations on the UWS) refuse to enforce those laws when their violation creates danger for pedestrians?

        What does Capt. Falcon, and his apologists, have to say about those situations?

        Now… as far as Helen Rosenthal is concerned.

        How about a running meme: Helen Rosenthal = useless!

        I thoroughly agree.

        Good case in point: I was just reading her printed “news bulletin.”

        In one short section, she’s writing about “…cyclists breaking traffic laws.. even riding on the sidewalk.” OMG, she’s just learning about that???

        And what does Council Member Rosenthal propose to do about this?

        Yup, she’s introducing NEW legislation that would require larger, more legible lettering on the delivery boys vests so “residents can file a complaint.”

        How, Helen, would they file such a complaint? By visiting the restaurant? I would not recommend that; most of the time, they’ll just stare at you in their best impression of Tom Ridge. Worst case is they’ll pull out a gun and chase you out (actually happened to me once).

        How about calling the precinct? You’ll be lucky if they don’t hang up on you. Get in touch with Consumer Affairs? Nah, waste of time. And how many readers here can tell me of a single restaurant that had it’s outdoor seating permit pulled because of excessive complaints to a community board?

        The truth is, Ms. Rosenthal, is that are strict laws ALREADY ON THE BOOKS now concerning sidewalk bike riding, with penalties for both the rider and the restaurant.

        There’s just NO ENFORCEMENT. Never has been, and most likely never will be. That is, until tragically, some senior citizen in her 70s, or a five-year-old child gets mowed down on a sidewalk by one of these delivery “boys” zooming kamikaze-style on a motorized bike carrying four food bags and talking on a cell at the same time!!!

        Helen Rosenthal = useless!

        • Pedestrian says:

          Rosenthal, useless? Indeed. Her real constituents seem to be the Natural Hisotry Museum and the .001% who can give major donations. Those of us only have pretty problems of no importance.

          • Cato says:

            Campaign contributions? Unlikely. Her husband is an investment banker; he probably paid for the election for her. Everybody needs a good hobby, right?

        • UWSsurfer says:

          I wasn’t playing the race card, Joe.

          It was obvious you were disturbed by a man
          who trying to sell a rack of clothes to people
          who were motivated buyers.

          He’s call of “Ten dollars” or whatever the price was no louder than “Let’s go Mets!”

          Street vendors have always been part of the new york scene from delancy, hester and orchard streets to the UWS and boroughs.

          Most of vendors are not homeless. They have rents to pay.


          I seriously doubt that the coats are counterfeit. They don’t have labels, which is common when clothes are sold at discount. The manufacturer doesn’t want to hurt their brand. Loehman’s and other brick-and-mortar stores do this all of the time.

          If the clothes are stolen (as someone suggested) why on earth would seller choose the busiest intersection on the UWS with
          the TJs security guard within 50 feet of him?
          The bank’s security camera has a full view of the vendor. The subway station frequently has cops standing out there.

          For those who criticize Helen Rosenthal, why not volunteer in her office? I’m sure she
          is swamped with work. Her office gets 30 calls a day of landlords harassing rent stabilized tenants.

          The complaints about “fake cops” on w. 93rd were not vague. They were very detailed
          about the threatening exchange with unidentified cop-like men.

          It’s distressing that this brutish behavior originated with the mayor’s office.

    7. Marcus says:

      Leave them alone!!! What because they “look bad” people are actually trying to get rid of them? They do NOTHING to anyone on the street yet people still can’t leave them alone. Yesterday there was an article about parents not wanting to switch public schools due to zoning changes because they wanted to get the most out of their “real estate value”. I’m sick of this! Look, I’m sorry you moved here too late and your landlord is extorting you for what you believe to be “market rate” rent, but that does NOT give you the right to take your frustrations out on the rest of us and go after and attack any characters on the street you deem unsightly to your property values. This is NOT The Upper West Side we all grew up with, you should be ashamed of yourselves. These vendors have earned the right to be here more than any of us.

      • Riley says:

        As actual tax paying and law abiding citizens who live in the neighborhood, regardless of duration, it does give us the right to cmplain and have this cleaned up.

        I believe where you are misguided is believing that becauase this has been gonig on for many years, it is somehow okay now.

      • Riley says:

        “These vendors have earned the right to be here more than any of us”

        That’s incorrect too. While I am new to the neighborhood, and ralatively new to the city, I paid for an education (I continue to pay for my student loans), I worked my way up in a career to earn a salary that would allow me to rent an apartment that happens to be located on the UWS. I pay rent, taxes and contribute to the local economy.

