Ah, the humble New York City hot dog cart. There it stands, its water tanks full of hot dogs sloshing around, staying warm until the moment some hungry passerby is in need of $2 sustenance. But those street meat carts are an eyesore to one park’s conservancy group it seems, which is pushing two hot dog vendors out while allowing other more upscale offerings to stay.
According to the New York Post, the hot dog vendors have until the end of December to leave their spots in Washington Square Park, which often has floods of New York University students searching for cheap, fast food.
But Mario Batali’s Otto Enoteca Pizzeria Gelato Cart? That gets to stay, along with a vendor selling Indian crepes and a new deal with a fancy ice cream sandwich vendor. Batali, it turns out, is on the board of a private conservancy which is working with the Parks Department.
“I will miss this spot,” said the 35 year-old immigrant from Bangladesh who currently mans his hot dog cart in the park. “If I move outside the park, I’ll make hundreds less [a week]. It affects my business.”
One memo reportedly shows the celebrities on the Parks Department to move the hot dog carts last year from one side to the other, which was a sign to some that eventually the dogs would go forever.
The conservancy then asked the park administrator to “follow up on moving the hot-dog guy away from the Arch view corridor” and to push for “new and different food vendors.”
That administrator also serves as the conservancy’s executive director, and it appears she doesn’t like hot dogs because the carts are getting the boot.
“We got some word from our neighbors that [the hot-dog vendors] were unsightly,” said the conservancy’s president. “We suggested moving them based on what other people were telling us. The fact that it was done was Parks’ decision.”
A spokesman added that the agency is allowing contracts with the hot-dog stands to expire to “ensure clear views of the fountain and arch and . . . to bring in a more diverse selection of food options.”
Washington Square Park banning hot-dog vendors [New York Post]