Job losses in New York City has created a black market in a commodity you might not expect: street vending permits.
In a city with rising unemployment —the rate was 8.1 percent in March, nearly twice the rate of a year earlier — some New Yorkers are turning to street vending to make ends meet, Jennifer 8. Lee reports in City Room, a The New York Times blog.
A black market has developed because New York City caps the number of vending permits it issues, and nowadays far more people want to be street vendors than there are permits available.
Some of the city's existing permit holders have realized the potential profits in selling their permits. The going price of one is about $8,000 to $12,000, Lee notes. Sales have been brisk: "[A]bout two-thirds of permits are not even used by the original owner," she writes.