More than fifty street vendors and advocates rallied to protest against Hudson Yards Hell’s Kitchen Alliance (HYHK) and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation (NYC Parks) over their displacement out of Bella Abzug Park. 

Street Vendors Hudson Yards protest
Street vendors and advocates rally at Hudson Yards. Photo: Ariel Pacheco

The vendors allege that NYC Parks and HYHK have used tactics such as placing tree pits in locations where the vendors operate in an effort to displace them. Vendors who attempt to return to their space have been receiving tickets every day from NYC Parks. 

“Since 2019, the local business improvement district, Hudson Yards Hell’s Kitchen Alliance, has been placing trees where the vendors operate. Every now and then, they come back and add more trees in a move that is very intentional to displace the vendors and push them out of the location and out of business, which has happened to most of the carts that used to work and operate on this block,” said Mohamed Attia, the Managing Director at the Street Vendor Project. 

The Street Vendor Project is part of the Urban Justice Center, a non-profit organization that provides advocacy and legal representation to marginalized communities in the city. Earlier this year, the NYPD and NYC Parks moved the vendors to make way for a new tree pit on the sidewalk where the vendors had been located. 

Mohamed Awad pictured with some of his street vendor tickets at Hudson Yards.
Mohamed Awad pictured with some of his street vendor tickets at Hudson Yards in 2022. Photo: Mohamed Awad

Mohamed Awad has been a street vendor for 15 years and says he has operated in Bella Abzug Park since 2014. He says he has been issued a ticket worth $300 every day for the past two weeks and had to move his cart into a garage as there is no spot available for him to put it. 

“We’re taking $300 summons every day because we’re not moving,” said Mohamed. “We refuse to move.” 

“Why can they put us out of business so easily? What’s happening to us is wrong,” said Nazih Atia, one of the other street vendors. 

Street Vendors Hudson Yards protest
Street vendor carts in Bella Abzug Park during the protest today. Photo: Ariel Pacheco

The rally comes in the same week that HYHK announced that Paradis in the Park, the official park sub concessionaire, is partnering with longtime street vendor Tony Balbuena to expand Paradis’ food offerings at the park. Paradis opened to the public last year. In addition to the large kiosk in place, Paradis has added their own vendor carts around the park. They sell coffee and espressos, breakfast, lunch, snacks, wine, and beer. 

“Street vending in the city is tough. Paradis has the contract and the vending spots. I have the cart and the workers and the experience. It’s a match made in heaven.” said Balbuena.

Paradis Food Cart Hudson Yards
The new Paradis food cart and street vendor Tony Balbuena in Bella Abzug Park at Hudson Yards. Photo: HYHK Alliance

HYHK responded to the protestors’ claims, saying that the trees were not intentionally planted to displace street vendors. They said the trees are related to the Hudson Blvd East Shared Street Project, which has been planned for years. HYHK also dispelled the notion that they are displacing vendors and say they have added vendors to the park, hiring eight immigrant vendors with plans to expand. “No vendors have been displaced from the park,” said a spokesperson for HYHK.

In March 2021, a similar protest was held at Hudson Yards when street vendors claimed they were being “landscaped out” of the development by Related Properties.

Street Vendors Hudson Yards protest
Protestors marched around Hudson Yards at the end of their protest. Photo: Ariel Pacheco

The rally concluded with the street vendors and advocates marching around Hudson Yards chanting: “Hudson Yards — shame on you!” and “Parks Department— shame on you!” 

Join the Conversation


  1. Street vendors at Hudson yards :
    HYHK They always lying. We are part of the Hudson yards we been serving for the construction people who built this project after 8 now we are not welcome after we done the job.

  2. related question:
    why are street vendors allowed to situate right in front of food stores and restaurants and take away business?

  3. There are too many street vendors everywhere in NYC. Give me a nice leafy place to sit, to enjoy trees and plants without the pervasive smell of grease.

  4. Seems like HYHK already has a contract with other vendors and are placing trees to obstruct other vendors from taking their business away. That is usually the way business works.

    Guess the outside vendors will have to find another place to go to sell their food.

  5. Do they have licenses to be there? If so, let them be there. If no, then they need to leave. I understand that there’s a lot of money to be made in HY and in front of the 7 line station. But everyone needs to play by the rules.

  6. I’m sure that Steve Roth and HY only want “pretty” carts like that Paradis cart, not the vendors who have been there for years. This is the usual power grab to own and control people.

  7. We are the original street vendors at the Hudson yards: why have you not complained during the last eight years doing service for the hard worker who built this project? Now we are not welcome. We pay taxes. We were families making a living before the Hudson yards built

  8. I have been at the HY/HK Business District Meetings…they are absolutely adding planters to intentionally push out the carts so their matching carts can operate…they are bullys…that was always their plan, if they say otherwise they are lying, I was at the meetings.

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