1703883172 fill
Blog News

NYC to Brooklyn Bridge vendors: Time to pack up your hats, keychains, refrigerator magnets

New York City will ban vendors from the Brooklyn Bridge starting Wednesday, Mayor Eric Adams said Friday.

The move, Adams said, will make it safer for pedestrians on the bridge, which he called one of the city’s “most stunning gems.” It also will uproot dozens of vendors who crowd the span on a typical day, rubbing elbows with pedestrians and camera-wielding tourists.

“Tourists and New Yorkers alike deserve to walk across it and enjoy its beauty without being packed together like sardines or risking their safety,” Adams said in a statement. “We’re not going to allow disorder to continue in these cherished spaces.”

The ban comes under new city Department of Transportation rules prohibiting vending in pedestrian walkways and bike lanes on all city bridges and their approaches.

But it’s the bustling Brooklyn Bridge where dozens of vendors can be found selling various wares, including Yankees caps, novelty NYC license plates, keychains, refrigerator magnets and bobbleheads of former President Donald Trump.

Also vying for bridge walkers’ dollars: photo stands where tourists record 360-degree videos of themselves — with Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” playing in the background — for $10.

The ban marks the city’s latest effort to improve conditions on the Brooklyn Bridge’s walkway, which more than 34,000 pedestrians visited on a typical fall weekend last year, according to city statistics. It also comes amid a larger crackdown on unlicensed vending across the city under the Adams administration.

The city says the high foot traffic at the Brooklyn Bridge makes vending along the walkways unsafe, as vendors’ wares impede pedestrian traffic flow and ability to safely exit the bridge.

At a DOT hearing in early November, military veteran Tyrone Lopez said he opposed the ban, adding that he was one of a handful of veterans with a license to sell NYC-themed tchotchkes, shirts and other merchandise.

“We have a license, and there’s a lot more people out here who don’t have a license,” he told Gothamist at the time. “But the bad part about it is, everybody’s going to suffer for it. I think it’s unfair for us veterans to even have to go through the same thing.”

“The crowding of the bridge, we have nothing to do with that,” he added.

Manhattan Chamber of Commerce President Jessica Walker said the city needs designated spaces where street vendors can lawfully operate, but argued the city’s bridges aren’t appropriate locations.

“The top priority across our bridge spans is to ensure that pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike can move safely, quickly and freely to their destination,” she said.

The city Department of Sanitation, which enforces street vending rules, said it issued 240 violations on the Brooklyn Bridge from April through November.

The city has begun outreach to vendors with fliers in English, Spanish and Chinese. All vendor items must be removed from the bridge by 11:59 pm on Tuesday, with enforcement beginning Wednesday, according to officials.

This is a developing story and may be updated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *