Did you know you can get a $1,000 ticket for parking more than 18 inches from the curb? When you’re earning an average of $14,000 a year, as many of New York City’s street vendors do, that can really get in the way of making a living.

In 2009, The Street Vendor Project, designer Candy Chang, and CUP created this issue of Making Policy Public to decode the rules and regulations for New York’s 10,000 street vendors so they can understand their rights and avoid unnecessary fines.The poster uses simple graphics and minimal text — in the five languages most commonly spoken among NYC’s vendors — to explain some of the most-often violated laws.

CUP and Street Vendor Project staff and volunteers launched the project with a sweep through the five boroughs to distribute over a thousand copies of the poster in a single day. The document’s portable format makes it easy for vendors to keep them on-hand. Street Vendor Project members tell us they even show them to police when there’s a question about a specific law!

Street Vendor Project has distributed thousands of copies to its members, and other organizations that deal with street vendor issues are using them, too.

Update: After years of fighting against Mayor Bloomberg and his $1,000 fines on hard-working street vendors, Street Vendor Project successfully campaigned to have City Council reduce the maximum vendor fine for minor offenses to $500. That’s still a lot of money for a street vendor violation, but this success demonstrates the growing power of the vendor community.

You can get a Vendor Power! of your own here!

Resources & Links

The Street Vendor Project, part of the Urban Justice Center, is a membership-based organization of more than 700 vendors who work together to protect the rights of vendors and promote vendor-friendly reform.

Candy Chang likes to make city information more accessible and engaging through design and creative use of public space.

Making Policy Public is a program of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP). CUP partners with policy advocates and graphic designers to produce foldout posters that explain complicated policy issues, like this one.

Funding Support

This project was made possible by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; and the New York Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Special Thanks

Lei Bai, Rupa Bhattacharya, Ryan Devlin, Mark Foggin, Cesar Fuentes, Ali Issa, Serge Martinez, Elizabeth Stanton, Abu Taher, Paula Winograd, Tina Wu


  • CUP
  • John Mangin
  • Rosten Woo
  • The Street Vendor Project
  • Advocacy Partner
  • Sean Basinski
  • Designer
  • Candy Chang


    Making Policy Public: Vendor Power!
    • Urban Omnibus
    • May 06, 2009

    In order to put this information directly in the hands of people who need it the most, CUP organized a citywide distribution event where volunteers handed out free copies to vendors across the city. 

    Vendor Power
    • Gourmet
    • September 21, 2009

    A very good way to help keep vendors on the streets and increase their ability to actually make a living at it. 

    Download PDF
    Promoting Social Justice One Poster at a Time
    • FastCo Design
    • July 13, 2010

    The Center For Urban Pedagogy teaches those in need how they can bend the city’s bureaucracy.

    Why Design Now?
    • Cooper Hewitt
    • May 13, 2010

    Designed in an engaging, accessible style, Vendor Power! aims to help these urban entrepreneurs avoid tickets, understand their rights, and collectively advocate for policy reforms.