Vendor pleading for help after she says city officials confiscated her produce
A local street vendor is asking for help and answers after she says New York City officials confiscated her fresh produce that she was selling at her food stand in Hunts Point.
Diana Hernandez Cruz is an immigrant from Mexico who makes her living from selling fresh fruit to Bronx residents on the corner of White Plains Road and Pelham Parkway daily. She’s been a community staple for seven years, and says that she’s had her merchandise taken from her twice in that time, with both instances taking place in 2023.
Last week, the Department of Sanitation swept all of Cruz’s fresh goods that she says totaled to around $10,000 worth of produce. She says that when she asked why, she received no response. News 12 received video of a previous incident of confiscation that took place last month.
DSNY officials told News 12 they were called to the site of Cruz’s stand after multiple 311 complaints of a tent that went into the street and tables taking up sidewalk space. They tell us that officers waited for over an hour for someone to claim responsibility of the tables, but nobody did. They say if that had happened, they would have issued a warning. But they say they eventually had to remove the tables and tent because it was creating a quality of life issue.
City officials added that Cruz’s stand was shut down because she has yet to obtain the proper permits to sell on the streets of the city.
“I don’t have the permit because I have gone to get it and that permit isn’t easy to get,” said Cruz.
Cruz says she wakes up at 4 a.m. every day to travel to Hunts Point to get the goods to sell, and that the day she got her merchandise confiscated she had received those goods on a line of credit she’s worried she won’t be able to pay back.
As for the merchandise’s location now, DSNY told News 12 that it was donated. DSNY says they are holding on to the tables, and Cruz is welcome to pick them up at any time.