Illegal vendors and gamblers have taken over a commercial strip in The Bronx thanks to a new city law that moved enforcement responsibilities from the NYPD to an agency that lacks the authority to confiscate goods — or even demand identification from street hawkers.
“It looks like a bazaar in Istanbul,” said Marko Majic, head of business development for City Jeans on East Fordham Road.
“The only difference is in Istanbul it’s legal and organized and here it is illegal and unorganized,” Majic said.
Wilma Alonso, director of the Fordham Road Business Improvement District, recently counted 242 sidewalk vendors along the shopping corridor from Grand Concourse to Webster Avenue.
That same area has just 230 storefronts, according to the New York Post.
“They sell water, jewelry, masks, toys, counterfeit goods, anything you can imagine,” Alonso said, adding that hustlers even set up games of three-card monte.
The March 2021 law moved enforcement away from cops and handed it over to the city Department of Consumer Affairs and Worker Protection.
A spokeswoman for the agency confirmed to The Post that the law doesn’t even call for it to be fully operational until September.
Margaret Chin, the Democratic Manhattan councilwoman who sponsored the bill that put DCWP in charge of enforcement, was unapologetic about the new law’s unintended consequences — and even suggested the unlicensed, unregulated and unaccountable vendors should just be left alone.