On one block of K Street NW yesterday it was possible to buy a complete outfit -- dress, hose, pocketbook, hat, sunglasses, umbrella, watch, earrings, necklace, bracelet -- and a suitcase to cart it all away after lunch at the hot dog stand.
Today, customers will find fewer items available on that block and in other parts of the District as new vending regulations take effect that restrict the kinds of merchandise vendors can sell and that require more costly licenses and specially designed wooden carts.
The new regulations were developed by D.C. residents and officials in response to concerns about consumer protection, safety and atmosphere. They will prohibit street sales of, among other things, machine-made apparel, appliances, luggage, mechanical toys and hazardous materials.
The D.C. police department will issue warning citations for violations during the first month, with full enforcement to follow, said Sgt. Jose Acosta, who heads the police vending unit.
"I believe that most of the vendors will comply, but they have to get acquainted with the new regulations," Acosta said. "We are expecting very little trouble today except maybe fights for the choice spots."
Yesterday, on the block of K Street between Connecticut Avenue and 18th Street NW, luggage salesman Mischa Lowlavar had sold his last 15 suitcases and had thrown away his "Going Out Of Business" sign. The 34-year-old vendor, who said he is almost legally blind, had sold his wares on the block for the past seven years.
"I have a problem with my eyes," said Lowlavar. "I can sell nothing small. I can no longer sell my luggage so I am out of business."
Geoffrey Lawrence, 39, who sells T-shirts, imported blouses and sunglasses at the corner, shook hands with Lowlavar and congratulated him on selling everything so quickly.
Lawrence had also reduced prices on his merchandise in hopes of selling everything yesterday.
"I've been selling here on this corner for eight years and now I'm out of a job," said Lawrence. "I don't have the money for the license and the cart and new merchandise. They tell me I can't sell T-shirts with Washington D.C. on them because they are souvenirs. They are big sellers for me. To stay in business I would have to buy a whole new inventory."
Mi Ok Chung, also on the block, said yesterday that she would no longer be able to sell watches or T-shirts along with her umbrellas and sunglasses.
Sgt. Acosta, however, said later that the vendors could continue selling their T-shirts, as well as the watches.
Acosta said the new rules had caused a lot of confusion, and therefore the police officers initially would issue only warning tickets. "We could conceivably issue 30 warning tickets in 30 days to the same vendor," he said. "We would ticket only on serious violations like blocking the Metro escalator."
Many customers yesterday seemed unaware of the change afoot.
Arthur Liebergott, 30, a lawyer, stopped by to look at sunglasses at Lawrence's stand.
"I buy here all the time," he said. "This gives me some alternatives. I can save on some items. Why should I pay $20 for sunglasses in a department store that I know are worth the $2 I pay on the street?"
Magdolen Karanja, 26, said that she will buy a cart to stay in business to sell hand-painted Egyptian papyrus. And so did 20-year-old Ronit Prizant, who sells cosmetics and perfume near 18th and K streets NW. But they, like other vendors, were unsure if they could open for business today without the cart.
Sgt. Acosta said that many vendors had hoped that the regulations would be overturned at the last minute.
Last week, a federal judge upheld the constitutionality of all but one of the new provisions, clearing the way for their imposition. Union officials representing some of the vendors succeeded in reducing the required bond for out-of-state vendors from $1,500 to $500.
One of the new regulations upheld in U.S. District Court states that vendors may no longer reserve a space by leaving a table or box overnight on the sidewalk.
Acosta said that it will be a first-come, first-serve basis from today and that vendors cannot open for business before 5 a.m.
Acosta said that the truck vendors around the Mall are now required to buy D.C. tags and that he would check them for compliance.
The food and ice cream vendors with pushcarts on the sidewalk already have acceptable carts, he said.
Some jobs will be lost by the new regulations.
Chipwich, the ice-cream sandwich with chocolate chip cookies and vanilla and chocolate-mint ice-cream, will no longer be sold on the city streets this summer by students, said Joseph Wozney, a company owner. The only exception is a vendor who sells his ice-cream from a kiosk outside the FBI building, which is exempt from the new rules.
"The laws are ridiculous," said Wozney. "We would have hired 15 to 25 kids over the summer to sell Chipwich but it is just not worth it to us. It is too expensive for the licenses."