        These vendors haven’t earned sh*t. They’re a nuissance. Maybe it’s time for the new crop of residents to actually do something about it.

      • Sean says:

        This is America! Property values account for a lot. You have to be concerned with your resale value.

        • dannyboy says:

          Well, “This is America”…all rights do not eminate from property.

          • Sean says:

            This country was founded by land owners.

            • Cato says:

              Exactly! Which is why the Constitution and its Bill of Rights were carefully drafted to provide rights *only* for land owners.

              That’s what it says — “land owners only”. Go check Sean’s copy; you’ll see that *only* land owners get constitutional rights.

              And that’s as it should be, right?

            • UWSsurfer says:

              wrong sean, the original “founders” are native americans who are shepherds of the land. we don’t own it. no one owns it.

            • UWSsurfer says:

              cato, don’t tease sean. he meant to
              “slave owners.”

            • UWSsurfer says:

              ^^^cato, don’t tease sean. he meant to say
              “slave owners.”

      • formervendor says:

        Nobody is saying get rid of them. People are saying follow the law.

      • MLM says:

        Thanks Marcus. Vendors may be a nuisance, but this is NYC, and they are life or limb threatening things. I find larger problems abounding And, also the vendors wouldn’t be here if there weren’t customers to support them.

      • Spence Halperin says:

        Marcus, I’m with you.

      • UWSsurfer says:

        Thank you, Marcus!
        Not all westsiders can shop at Coach and Brooks Brothers up in the 90s.

        We have lots of seniors on fixed incomes
        as well as working families.

        I overheard a senior showing the ropes to another senior who had just arrived to the UWS. She was showing him how he could
        have a cheap breakfast by buying from
        a hot food cart on 72nd st.

        Besides seniors and poor working families, we have students, artists, teachers and musicians who buy books, purses, gloves and clothes from the vendors.

        Rather than complain to the cops and helen,
        come up with solutions to clean up the whole thing — not ban vending and put people out of business.

    8. Sherman says:

      I find it amazing that Helen Rosenthal immediately sprung to action and organized a “tenants’ rights conference” after some vague allegations of rent subsidized tenants on 93rd street being harassed by their landlord (see previous article in WSR).

      These allegations turned out to be completely unfounded.

      However, these Broadway street vendors have been a glaring eyesore and nuisance for years and she’s done absolutely nothing.

    9. UWS-er2 says:

      not much the police can do anymore on a lot of things since Commissar Deblahsio was put in…as for Rosenthal, when you look up the word useless in the dictionary there’s a pix of her

      • UWS-er says:

        100% serious note: thanks for adding the 2 to your handle. And though we usually disagree about everything, I’m completely in agreement on the “Helen Rosenthal is useless” front. She spends her days posting Twitter pics of herself at various events.

        • Sean says:

          This is how you “connect” in the 21st Century.

          • Cato says:

            Gee, I’ll have to tell all my flesh-and-blood friends and acquaintances this. No more personal contacts! Twitter only!

            If you put your Phone down, do you turn into a pumpkin??

            • Sean says:

              You can post in most social situations. People in the public eye need to embrace the new media if they are to survive.

    10. Sprinkles says:

      Wait, selling books is a first amendment right? I don’t recall there being anything about commerce in the first amendment. Congress shall make no law prohibiting the content of those books, but it doesn’t mean you have the protected right to engage in business in a public space just because your business is books rather than food or clothing. By that reasoning, you can’t stop somebody selling a cake with writing on it, or an “I <3 NY" shirt, because those, too, are speech.


      • formervendor says:

        Yes, it is the law in NYC. Books and art can be sold without a permit. Cakes and t-shirts with messages are NOT covered – again, that was settled in a law case. But as noted above – having the right to sell those goods doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want – there are rules (see links that have been provided) that must be followed.

      • rtd says:

        Just because you make money off of First Amendment protected items doesn’t mean you don’t have rights. This is how the First Amendment applies to newspapers. Just because news corporations make money off the news, doesn’t mean they can be regulated like any other business. B/c they are selling First Amendment protected material, the government cannot place arbitrary restrictions on how they distribute their goods (hence the difficulty of regulating newspaper boxes that are all over the city)

        Same applies to book vendors. Just because they are selling the goods doesn’t mean they aren’t protected from limits and regulation.

        “Why doesn’t this apply to cakes with writing, t-shirts, etc” you ask? Because if the good being sold is primarily for other purposes (to feed or to clothe someone) and it isn’t critical to the sharing of the message, it isn’t protected. For instance, there are very few messages I could write on a cake (or shirt) that I couldn’t just write on a pamphlet or piece of paper in order to sell. A book, (and newspaper) however, has one main purpose–to convey speech.

        Hope that clears things up!

    11. Laurence P. Mitchell says:

      I understand it is a Constitutional Right to sell books on the street. But it is a “right” to leave unsightly tables of books covered with plastic when the vendor goes home for the night? I feel that if one is going to set up a book stall those books should go home with vendor when business is closed rather than be a neighborhood eyesore attracting vermin and possibly bedbugs. Also note the safety issue- obstruction to access buildings in case of fire.

    12. JDR says:

      Perhaps its time for some vigilante justice?Technically, the books left overnight on the sidewalk are not legally protected. Im picturing a van pulling up at 3:00 AM for some property relocation…..

      • LB says:

        Never thought I’d say it, but I agree. “Why, those books must be free give-aways….by people exercising free speech. I am sure they were left there abandoned at night so we could all take them.” Problem solved.

    13. Tom says:

      Maybe time to move past the NYPD. At some point before they open the Bloomingdales outlet, I assume the Fire Dept will have to issue a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). Now imagine an emergency where a few hundred shoppers are evacuated and 100+ firemen converge on that spot, and are met by a SOLID wall of crap 4ft tall and 5 ft wide running almost the length of the building. How is that not a HAZARD AND DISASTER waiting to happen?? The NYFD should refuse Bloomindales a CO to open and see how fast MACYS (Bloomindales owner with a market cap of $16BIL) gets this resolved.

    14. Louis Morin says:

      As Vice President of the 20th Precinct Community Council, I would not want people to be confused. Booksellers are NOT general vendors and are not subject to much of the above restrictions.

      We have worked with all the Officers of the precinct for years now trying to preserve both their rights and those of us that live and work in the precinct.

      I look forward to helping to get this under control and I know that our Commanding Officer and his officers are doing everything they can legally.

      Working on changing the law or adding streets near Verdi park as “off limit” streets may be the best route. Having the subway, Trader Joe’s, Fairway and Citerella all within short distance creates the traffic flow the vendors need

      Please remember booksellers do not have the same restrictions as general vendors

      Thanks all for participation and concern

      • Jennifer says:

        The book sellers are not vendors. As mentioned here before, they are homeless drug addicts who are paid by the man who owns all the books. Numerous times, I’ve seen them fight with each other, people passing by and the poor fruit vendor who has the misfortune of being right next to them. There is one in particular who is especially nasty and harrasses me when I walk my dog down the street. I find it disgusting that the owner found a loophole and continues to set up “shop” there and even received a $150k payout from the city when they tossed the books when they were left unattended.

        • Ed says:

          I have seen the tall mean guy taking fruit from the fruit vendor’s stand. That guy has issues. Always angry and yelling at people.

      • Tom says:

        Louis, thanks for the update.

        Can you clarify few things re “booksellers”? Are they restricted at all in number and/or size of tables? Storage directly on pavement is ok?

        Thanks again.

        • Louis Morin says:

          Hi Tom. They are not vendors so technically no. They are not required to file as a vendor but they are required to file NYS EIN number and collect sales tax. That is a NYS Dept of Law requirement I am following up on.

          They are not allowed in City parks either. If you google which streets are not allowed, the south of Manhattan has a huge list. For us it’s not permitted at Lincoln Center, which is a park, and 72nd from CPW to west end.

          Verdi is a historic park, so adding Broadway from 71-74 west and east side would chase them from the highest concentration of traffic. East side is a moot point since there’s a bus stop.

          The Commanding Officer for two years has sent police, fire, health and everyone he can to get the book guys to be fair. The guy on 68th and Columbus shrunk from 32′ to 12′. He is polite and creates non of the problems the guys on Broadway do.

          Confiscating the books isn’t easy. Takes 6-8 guys. TARU unit must be present to video and document. Every book must be written down and loaded in a truck. Then unloaded and vouchered. Every single book must be stamped and initialed. When all done , book guy comes, claims them and takes them back. Hires the same layers they all use. Sue the city and the City settles.

