University degrees and prior work experience notwithstanding, many of New York City’s immigrants end up in the arduous field of street vending. It’s an easy entry into the job market, but a constant struggle due to the difficulty in obtaining permits, restricted streets, and police harassment. And for those who work late nights in the city that never sleeps, there is frequent danger.
The 35-year-old permit cap pushes new vendors into the black market, renting permits at exorbitant rates up to $25,000 biennially; many vendors toil to recoup costs by hustling ubiquitous NYC street foods. Can selling $2 packets of nuts provide a better life for the second generation? The stories of these vendors explore the realities of achieving the American Dream in its biggest city.
Taipei-born and Brooklyn-bound, former Mae Sot expat Nancy Chuang is a designer and darkroom devotee. A storyteller mesmerized by traveling in underrepresented areas, she uses photography to explore migration, labor rights and health access.