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Vendy Awards pay tribute to street food

Steamy hotdogs, tangy gyros, crispy falafel, savory kebabs — and that's just the food on 34th street.

New York City is known for its high-quality street food and the lively vendors that dish it up on the sidewalks.

This Saturday, the 26th, at 2 p.m., the king of all vendors will be crowned, when the fifth annual Vendy Cup is handed out at the Queens Museum of Art.

The Vendy Cup is one of four titles given out at the Vendy Awards. There’s an also an award for the best dessert vendor, rookie vendor of the year and the crowd’s favorite taste award.

“This year we have a new, high-profile taste award that will be voted on by all the attendees,” said Amy Kantrowitz, the managing director of the Vendy Awards. “We also added the rookie of the year award to help single out the entrepreneurs who are making a go of it in this tough economic time.”

The food served by this year's finalists represents the melting pot of New York City and includes Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian dumplings, Jamaican and Mexican fare.

The five Vendy Cup finalists and three dessert finalists will have their carts on hand for the five judges to taste and for attendees to enjoy. In addition to the all-you-can-eat carts, there will be an open bar of beer and wine.

The event helps raise money for the Street Vendor Project, a non-profit organization that helps New York City street vendors understand their legal rights.

This year, organizers expect 700 attendees, the largest turnout ever, Kantrowitz said.

“Five years ago, the Vendy Awards were 100 people in an east village garage,” Kantrowitz said. “And now it is this big event with international coverage. I think it is so popular because the event taps into the heart of New York City, it doesn’t matter who you are, for the subway and for street food, everyone has to wait.”

Street foodies can purchase tickets for $80 at More than half of the tickets have already been sold and Kantrowitz anticipates selling out completely, so get them while they’re hot.



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