          Changing the law to protect Verdi for two additional blocks should be the easiest solution. They all go this way

          Our President and I are trying to get a meeting with Helen to present it

          I hope that helps


          • Tom says:

            Since at the end of the day, this is all about money for the booksellers and I assume that they do need to report these sales as income on their NEW YORK CITY, state and fed tax returns, the easiest way to stop them is the same way bad guys are always stopped. SEND IN THE AUDITORS!!!

            • Louis Morin says:


              I doubt they file at all. City makes a lot of money off general vendors. About $25,000 for two years and higher. Booksellers get free rent.

              The whole thing morphed a few years ago. It was always first to arrive got the location When guys started losing their place, they started leaving books overnight to mark there spot.

              I’d love to see them assigned a section like a street fair. Clean up everything when you leave. Take 6-8′ only.

              Broadway is appalling

              You or anyone can email me anytime. The 20th Comm Counsel and the Commanding Officer are committed to trying to seek a resolution



          • UWSsurfer says:

            TARU = military state

          • UWSsurfer says:

            charlie on columbus & 68th is white.

            • UWSsurfer says:

              ^^^ I am playing the race card here because it’s warranted.

              Charlie is white.
              The book vendors on broadway are black.

              Mel outside empty Loehman’s is just as nice
              and doesn’t cause trouble. He’s black.

              Fletch who sells dresses near Mel is a wonderful vendor. He’s black.

              Kirk is an interesting guy w/ fantastic books.

          • neighbor says:

            thank you for being involved.
            Now, can you tell what law/regulation protects permanent overnight storage of merchandise on public sidewalks? I understand about books and am all for it but what about all other stuff the guy sells? But storing whatever you want on public street is still a no-no, is it not?
            Thank you.

          • Joe says:


            The bookseller issue for the two blocks of B’way is complicated. And I’m sure we are all pleased to see someone in a semi-official position is aware of this.

            But — at the risk of repeating myself — I do not see any response from you or your commanding officer addressing the problem of unlicensed vendors of stuff NOT protected by the First Amendment, who create hazardous conditions for passersby (that’s the incident I mentioned earlier, that got me accused of racism).

            Why does the Police Dept. refuse to maintain safety and order on our sidewalks????

            • UWSsurfer says:

              Joe, i will let the lou answer but
              do you think for one second that the 20th precinct should consider book sellers their number 1 priority? Get real!

              We’ve got car break-ins, iphone muggings, slashings, subway suicides,
              park muggings, columbus ave. crash and grabs.

            • Joe says:


              Did you actually read my short comment above?

              I was talking about those unlicensed vendors who sell stuff NOT covered by First Amendment. That means NOT “book sellers.”

              Also, where do you read that I said sidewalk safety should be the 20th Pct.’s “number 1 priority?”

              Anyone with a head on his/her shoulders — and I guess that includes you — realizes that major crime is more serious.

              But with all you’ve got going on down there — “car break-ins, iphone muggings, slashings, subway suicides,
              park muggings, columbus ave. crash and grabs” — I really glad I live up here and only come down to shop.

      • formervendor says:

        That is very misleading – booksellers are subject to most of those regulations. They or any other vendor may not sell goods off the sidewalk. Their tables must abut the curb. They are considered General Vendors as per this code: http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/ADC/20/2/27/20-452
        As far as confiscating their goods goes, the fact that it may be time consuming doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. But how about this: instead of confiscating all of the items set up in an illegal fashion (too far from the curb or too large a table), why don’t the police just take THE TABLE. That is one item to document. The plain fact is the 20th precinct doesn’t want to fix the issue. Maybe at the next meeting they can provide a list of all the steps they have taken over the last 6 months.

    15. Marsha says:

      I have seen more men peeing on the street in that past few days than I have in a year. Odd but the UWS is taking on the flavor it had in the 70’s.

    16. Morrie Ross says:

      Maybe a boycott?

    17. ny's my home says:

      While I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments over the past years, I’ve never felt the need to contribute till now. I’ve seen waterbugs (NY fancy name for our roaches) and 4 legged vermin run under those tarps at night when I walk my dog. It’s disgusting. Something should be done with that nut who rants/raves next to the fruitseller.His comments are truly horrific, even to a hardened New Yorker like myself. It’s a quality of life issue. Just hope Bloomies has enough clout to do something with this issue.Can’t imagine them wanting their shoppers being confronted by these problems and stepping over critters when they’re leaving the store at night.

      • UWSsurfer says:

        So, deal with the troublemakers on the corner of broadway and w. 72nd and stop painting all the vendors w/ a wide brush.

        i also feel sorry for the fruit guy.
        they steal his chair too.

