Last Year’s Vendy Winner Envies Miss Universe
Our heartiest congratulations go out to Samiul Haque Noor, the winner of the 2006 Vendy Award for New York’s best street vendor. Noor won a cook-off against three other finalists, including the legendary “Arepa Lady,” to take the top honors Sunday night. We contacted last year’s winner, Rolf Babiel of Hallo Berlin, who was ineligible for this year’s contest, at his home in Binghamton, to ask him what’s in store for Noor. “I got a lot of new customers,” Babiel said. “And my lines got longer. Too long! I lost some of the old customers. We had visits from Oprah and Rachael Ray and journalists from Germany and Japan.” Babiel appreciates the attention the Vendys earned him, but one thing made him a little uneasy. “I got a big trophy,” he said. “But they called me up and said they need to take it back. I thought, It should be like Miss Universe, and I could give the trophy to the new winner. It would have been a little more professional. You know, I think the Vendys are a little bit disorganized. But I don’t get carried away.”
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It’s Hard Out There for a Street VendorUSA Today just published an article detailing how vendors are routinely harassed by cops for minor violations like being too far from the curb, too close to a doorway, or on the wrong corner. Making matters worse, in February, the city raised the maximum fine for non-health-related violations from $250 to $1,000. Now there’s talk of capping the number of licenses given out. The Street Vendor Project, an advocacy group best known by civilians for the Vendy Awards, might be the only resource the workers have. So support them by dropping in on the Vendys, happening Sunday night at St. Mark’s Church in the East Village. After the jump, find the list of nominees — and info on a special contest!