Sean Basinski, a lawyer and director of the Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center, took questions on the Times‘ City Room blog about the dog-eat-dog world of street vending. Readers wanted to know everything from, “What are the safety regulations of vendors? Often they appear to urinate without washing their hands — some into their own carts? Is that the etiology of the ‘dirty water hot dog’?” to “How come vendors are allowed to set up right by delis and restaurants which have to pay rent, insurance, carting and all the ‘fun’ that goes along with setting up a business?”
In response to “I just wish all the South Asian and Middle Eastern immigrants selling lousy hot dogs were selling food from their own countries,” Basinski replied:
“It is possible to get great Asian and Middle Eastern food on the streets of New York City if you look hard enough… Incidentally, our organization is now offering a quarterly Street Food Vending 101 class to help teach aspiring street chefs about the business. We hope it will encourage more diverse street eats.”
Street Food Vending 101? One wonders if there might be a self-defense component to the curriculum.