When we first heard about New York Street Food's walking tour we didn't realize it was not the first of its kind. But some of our commenters did, and so did the folks at Urban Oyster, which has been offering Food Cart tours in Midtown since last June (and just launched a cart tour downtown).

Urban Oyster reached out to us regarding the similarities with a little bit of history: "Last year, Perry Resnick from New York Street Food accepted an invitation to come on our tour and, of course, we had hoped he would write about it on his blog to help us get the word out. Unfortunately, we did not receive any mention on his blog following that tour. Now it seems as though the tour he is advertising is eerily similar to ours—almost all of the carts and trucks he has talked about are on our tour. If you look at the verbiage on his site and compare it to ours—from the description to the choice of carts to the FAQ section—it's very similar."

The Urban Oyster folks didn't seem too mad—"Of course, we always welcome competitors but we just want you to have the full story"—but it did pique our interest. So we looked at their sites and they do have a point about the tours being similar in description.

Here's how NYSF describes their tour:


Tickets are $40 per person. Advance purchase is required. Ticket price includes at least 5 different food tastings, a local map, a bottle of water, and your knowledgeable tour guide.

And here is how Urban Oyster describes theirs:


Tickets are $40 per person. Advance ticket purchase is required. Price of ticket includes six food tastings, a bottle of water, a tour map of the neighborhood, and your tour guide.

Interesting! So we asked Perry Resnick, the man behind NYSF, for his side of the story. He doesn't deny that he took their tour last year or that the tour he is still in the planning stages of has two overlaps with the one he took with Urban Oyster—"you can't do a NY street food walking tour without including Biryani Cart or Jamaican Dutchy. They are institutions."—but there won't be any others when all is said and done. Further, he made the point that there is a distinction between a tour company running a food cart tour and a food cart writer running a food cart tour.

Resnick also swears to us that he'd already been mulling the idea for a street food tour before he'd ever heard of Urban Oyster:

I found out about their tour while doing some research online, but obviously I can't prove this because it was in my head, and over a year ago. If they want to claim it was their idea, I don't have any proof to the contrary. They were certainly the first (and only) ones to offer it that I found at the time of my research ... When I took their tour, I was toying with the idea, but it was still a distant thought. I wasn't sure if I was going ahead with the idea yet, and wanted to see what was involved. They did a decent job and I enjoyed it.

So, long story short? Urban Oyster was offering a street food tour first. New York Street Food will be offering a similar tour this summer. Luckily for all, it is a good idea, and there is probably enough room for two street food tours in town. And if not, TwinAmerica will just buy them all up and not tell anyone.