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Pushcart Pushback

Craig Kaplan is one of many push-cart vendors at Downtown Crossing. (Ava Aguado/WBUR)

Craig Kaplan is one of many push-cart vendors at Downtown Crossing. (Ava Aguado/WBUR)

This week Mayor Menino gave the puschcart vendors at Downtown Crossing a 60-day extension.   That might give them — and the Business Improvement District — time to work out their differences — and an opportunity to work together.


Craig Kaplan, pushcart vendor at Downtown Crossing.


Boston Globe “Pushcarts are perfectly compatible with the kinds of luxury residences, new retail shops, and first-rate office space now in the planning stages or under construction downtown. Small kiosks and pushcarts help to break up the urban landscape. And shoppers who browse the carts are often inclined to continue their journey into nearby stores. Pushcarts are good for business overall and contribute to the urban buzz.”

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  • Craig

    The BID’s response is in an article below. Rosemarie Sansone is trying to rewrite history by saying the groups intension all along was to upgrade the pushcart program not eliminate it. If that was the case then she never would have closed the carts down at all. She would have met with the vendors and explained this which she never did. The plan was to try to replace the current program with a new one. One that wouldn’t succeed. 

    She goes on to say the vendors could benefit from research they conducted. Their group interviewed a small handful of people. Far from a scientific research study, which apparently showed that people don’t want the items that currently sell the best. Items like t-shirts, sweatshirts, sunglasses etc. According to them these aren’t wanted any more. The people supposedly want handcrafted items and prepared foods. 

    The hot dog stand and t-shirt cart aren’t wanted in a tourist city with an urban center? Ridiculous. You can’t sugar coat it. The BID thinks they know better than the rest of us. They just do not. 

    They were asked to upgrade the vending program when the BID was enacted. Rosemarie Sansone told the vendors to come up with a proposal to buy new carts and do the things they are claiming they want to do now. The proposal was given to them and discarded. It was never even discussed.They are being disingenuous when they say they were taking actions to help the vendors. Everyone involved knows that is completely false.

    They are in damage control mode now. They have to deal with the vendors they have. The merchandise that works is out there now. If they want to add more artists and prepared foods that’s up to them but waiting for the smoke to clear so they can get right back to screwing them over isn’t going to work this time.

  • Craig

    It’s interesting to hear Rosemarie Sansone talk about construction projects taking place and the need for vendors to move. 

    None of these projects takes place overnight. They are made aware of any impact to their pushcart program well in advance especially the one taking place where Filene’s once stood. I had been asking Rosemarie personally where the vendors would be relocated to once the Filene’s project began. We had discussed many options. She never pursued any of them. One of the options was to just move the carts into the street. It is a pedestrian zone with no cars on Washington Street. It’s ironic that the Mayor’ office has suggested this option days after all of the negative publicity.

    It’s obvious to all the BID’s plan was to eliminate the current vendors and replace them with a small group of artists and specialty food vendors. They want to keep the new group under the thumb of the rich property owners who sit on their board like it’s some kind of feudal kingdom. The serfs can’t have any rights and certainly shouldn’t go to the press when they are treated unfairly.

    There were many times when a vendor meeting could have taken place to explain the situation to them. The BID has not had a vendor meeting for years preferring to keep them in the dark . The way they attempted to kick them all out in the dead of winter without notifying them tells you everything you need to know about the way they do business.

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