The Vendy Awards are the first street food event and competition series in the USA, providing a forum for vendors to compete for the title of "Best Street Food." Now New Yorkers can have the "Vendy" experience every Sunday, May through October. Vendy Plaza is located in an East Harlem open-air market space, featuring local street chefs and celebrating New York City's diverse food culture. In addition to supporting new food entrepreneurs, Vendy Plaza is part of an effort to breathe life back into the market space at 116th Street and Park Avenue, La Marqueta, a cultural and commercial center in East Harlem that is nearly 100 years old.
Vendy Plaza is organized by the Street Vendor Project, the same group behind the Vendy Awards, which have become one of the most beloved and widely-anticipated food events in New York and across the country. Visitors can enjoy an array of treats, from Puerto Rican favorites to Malaysian street food in the Brooklyn Brewery-sponsored beer garden.
There are as many as 20,000 street vendors in New York City—hot dog vendors, flower vendors, t-shirt vendors, street artists, fancy food trucks, and many others. In recent years, vendors have been denied access to street vending licenses from the city, resulting in a black market for licenses in addition to many other hurdles they must face in order to make ends meet. The Street Vendor Project provides legal representation, loans, training and support to vendors and is part of the Urban Justice Center, a nonprofit that provides legal representation and advocacy to various marginalized groups of New Yorkers.
Vendy Plaza is held every Sunday (rain or shine), noon-6pm at 116th Street and Park Avenue under the MetroNorth tracks. To learn more and to see the vendor lineup for the week, click here.
This post is brought to you by the Street Vendor Project.