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Over the weekend, a stoop sale in Park Slope that was composed of some clothes, dishes, a bike, and a floor lamp was shut down by the police. The seller, a commenter on the message board Brooklynian, said that two police officers parked their car and plainly said, "You can't do this here." They then proceeded to ask whether or not he or she had a license.
The license, in that case, most likely meant a Secondhand Dealer General License, which Gothamist reports (via the Department of Consumer Affairs) is needed by "a person or business that buys or sells secondhand articles in New York City." Exempt from that, however, are garage sales, used boat dealers, not-for-profits, and curiously, used clothing stores.
Here are a few points to consider, if we're going to have this debate: Most New Yorkers don't have a front lawn to host a garage sale, but that doesn't automatically mean the word "stoop" is a legitimate substitute. A rent-paying resident doesn't own his stoop, and perhaps this person's landlord wasn't a fan of his walkway turning into a scaled down version of Beacon's Closet. But even though they're occasionally kind of annoying to the rest of a building's tenants, stoop sales (much like sample sales) are naturally occurring phenomena that most city dwellers—particularly Brooklyn residents—have come to accept and enjoy.
Another opinion comes from one of Gothamist's commenters, who asks the question, "Why doesn't this guy use Craigslist and Ebay like everyone else?" But think about it: Do you really want to give your home address to someone who's willing to travel any sort of distance solely to pick up your old Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen VHS tapes?
· NYPD Cracks Down On Park Slope Stoop Sale [Gothamist]
· Police shut down my stoop sale! [Brooklynian]