Posts Tagged ‘New York City’

Christmas Vendor

Christmas Card Vendor, New York City, ca. 1908-1917. Bain News Service, Library of Congress Collection

These century-old photos of peddlers hawking holiday cards–one cent each!– teddy bears and ingenious toys on New York City streets, circa 1908-1917, are a window onto Christmases past for street vending. Exchange the clothing and the goods for the 21st century equivalent and they could be on the street today. Or maybe not…

Vendor of Christmas Toys

Vendor of Christmas Toys, 6th Ave, ca. 1908-1917. Bain News Service, Library of Congress Collection

According to the Street Vendor Project, a membership-based non-profit creating a grassroots movement for vendors, if you want to sell such items, you may be out of luck. In 1979, the New York City Council created a cap of 853 on the number of merchandise licenses. The waiting list is so long that the Department of Consumer Affairs closed it more than 20 years ago.

An exception is made for veterans who were discharged from the service as disabled and for those selling books, magazines, CDs, and art, which are protected by the First Amendment right to free speech. More than 90% of New York City’s street vendors are immigrants and about 10% of vendors are veterans granted a special license under a New York State Law passed in the 1890s.

Selling Xmas Toys on Street

Selling Xmas Toys on Street, ca. 1908-1917. Bain News Service, Library of Congress Collection

City regulation of street vending began in 1906, when a Mayoral Commission inquired into the so-called “Push-Cart Evil.” They concluded that the number of pushcart vendors and sidewalk stands should be regulated.

While adding materially to the picturesqueness of the city’s streets and imparting that air of foreign life which is so interesting to the traveler, lending an element of gaiety and charm to the scene which is otherwise lacking, the practical disadvantages from the undue congestion of peddlers in certain localities are so great as to lead to a demand in many quarters for the entire abolition of this industry, if it may be dignified by that term. It is argued, and with much reason, that when the city was smaller and there was no congestion of street traffic, there was no harm in permitting a few persons to earn their livelihood by peddling their wares along the highways.– Report of the Mayor’s Push-Cart Commission, The City of New York

At the time 97% of the vendors were Jewish, Italian and Greek immigrants who had lived in the U.S. from five to ten years. For many, peddling was not their sole occupation, and was often only a temporary way to make a living, as it was in my grandfather’s day, when he and my father had a wagon selling popcorn and 5- and 10-cent lunch.

Christmas toy seller

Christmas Toy Seller, New York City, ca. 1908-1917. Bain News Service, Library of Congress Collection

Pitching one’s wares was also strictly regulated according to the Annual Report of the Police Department of the City of New York for 1920.

Peddlers, Hawkers, and Vendors Generally

6. Section 133. No street peddler, or vendor, shall blow upon or use any horn or other instrument, nor make any noise tending to disturb the peace or quiet of a neighborhood, for the purpose of directing attention to his wares or trade. No peddler shall cry or sell his or her wares, or merchandise, on Sunday, nor after 9 o’clock P. M., nor cry his or her wares before 8 o’clock in the morning of any day except Saturdays, when they will be allowed to cry or sell their wares or merchandise until 11:30 o’clock P.M.

Xmas Peddler

Xmas Peddler, New York City, ca. 1908-1917. Bain News Service, Library of Congress Collection

7. No peddler shall be allowed to cry his or her wares within a distance of 250 feet of any school, court house, church or building in which religious services are held, during hours they may be in session: nor at any time within a like distance of any hospital, asylum or other like institution; nor within a distance of 250 feet of any dwelling house or other building, when directed by an occupant thereof not to do so.

Street Peddlers

Christmas Street Peddlers. Bain News Service, Library of Congress Collection

“Our economy is changing and work is changing,” writes Braeden Lentz, a staffer at the Street Vendor Project. “Yet street vendors have been creating their own economy, one that is not subject to the whims of corporations, for two centuries.” With more than 1,500 active vendor members, SVP offers programs such as The Pushcart Fund’s small business loans, legal and technical assistance, classes for people thinking of becoming food vendors and the Vendy Awards for the best in the business.

Xmas Postcards

Xmas Postcards, New York City, ca. 1908-1917. Bain News Service, Library of Congress Collection


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December 13, 2013: Photo Album: Gingerbread Coney Island in City Harvest Extravaganza

December 9, 2013: Photo Album: First Snow of the Season in Coney Island by Bruce Handy

December 24, 2011: Video of the Day: Winter Wonderland for Christmas Eve

December 18, 2011: Playing Santa at the Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge

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Coney Island Fireworks

Alliance for Coney Island’s Poster for the 2013 Friday Night Fireworks. Photo via Facebook.com/coneyislandfun

Coney Island tourism was one of the winners in the third year of Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils competition. An award of $225,000 to the Alliance for Coney Island for improvements to the tourism initiative “The One and Only Coney” was among 824 statewide projects receiving a share of $715.9 million in New York State economic development funding.

“The campaign aims to draw tourists by marketing and expanding seasonal events and programs that will reintroduce Coney Island as America’s Playground, furthering the appeal of Coney Island as a tourism destination,” according to a release from the Governor’s Press Office. New York City received $57.4 million, including funding for a tech incubator in Queens and program expansion and improved accessibility at New York Botanical Gardens.

Alliance for Coney Island

Johanna Zaki, Alliance for Coney Island’s Director of Operations at a presentation on the 2013 season at Tom’s Coney Island. November 15, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

Founded in 2012, the Alliance for Coney Island is a successor to the Coney Island Development Corporation. The non-profit’s mission is “continuing the transformation of Coney Island into a year-round, world-class recreational oceanfront destination while improving the quality of life of the entire Coney Island community.”

