Locals freakin’ over vegan delivery guys

BY GABE HERMAN | In recent months, police have been cracking down on groups of delivery people who congregate outside of the popular vegan restaurant by Chloe as they wait to pick delivery orders for apps like Postmates.

At the Sixth Precinct’s Build The Block meeting last month, Neighborhood Coordination Officers Brian Garcia and Annalee Simon updated locals about the situation. Basically, there have been complaints about some delivery people blocking the sidewalk, drinking and smoking outside the popular eatery on MacDougal St., near Bleecker St.

Delivery persons who work with apps like Postmates hanging out near the restaurant by Chloe on MacDougal St. this month. (Photo by Gabe Herman)

Simon said that most of the delivery people worked for Postmates. The app gets a lot of delivery orders from by Chloe, so the workers wait there for an order to come in on their phone. They can then pick up the order and bicycle away to make the delivery.

“In the past month, we’ve confiscated eight bikes on that corner and 15 total,” Garcia reported at the Feb. 20 meeting. He said that did not include summonses — he said they were issuing a lot of them — along with an increased police presence to monitor the area.

“It kind of slowed down a bit, they’re not really there anymore,” Garcia said of the delivery persons. But it was noted that the groups might reappear as the weather warms up. Sure enough, delivery groups are now starting to be seen around that corner again in March as temperatures gradually rise.

Instead of being directly in front of by Chloe, the popular vegan restaurant that opened in 2015, the groups now often gather next door in front of a vacant space that formerly housed the Japanese restaurant Okamisan.

Delivery persons waiting on MacDougal St. to pick up from by Chloe, which is popular for app-based food orders. (Photo by Gabe Herman)

Garcia said it’s not illegal for the delivery workers to stand in front of the vacant restaurant, as long as they’re not smoking, drinking or blocking pedestrian traffic.

“As long as they’re following the rules, they can stand there,” he said. “We don’t want them to, but they can.”

Simon said they reached out to the delivery companies and got positive responses from most, with Postmates being a notable exception. She said that Grubhub, Seamless, Caviar and Uber Eats all sent out letters to their delivery people saying that they must follow the laws, and that anyone not doing so would not be able to work for them.

Simon said of Postmates, “They’re being a little more difficult,” but did not elaborate.

When this newspaper reached out to Postmates, a spokesperson said the company’s Trust and Safety team was aware of the situation and working to address the problem.

Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our community, and we have zero tolerance for illegal, offensive, harassing or threatening conduct from anyone on our platform,” the Trust and Safety team said in a statement. “We have provided By Chloe with a direct escalation line to our Trust & Safety team and we are conducting further investigations to proactively detect any behavior in violation of our policies taking place on Bleecker Street.”

A local resident at the February Build The Block meeting said it might be more effective for community members to complain directly to Postmates, instead of just letting the police handle it. He said that people should tell Postmates that they won’t use their service if the problem isn’t addressed.

I mean, we have a voice in the community, as well,” the Villager said. Sometimes it’s more important for people to hear from the actual residents.”

“That would definitely help,” Simon said of the idea.

3 Responses to Locals freakin’ over vegan delivery guys

  1. I believe the seizures were of throttle type electric bikes that are outlawed in NYC, not typical pedal bikes. Those bikes were a significant part of the complaint.

  2. I'm in a weird category. I am both a home owner in the village, work in finance, and do delivery part time for exercise. To my entitled neighbors, do you have any idea how difficult delivery work is? Even though I do it, I only have a partial idea since I don't have to commute from NJ or the Bronx to deliver. And I admit, if snowing or heavy rain, I don't deliver. These people are busting their butts to SERVE YOU. And for little money. I can attest, rich people don't tip. And what serious crimes are these people doing? Talking, taking a smoke break, trying to keep warm? Oh the horror, a guy suffering the elements, putting his life on the line, so you can get your damned kale salad. All for $2-4 per trip. No wonder people hate rich people.

  3. See these delivery workers every where. On the streets and littering the sidewalks with their motorized bikes. They are careless driving these vehicles in the bike lanes as well. They run along the streets too fast to make speedy deliveries. Can we get all these fast food delivery workers to get their motorized vehicles registered with licenses and hold them responsible and accountable ? There are way too many bikers zip-zapping around dangerously without regard of rules and regulations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *