Ali believes in rules. He loved Giuliani, and is in favor of a bill currently in the State Senate, opposed by many vendors groups, that would fingerprint vendors who violate regulations. Why? Ali says that an undocumented vendor stole his son's food-handling license. He digs into a drawer in his cart and takes out a handful of worn tickets—violations sent to his house, committed by whoever swiped his son's identity. It took him months to successfully fight the tickets at the Environmental Control Board. Fingerprinting? "Yes," he says. "Yes, I like fingerprinting."

It's after 2 p.m., and Ali has made about $40 so far, from a slow trickle of pedestrians, mainly tourists, stopping by for hot dogs. On a good day in June or July, he earns up to $125, but usually it's more like $50. He says he relies on loans to support his family. At 4 p.m., Ali rolls his cart over to a spot on Wall Street that he shares with a Greek woman. He hopes to make another $20 before he packs it up around 6 p.m. It's not exactly how he envisioned the American Dream.

From Bangladesh
to Liberty Plaza:
Mohammed Ali
Michael Eisenstein
From Bangladesh to Liberty Plaza: Mohammed Ali

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