On Valentine’s Day, we love our ladies. We love our local businesses. But we sure as heck don’t care for illegal vendors.
The NYPD is making rounds along the district’s commercial corridors, finding and squashing attempts to set up illegal flower stands.
Setting up shop on a sidewalk without proper permits is illegal any time of the year, but the problem gets particularly bad on holidays like Valentine’s Day. According to Sergeant Kerry Carty of the 61st Precinct Community Affairs Unit, within an hour of being out on Kings Highway today they had already shut down three illegal vendors.
“The florist shops pay a lot of money for their space,” Carty said, noting that illegal vendors are undercutting brick-and-mortar flower shops.
Storefront florists need to charge a little more to cover long-term costs like rent – and pay taxes – while fly-by-night vendors seize an unfair advantage, hurting the stability of the community. Illegal vendors in New York City can be fined between $250 and $1,000 and, if charged, face imprisonment of up to three months.