Friday, July 27, 2007

Bronx Business

Jose takes care of business on a 50-foot stretch of River Avenue just outside Yankee Stadium.

“I’ve worked more than 10 years to build it up,” he says. “Everyone knows they can come to me if they need tickets. I had to fight for this spot and no one is taking it away.”

New York State is trying. There is a new law deregulating resale-ticket prices, which, at face-value, sounds like a good deal for a guy like Jose.

“No way,” he says. “It’s good for the computer geeks. Those StubHub guys made out on this, but I didn't.” is a powerful resale Web site that can now charge anything they want for tickets. The new law also prohibits the Yankees from taking action against those who resell tickets online. says they are “a solution to the street scalper.”

“Solution?” Jose laughs. “They’re the problem. I deal with people face-to-face and offer a fair deal. I sell maybe 30 or 40 tickets a game. They sell thousands. They’ve got tons of under-the-table deals to lock up tickets. Give ‘em time and they’ll have ‘em all. The Yankees sell a ticket for $17 and they turn around and rip somebody off for $60.”

The new law also says that Jose must run his business 1,500 feet from Yankee Stadium. “Yeah, right,” he says. “That just means I’ll get nabbed by the cops a few more times a year. If they can force me out it means more tickets for StubHub. The rich always get richer.”

Squeezing guys like Jose makes the Bronx poorer. “If there are tickets left in the third inning he always gives me one,” says Harry from Walton Avenue. “He’s a good guy and I’d hate to see him forced out because I wouldn’t be able to see very many games.”

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