From the Daily News:
Merchants and community board officials in Sunnyside have declared war on Queens Blvd. street vendors.
Their weapon of choice: cops.
The "zero-tolerance" campaign to purge the corridor of street sellers is spurring outrage from licensed peddlers, who say their livelihood is being squeezed.
Moore and other vendors charge they’re being illegally harassed, but business owners on and near Queens Blvd. say the police intervention is needed to rid the corridor of peddlers who, they say, crowd and dirty sidewalks along the bustling commercial strip.
“I’m paying big money every day for taxes, and vendors pay nothing,” said Jorge Calle, a florist on Greenpoint Ave. “I’ve sent letters to the Department of Consumer Affairs, but they don’t do anything.”
Calle said he has been forced to cut back on staff and struggles to cover his $8,000 monthly rent because vendors are taking business from him.
“I used to have six workers, now I only have two because I couldn’t afford to pay them,” he said. “Even though my products are better, vendors are offering the same thing for a cheaper price.”
Vendors like Moore respond that they are within their rights, and say they’re being targeted by storeowners who “don’t like the competition.”
“My license means nothing to them,” he said. “The store will call the precinct, and they’ll come because the owner doesn’t want me there.”