NEW YORK, NY – The operators of a popular Mexican food truck have sold their last taco, saying they can no longer deal with the high costs and hassles of doing business on the streets of New York.
Four-year-old Mexico Blvd. served its final customers Friday in Midtown. The company said it has been stymied by the lack of available citywide street-vendor licenses, which cost $200 and are good for two years. The city grants just 2,800 of these permits, although vendor advocacy groups have called for lifting the cap.
The situation has resulted in many street vendors going on the black market to obtain the permits—at a cost of up to $25,000 per license, vendors said.
Mexico Blvd.’s current license, which was obtained on the black market, is set to expire Saturday, prompting the closure, the company said.
But the issue goes beyond cost. Mexico Blvd. operators said the truck was a financial success and they could afford to pay for another two-year license. But dealing with the black market brought a level of uncertainty that the operators said they weren’t willing to face again.
“It’s a sketchy situation. It’s not always easy to find someone you can trust to hand all this cash to,” said Mexico Blvd. operator Jordi Loaeza, who ran the truck with his parents.
Additionally, city parking fines, which often amounted to a few thousand dollars a month, hurt them, the food truck operators said. It’s another common complaint among street vendors, who say the fines have become part of the cost of doing business in a city that doesn’t technically allow them to operate in metered parking spaces.
The issues that resulted in Mexico Blvd.’s closure are similar to the ones that prompted Cinnamon Snail, a vegan food truck that was among the city’s highest-rated street vendors, to shut down this year.
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