        • UWSsurfer says:

          ny’s my home, that wasn’t directed at you
          specifically. I meant the others complaining throughout the thread.

    18. neighbor says:

      A suggestion: A LOT of videos documenting the overnight tarp-covered merchandise and all other quality of life issues, submitted to all major local TV networks.
      Let’s see what shakes out.
      By the way, the guy in front of Loehmann’s frequently has some young and mean muscle sitting in the middle of his “store.” Also, the “store” sells mostly NOT books.
      Kirk in front of Chase is a con man running the whole operation.
      So: videos on youtube + videos to CBS, NBC, ABC and Channel 1.
      Ms. Rosenthal: makes me think that local pols should be subject to recall. In NYC, the politicians enjoy unprecedented protection from democracy and constituency. Shame on us for that.

      • UWSsurfer says:

        hot young muscle man?
        would that be the elderly guy w/o his t-shirt?


        omg. you’ve really lost it.

        • UWSsurfer says:

          Are you the man who yells, “Get a job!” to these vendors when you go to Chase?

          Or are you the woman who complains that single people are scaring children by having drinks sitting outside at tables at the old Sambuca on w. 72nd st?

      • UWSsurfer says:

        Why not direct your energy toward volunteering at Project Hunger on the Westside or stopping the blight of empty storefronts all along Broadway due to exorbitant rents and landlord greed?

      • UWSsurfer says:

        While those cameras are out overnight, can we get them shoot footage of the illegal trash burning on top of buildings in early morning hours?

        How about capturing people who let their dogs pee on christmas trees for sale?

        Talk about a nuisance!

    19. Meredith Kurz says:

      1) In Los Angeles they formed Coalition to Save Small Business comprised of BIDs, small business owners, neighborhood associations, etc. to COLLECTIVELY seek stricter regulation of street vending. 2) The also have a Street Vending Compliance Program, making it possible to share some of the man hours with non-police city personnel
      The core of the Upper West Side is small businesses: it drives the neighborhood and tourist economy. I hope this helps.

      • Sean says:

        We have BIDs. They plant flowers on the Broadway Mall. What they should do is sponsor sidewalk scrubbing and after that a Mr. And Ms. Upper West Side Pageant. I think that would be great. Whoever complains the most wins. You could have a Fairway Market cart pushing contest too.

    20. Tom says:


      Taken at 3pm TODAY

      Now they are not even trying!!


      • UWSsurfer says:

        Tom, darling, no one can see your photo.

        you need to put it on a host like
        photobucket and post that link.

    21. Harriet says:

      We are forgetting that a new “power” is coming to that corner very soon. As soon as I heard that Bloomingdale’s was coming in, the first thing I said was…boy they will clean up the excess of booksellers VERY fast. They don’t want that interfering with their display windows. They may take the path of least resistance, and simply pay off the vendors to move somewhere else. Or they may use their clout to get the existing laws enforced. I predict big changes coming.

      • UWSsurfer says:

        Bloomingdales used to be special.

        No more. Even their Christmas/Hanukkah windows suck.

        • UWSsurfer says:

          Bloomingdales + or – Macy’s = Federated

          We all lose!

          Fight for the UWS. Fight for our neighborhood.

          If Big Nick and all of his burgers can’t afford to be on UWS Broadway, something is seriously wrong!!!

    22. UWSsurfer says:

      Well, well…

      good going, complainers who ride the 20th precinct police asses.

      some of the booksellers on Broadway between 74th and 73rd streets were rousted in a police swarming today.

      Don’t you realize that these guys ARE small business owners?!

      The booksellers are not going to leave.

      Let’s work together with them, the police and helen rosenthal for a solution.

      Free the police up to fight REAL crime —
      robberies & murder NOT someone who has
      a box of books on the ground!

      Our neighborhood could be so much better and more beautiful.

    23. UWSsurfer says:

      So, our own UWS Vic Tanney (aka “shirtless bookseller”) was part of the police action today.

      do you feel good?
      i don’t.

      and for those who hate the radios…
      here’s a novel idea.. ask the guy to lower his radio.

      it works!

      • UWSsurfer says:

        Thnaks, Tom.

        what is see are booksellers trying to protect their goods from rain.

        I am their customer. Many more of us don’t post on this site.

        I see empty, ugly building windows in the background.

