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Cops were sent in Wednesday morning to clear out illegal vendors from a Bronx corridor where they have been setting up shop after The Post reported on complaints from legal local merchants who have been outnumbered amid the makeshift street bazaar.
Cops began rousting unlicensed vendors from the Plaza at Webster Avenue and East Fordham Road at 9 a.m.
When the cops demanded to see their vending license, some didn’t have one or they weren’t up to date, so officers told them to pack up and leave. The hawkers mostly complied, though a few argued with the officers about the status of their licenses.
Wilma Alonso, director of the Fordham Road Business Improvement District, recently counted 242 sidewalk vendors along the shopping corridor from Grand Concourse to Webster Avenue. That same area has just 230 storefronts.
The sweep came after de Blasio pledged to rid the commercial corridor of illegal vending.
“This needs to be fixed and we’ll fix it,” the mayor said Wednesday morning at his daily press conference, after thanking a Post reporter for highlighting the issue.
“The bottom line is, the brick-and-mortar stores, I have a lot of sympathy for them, small businesses, mom-and-pops in many cases, struggling, they struggled before COVID, they struggled more during COVID. We’re trying to help them out,” he said. “The last thing they need is illegal competition.
“If someone’s a legal vendor, we’re going to respect that, but they have to follow the rules. An illegal vendor is an illegal vendor,” he added. “It’s not something we should tolerate.”
Republic mayoral nominee Curtis Sliwa was skeptical that the illegal street vending enforcement would last.
“They know de Blasio will say something one day and all of a sudden there is no consistency the following day, so of course they’ll be back,” he said Wednesday at a press conference near the site of much of the illegal peddling.
“We need a return of the NYPD peddlers unit because all of a sudden the problem becomes overwhelming,” the Guardian Angels founder added. “City Hall reacts by sending in some cops, but they’re going to be back tomorrow or the day after or the day after.”
Paul Kim, who owns three “Beauty Zone” retail stores on Fordham Road, hoped the hawkers would be gone for good.
“It’s a big problem! The business is slow and this does not help small business recover here!” said Kim, 62.
“These vendors, they no pay tax, no pay rent, all sell same items,” added Kim, who lives in Long Island. “I don’t know what we are going to do about it.”
The Post reported Monday on the unregulated street selling along the commercial strip in the Bronx.
“It looks like a bazaar in Istanbul,” Marko Majic, head of business development for City Jeans on East Fordham Road, previously told The Post.
“The only difference is in Istanbul, it’s legal and organized and here it is illegal and unorganized.”
The business owners’ fuming came as New Yorkers in 2021 have complained more about unauthorized peddling of merchandise across the five boroughs.
Between January and July, 311 complaints about illegal vending jumped by 14 percent compared to the same period in 2019, city data shows.
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