Street Vending in OTR

fresh-squeezed lemonade in OTR

There has been some discussion lately of street vending in Cincinnati, right here and elsewhere. Kids seem to be exempt from the regulations and licensing fees surrounding the practice. In fact, this lemonade stand is an extremely effective way to placate potential urban loft condo-dwellers. What could be more wholesome and charming that this Saturday afternoon sighting in Over-the-Rhine? After the Washington Park pool closes, maybe neighborhood kids can fill their summers with these micro-entrepreneurship endeavors.

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7 thoughts on “Street Vending in OTR

  1. Looks like a scene from a modern day Norman Rockwell painting.

    What makes this brilliant is that is shows how city life offers great opportunities for children to participate in and be exposed to civic life. What better illustration of the quality of life afforded by urban life can their be?

    I don’t know that this is the context to discuss street vending regulations, as this is somewhat below the scale of operation that the regulations have in mind. Still, if we can appreciate the value of this scene we should be able to translate this to all people of all ages.

    Don’t immigrants, senior citizens and low-income earner, which are the groups that I have observed vending, benefit in much the same ways. And don’t we also benefit from being them.

    The history of urban places and OTR specifically is filled with scenes of street vendors. In OTR we have the Weinerwurst men who sold sausages and many others to illustrate the social and economic function of this low order economic activity.

    I think that the regulations serve a purpose, but they are way too strict and too large of a barrier for those would benefit the most, which I feel includes your “urban loft-condo dwellers.

  2. I completely agree about economic opportunity. Seeing kids engage in this makes an easy case for its benefits [to these vendors and customers, and to the general quality of street life], but the benefits should be obvious across many types of vendors, products and services. I love the sight of more people on the street and this spontaneous opportunity for social interaction with neighbors.

    You’re right — Over-the-Rhine definitely has a legacy of German street vendors, many of whom used the practice as a kind of business incubator which enabled their larger-scale ventures. Essen Strasse is keeping some of that history alive in Findlay Market, and I think more of this kind of street vending should be encouraged throughout the neighborhood.

  3. Maybe. Really, I just wish these things were more prevalent, so I’d like less red tape, lower expenses, more of a market, whatever it takes for me to be able to enjoy this more frequently.

  4. OMG. Free markets, increased competition, less government regulation, lower costs…you’re starting to sound like a conservative! Pretty soon you’ll be joining COAST.

  5. I don’t know about that, or maybe I’m viewing all this through a different filter. If the bureaucracy and/or licensing expenses are prohibitive, then I would like to see them streamlined and/or minimized. If there’s not enough of a market for these sorts of goods, then I wish there were more people on the streets looking to patronize street vendors. Competition entails some level of saturation, and we’re nowhere near that, unless you think that a hot dog vendor competes with a restaurant’s small plates menu.

    What I find interesting about this lemonade stand is that there has been an aggressive effort to rid the streets of what is considered undesirable activity. For instance, Andre, who offers to read people’s horoscopes, has been harassed by cops. By contrast, this stand, which is technically illegitimate as well, is exempt because these are children. If you were a real estate agent looking to convince people of OTR’s livability and urban charm, I think you’d be happy to witness something like this, legality be damned.

    Really, I think I’m just referring to what I believe constitutes a healthy urban streetscape and, to me, that includes opportunities like the ones afforded by this lemonade stand. It’s not just economic opportunity for the vendor, or a chance for me to quench my thirst. It’s also an excuse to hang out on the sidewalk, watch street life, run into neighbors and meet some new ones and, at the end of the day, to be able to say, “Wow, I had an experience today that I didn’t expect to have.” That’s life in the city.

  6. Pingback: Summer Celebration Sneak Peek « Visualingual

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