        I see a beautiful corner space that was let go by Urban Outfitters, a company I wanted to like but they made it impossible when
        their corporate head ripped off the ideas of artists (“No. We don’t like it. It’s not for us”) who later saw their designs on Urban Outfitters T-shirts.

        Urban Outfitters pays rent that is either $1 million or $3 million on the their mid-town location.

        That is insane.

        No one should have to pay rent prices like that.

        It is going to be the ruin of our city.

        • UWSsurfer says:

          typo: thanks

          • Tom says:

            3pm. Mostly sunny.

            That is all.

            • UWSsurfer says:

              not sunny, tom.

              come on.

              it was cloudy. still is. threatening to rain.

              be part of the solution and stiop being a spy–ok?

            • UWSsurfer says:

              At 8 pm, on this cold night,
              less than 100 feet from your photo,
              there was a man sleeping with a blanket over his head while sitting on a bench in the Broadway Mall at w. 73rd and Broadway.

              Why focus on the book sellers? Why not try to help people like this man?

          • UWSsurfer says:

            What I see under the tarps, is the memory of the book that I recently got from Kirk;
            “Jackie’s Nine: Jackie Robinson’s Values to Live By: Becoming Your Best Self ”

            I never would have seen this at Barnes & Noble.

            A night ago at the World Series, Jackie’s daughter Sharon Robinson was shown in the stands. They spoke of her charity along w/ Scholastic and the winners of the essay contest “Breaking Barriers.”

            I Googled and learned more about it.

            Stop making these vendors the villains. They aren’t.

            • UWSsurfer says:

              Have you ever seen TARU in action?
              Technical Assistance Research Unit (TARU) NYPD.

              I have seizing Kirk’s books. It’s frightening. A total over-reaction
              to the so-called threat at hand.

              It is Kristallnacht and I have right to use that term so don’t challenge me.

              Was it TARU that made the Tony’s at the Beacon Theatre look like we were under Marshall Law?

              I asked one of the AK47-toting officers if there was a specific threat and he was a total d*ck.

              So, what I am saying is that as a community, let’s come up with a design that includes the street vendors and frees up the police from petty stuff and stop bombarding helen rosenthal.

              now wonder she doesn’t return emails and
              calls about shirtless men and monkeys.

            • UWSsurfer says:

              typo correction below:

              No wonder she doesn’t return emails and
              calls about shirtless men and monkeys.

    24. UWSsurfer says:

      I am so thankful to Westside Rag for
      covering this issue and many more.

      This site
      is the one that provides the most current in-depth coverage of the UWS.

      Gothamist is good too but not like our Rag.

      My hope is that people stop b*tching and start doing something to make our neighborhood the best it can be.

      We are in the best neighborhood in the best city in the world.

      Let’s stop this ugly corporate takeover
      of our unique community. Bring back
      the unique shops!

      • Anon says:

        It must be tiring to be an Internet social justice warrior like you lol. Don’t you know that mere miles separate you and your computer from hungry children? Maybe less comments judging others and more cooking/delivering.

        • UWSsurfer says:

          pipe down.you don’t know anything about my activities to help the homeless and hungry on the UWS.

          my point about tom’s photo (that you seemed to have missed) is that there are real problems in this several block area and it’s not the book vendors. people are homeless, hungry, and sleeping outdoors.

    25. UWSsurfer says:

      This isn’t the right thread, but the Westside Rag has reported about the attempts to change the zoning our neighborhood that would allow brownstones to add 2 extra stories that would look ugly and block the sun.

      This is a clarion call! We must not allow this to happen.

      Take a look at what used to be the Schwab Mansion on Riverside Drive at 73rd:


      Look at it now:

      Let’s stop the over-development of our neighborhood w/ ugly cement box “luxury” apts and faceless storefronts that house chain cell phone companies and banks.

    26. bravo says:

      WSR, this site is one of the best things happening in community involvement, and a heartfelt thank you for that.
      However, some people abuse the ability to type & publish 24/7 and pretty much hog the site with their “ideological” and aggressive rants. I do hope there is a way to reign them in so the readers can keep enjoying the site.

      • Sean says:

        As long as the comments are on point and not abusive, you can’t control the conversation. That would be the opposite of a dialogue.

        • dannyboy says:

          I agree with Sean (this time, we’ll see about later Discussions).

          Bravo, you can always start your own blog.

    27. Ben says:

      Can the vendors, books or otherwise, leave their stands on the sidewalks overnight? If so can the city charge them rent? Do these vendors collect and pay NYCity sales tax?This may be a way to reduce the number of vendors.