In Corona Plaza, New York, vendors with food carts and stands selling items to early-morning commuters, gather before 6am. Since the pandemic began, over 100 vendors have turned to selling food, household items, baseball caps, sneakers, clothing, and flags of every Latin American country to make a living. However, most do not have permits. This is because for a city of 8.8 million people, there are only 5,100 permits for mobile food vendors and 853 general merchandise street vendor permits available. New York City police removed vendor regulations in response to last year's protests, and many saw an opportunity. “We don’t have permits or licenses, but we know the risks we are taking,” says Gabriela Almaraz, who previously worked as a housecleaner. “A lot of us who are vendors here were vendors in our home countries. What we’re trying to do here is, until we’re able to get those permits and licenses, we’re organizing to keep the plaza clean so that we’re not drawing negative attention from enforcement agents.” The Corona Plaza community itself has created their own system to manage trash, resolve disagreements, and designate individual vending locations.

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