- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 8, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) — Seen one funnel cake, seen them all. That’s the conclusion of the Center for an Urban Future, which recently released a report charging that the 367 fairs that crowd New York City streets annually are bland and generic, with the same vendors selling the same gyros, arepas and tube socks.

The report found that in 2005, a mere 20 vendors held 46 percent of the food permits at the city’s fairs and blames the lack of diversity partly on red tape that makes it difficult for new vendors to apply. Vendors who want to sell food must apply in person at the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The report suggested that the city ask production companies, which run street fairs for block associations and other organizers, to charge lower fees to New York City-based artists, craft-makers and other vendors, who pay about $100 to $400 to participate.

Asked about the study, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, “As far as I know, if other vendors wanted to show up and participate, they could.”

In 2003, Mr. Bloomberg imposed a cap on permits for new street fairs, which some New Yorkers felt were becoming a nuisance.

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