Street-Food Vendors Sleeping in Their Carts Overnight

NYC Food Vendors Sleep Rough In Carts

Updated: Sunday, 31 Oct 2010, 10:16 AM EDT
(NewsCore) – Food vendors in NYC looking to guard their spots and avoid pricey storage fees have taken to sleeping inside their carts, with workers snoring where grilled lamb is later cooked for unsuspecting patrons, The New York Post reported Sunday.

“That’s crazy!” exclaimed Jennifer Suarez, 36, an Astoria street-food devotee. “You shouldn’t sleep where you serve food.”

The city Department of Health (DOH) requires that food vendors clear the streets after closing, and then go to a commissary where the carts are washed and stored.

But the newspaper found food wagons on trendy streets around SoHo and Union Square at all hours of the night.

At least four carts were spotted empty and abandoned, blocking the sidewalks for no apparent reason.

A worker was found hiding in a gray hoodie conked out next to the hot-dog buns and napkins in a halal food cart at West Broadway and Broome Street.

On the same block, a dozing worker was on full display in the “Little Cupcake Lover” wagon at Broadway and Houston.

When asked about sleeping in the carts, vendors said some employees are paid to watch the wagons in the evening, but they could not explain the sleeping.

Vendors were also spotted engaging in a host of icky “cleaning” rituals in the wee hours. A jolly vendor at Houston and Broadway washed his cart with water from a street valve, using the hose to fill up a coffee urn after it dripped into a dirty street grate. As for food storage, he kept boxes of doughnuts on a railing behind a subway entrance.

“These things need to be more regulated,” said Tom Morton, 30, who says he suffered food poisoning after eating lamb from a cart recently.

The city inspects the carts at least once a year and follows up on any complaints, DOH said. Reports of wagons left on the street are also pursued, the department said.

Read more: New York Post