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Peddling on 5th now a no-no for everybody.

Peddling on 5th now a no-no for everybody

To the delight of many of New York's major realtors and retailers, Governor Cuomo signed into law a bill that refortifies the city's ability to forbid peddling on Fifth Avenue and other restricted area's of the city.

The bill, introduced by Assemblyman Steve Sanders and Senator Roy Goodman, reverses a legal decision in New York State court (Kaswan vs. Aponte, April 1990), that superseded city regulations and enabled disabled veterans to vend anywhere in the city.

The Fifth Avenue Association, with 700 corporate members, led a year-plus-long battle to reverse the decision. While some veteran group's lobbied to save the disabled vendors' employment, the Fifth Avenue Association argued that the vendors, many of whom were selling counterfeit merchandise, were spoiling the image of the avenue and, in fact, the veterans were being taken advantage of by those prohibited from selling their wares in restricted areas. This "underground economy", the association contended, was absorbing the money that would have been spent at legitimate taxpaying businesses.

The bill got the endorsement of Mayor Dinkins when the private-sector group agreed to offer jobs to any licensed disabled veteran at twice the minimum wage and to provide a $400,000 fund that will go toward maximizing opportunities for the disabled veterans. The positions, available to every disabled veteran holding a valid peddler's license as of June 25, 1991, will be offered in retail, administration, security and related fields.

Tom Cusick, president of the Fifth Avenue Association, said that the government's signing was a vote to preserve the "face" of Fifth Avenue for the scores of tourists that visit each year, and to subvert the city's underground economy. "I think he recognized in the final analysis that this was important to the economic health of the city," said Cusick.

Cusick said he is busy lining up job slots and initial member contributions, which he is obligated to show the city within 15 days of the governor's signing. He said he is not sure how many jobs will be requested because the peddlers are still licensed and may choose to sell somewhere else.

The city, he said, may open up some spots for the disabled veterans in the park. While these spots may be less lucrative, veteran vendors and organizers would possibly be assisted, via the money from the fund, in purchasing their supplies, thus eliminating the middle man and increasing their individual gain.

"There are ways to assist that may produce as much in the park as they were getting on the street," he said.
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Title Annotation:New York's 5th Avenue
Author:Fitzgerald, Therese
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Aug 14, 1991
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