Advertisement: Click here to learn how to Generate Art From Text
Mr. Mousa, however, was fixated on just one number: 3.892. This was his position on the New York City waiting list for food vendors.
Like thousands of the city’s mobile food vendors, Mr. Mousa Can’t get a permit to use his cart, the Halal Plates. The number of permits was previously limited to 5,100. A law passed in 2021 increased the number to 445 permits per year for 10 years. So far, 71 new permits have been issued by the city.
Almost 9,500 people were on waiting lists in January, according to the city’s health department. A spokesman said it had released 1,074 applications — a permit prerequisite — since the law was enacted, but most applicants had yet to complete the process.
While he waits for his permit, Mr. Mousa says he and his partner pay $18,000 cash every two-years to a Bronx driver who Mr. Mousa claims obtained it decades ago at a cost of a few hundred bucks. Mr. Mousa said that such arrangements are the only way many vendors who otherwise follow regulations can avoid fines and confiscation.
Mr. Mousa expects to negotiate at the same price with the permit holder this summer but anticipates that they will try to increase it.
“What can I do?”Mr. Mousa added, “He has the thing I need.”
Such is the math of chicken and rice — a heavily spiced mound of boneless chicken with yellow rice and a side salad — which swept the city in the 1980s, after a wave of Egyptian immigrants arrived.
Mr. Mousa, 30 and also from Egypt, raised the dish’s price by 67 percent since 2020. He said he shut down the business for more than an year while working as a driver of food deliveries.
The cart’s operation includes a number of expenses. Starting with saving $750 a month for the permit, the cart is able to track dozens of costs. The business, which is dependent on students, office and construction workers and other workers, operates two 10-hour shifts from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 a.m. In the winter Mr. Mousa (and two cooks) work Wednesday through Sunday. After Easter they work every single day.
Mr. Mousa is also paying $450 a month for space in the garage and commissary in Red Hook, Brooklyn to store the cart. He pays $30 a day to have the cart cleaned by a worker, and $65 a month to have it transported to and from Lower Manhattan by a driver.
The majority of cooking takes place in the 5-by-10 foot metal cart. A $2,000 generator powers the small refrigerator, while the flattop grills and fryers burn through a $25 tank of propane every day. Commissary workers cook an $18 basmati bag of rice.
In the colder months, the business might make $500 daily, Mr. Mousa said — a net loss, but enough to survive until the summer, when sales range from $700 to $1,400 a day. The most popular dish is chicken over rice, which accounts for two-thirds the revenue.
John Rennie Short is a professor emeritus from the University of Maryland in Baltimore County. He said that New York was the only major American city to enforce a limit on food vendor permits. But that could all change.
City Council members met in December to discuss the upcoming year. Introduced a bill to increase the number of new permits issued annually — to 1,500 from 445 — and remove the cap after five years.
Mohamed Attia is the managing director of Street Vendor Project – a group that advocates for street vendors. He said the changes will be transformative.
Opponents claim that removing the cap could lead to overcrowding, safety issues and other problems.
A spokeswoman for the mayor’s office said the city was reviewing the legislation.
Mr. Mousa could save a lot of cash with a valid permit. He lives in Jersey City, N.J. with his wife, baby, and other family members. He also owns two carts in the area that use borrowed permits.
Savings to kick-start retirement? “In my 50s,”He said “I’ll be fishing on a lake.”
Produced By Eden Weingart, Andrew HinderakerDagny Sals. Development by Gabriel GianordoliYou can also find out more about the following: Aliza Aufrichtig.
Original content by www.nytimes.com – “What’s Behind a $10 Chicken Over Rice From a Cart? An $18,000 Permit.”
Read the full article here https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/04/nyregion/nyc-costs-chicken-rice-cart.html ‘