Oct. 19, 2021 By Allie Griffin
An inaugural street vendor scavenger hunt will kick off in Corona Plaza next month in an effort to support the city’s local vendors.
The five-borough scavenger hunt, organized by the Street Vendor Project of the Urban Justice Center, will challenge participants to visit vendors and complete a number of tasks that require meeting vendors and sampling their wares over the course of a month.
The hunt launches on International Street Vendor Day, Nov. 14, with a gathering in Corona Plaza, where a diverse group of more than 80 food and merchandise vendors have created a thriving outdoor market. There, participants can complete their first challenges and purchase authentic dishes like Ecuadorian papas con cuero (potatoes with pork skin) or Mexican tlayudas oaxaqueñas (a pizza-like dish made with corn tortilla flatbread) from the vendors.
Participants will have until Dec. 14 to complete as many challenges as they can. The individual or team — of up to five people — who completes the most challenges will win a prize.
Teams or individuals can register for the scavenger hunt online and will then gain access to a mobile app on Nov. 14 where they will unlock the challenges — such as ‘learn the ingredients of a Halal cart vendor’s white sauce,’ ‘take a picture at a pushcart with a Cevallos Brothers hand-painted sign,’ or ‘visit a vendor in Staten Island’ — and upload evidence of completed challenges.
Registration for the scavenger hunt opens Thursday and costs $25. Teams are also encouraged to raise funds beyond the initial $25. The team that raises the most money will also win a prize.
All the proceeds will benefit the Street Vendor Project, a membership-driven, non-profit organization that champions the rights of street vendors as small businesses to earn a living and contribute to the culture and life of New York City.
The Street Vendor Project said it created the scavenger hunt as a way to encourage New Yorkers to visit their local vendors and help the industry recover from the economic fall-out of COVID-19, while also supporting the organization with its mission to support street vendors.
Street vendors have had a particularly hard time rebounding from the pandemic, the Street Vendor Project said. They were largely excluded from economic relief due to their business model and/or immigration status. Now, they are still seeing a significant decrease in sales as they largely rely on foot traffic often composed of tourists and office workers, according to the organization.