Current opportunities on the organization’s website include RFPs for a creative agency/graphic designer firm as well as for fireworks shows and outdoor movie screening vendor services for the annual Flicks on the Beach program for 2014. The Alliance is also seeking sponsors for programming.

Free events such as Coney Island’s Friday night fireworks are currently supported by funding from the Alliance’s founding members. In the past, Schaefer Beer sponsored free Tuesday night fireworks from 1949 till they pulled out in 1968, writes Charles Denson in Coney Island: Lost and Found. The Village Voice sponsored the much-missed Siren Music Festival, a free indie rock concert from 2001-2010.

This promotional short “Coney Is…” showcases the Parachute Jump’s new lights, restored B&B Carousell and future improvements at the New York Aquarium. “The One and Only Coney” is Back, it says.


Related posts on ATZ…

December 2, 2013: New Construction: Coney Island Area’s 1st Hotel in Decades

November 8, 2013: Photo Album: Early November in Coney Island

October 30, 2013: Photo Album: Four Transformations, One Year After Sandy

June 4, 2013: Coney Island Fireworks 2013: Fridays, 6 Saturdays and July 4th

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Today's Banksy is in Coney Island. October 28, 2013. Photos via banksyny.com

Banksy in Coney Island. October 28, 2013. Photos via banksyny.com

WOW! Ask and you shall receive. On Friday, ATZ posted “Banksy Does Bumper Car, Has Yet to Do Coney Island” entreating the famed artist to visit Coney during his month-long “Better Out Than In” tour of New York City streets. Today he made it and our wish came true! Thank you so much, #banksyny. Banksy left this endearing robot spray-painting a barcode on a wall at Stillwell and Neptune. If you’re wondering about the significance of the number, it’s a nucleotide sequence for homo sapiens, according to Street Art News.

Banksy Coney Island

New Banksy on Neptune Avenue in Coney Island. October 28, 2013. Photo © Edward Muniz

The artwork is located at 1402 Neptune Avenue on the Stillwell side of a building that once housed a sign shop called Sign-O-Rama–how appropriate! Since Sandy devastated the neighborhood a year ago, it’s a former convenience store. This morning, ATZ messaged building owner Anthony Ruocco, a cousin to the Russo brothers of Gargiulo’s Restaurant, to give him a heads up about his good fortune and ask him to protect it. Since one of Banksy’s murals has sold for over $1 million, New York building owners who become the “accidental owner of a Banksy” have been hiring security guards and installing rolldown gates.

Banksy in Coney Island

Photographing the photographers taking photos of Banksy in Coney Island. October 28, 2013. Photo © Edward Muniz

Ruocco had been asked by the NYPD if he wanted to file a complaint against Banksy. Photographer Edward Muniz interviewed the building’s co-owner who said “I’m happy he chose us” and ordered a rolldown gate after his brother almost painted over the mural by mistake. Muniz had bicycled over to Neptune Avenue to take photos of people who had gathered to admire the Banksy. He noted that no one had tagged or defaced the artwork. “I’m so proud of Coney Island today! Everyone is respecting the piece and each other, everyone is getting their shots and having a good time,” he said in a post on a Facebook group. “I talked to people from all five boros, New Jersey, France and London! And after they got their shots they all walked down to the Boardwalk and Nathan’s to enjoy the sun.”

Banksy Coney Island

Rolldown Gate Installed to Protect Banksy in Coney Island. October 28, 2013. Photo © Bruce Handy

By 5PM, when photographer Bruce Handy arrived, the gate had been installed and the Banksy show was about to close for the day. A pregnant woman persuaded a worker to open the gate so she could pose for picture. Who knows, maybe she’ll name her baby Banksy? Jay Dow of WPIX also showed up, so you can see Coney Island’s Banksy on the 10 o’clock news.

We’ll update this post on Tuesday with info about viewing hours. The work, which is two blocks north of Surf Avenue, has the potential to draw tourists north of Stillwell Terminal.

Banksy Coney Island

Selfie with Banksy in Coney Island. October 28, 2013. Photo © Bruce Handy

As noted in our previous post, Coney Island has a rich tradition of street art. Os Gemeos, the Brazilian twins whom Banksy collaborated with on 24th Street in Chelsea have a 130-foot mural on Coney’s Stillwell Avenue across from the terminal that dates back to 2005. Work by Steve Powers, whose Dreamland Artists Club in collaboration with Creative Time brought new signage to Coney Island, can be seen on the staircase at Coney Island USA, the facade of West 12th Street’s Miss Coney Island and Skin the Wire, and the Eldorado Bumper Cars on Surf Ave. Sideshow banners by Marie Roberts have emblazoned the facade of Coney Island USA’s headquarters since 1997.

Banksy Coney Island

The Banksy artwork in Coney Island is two blocks north of Stillwell Terminal. October 28, 2013. Photo © Edward Muniz

UPDATE October 30, 2013:

The rolldown gate has been closed since it was installed on Monday evening. Pix of the gate and graffiti added to the wall are being posted on social media by people who came out to Coney to see the Banksy and were disappointed. The building owner needs to have a viewing schedule like the one in Williamsburg!


Related posts on ATZ…

October 26, 2013: Banksy Does Bumper Car, Has Yet to Do Coney Island

February 16, 2013: Photo Album: Post-Sandy MERCY Graffiti in Coney Island

October 10, 2011: Photo of the Day: Coney Island’s Famed “Hey Joey!” Doomed

April 15, 2011: Photo Album: Whimsical Murals Blossom in Coney Island

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