News & Politics

People Are Sleeping in NYC Food Carts


Vendors are sleeping in their New York City food carts, presumably to save spots on good blocks, the New York Post is reporting in Sunday’s paper. Or in Post-anese, “They’re sleeping with the dishes.” (Well played.) The newspaper notes spotting only two carts with sleeping vendors, both on the same block downtown, but also counted four empty carts on the street, which is also against Department of Health rules. In journalism, the joke is that three makes a trend, but for the Post, this is just going to have to do. Also in the report: Food carts maybe seem a little bit dirty.

“That’s crazy!” said one “street-food devotee.” Not too crazy, according to the vendors:

When asked about the fleabag food hotels, vendors said some employees are paid to watch the wagons in the evening, but they couldn’t explain the sleeping.

Generally, according to the paper, carts are transported at night to “a commissary” where they are washed. New York magazine’s “Essential Street-Cart Questions Answered” put the going rate for overnight storage at $250 to $300. Considering it’s hard to imagine someone sleeping in a food cart for less than that, the logic just doesn’t really add up.

As for cleanliness:

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.

Not exactly the most shocking examples of food cart malpractice, but okay. Additionally, one man told the newspaper he got food poisoning. Any real street-food fan knows the risks — though maybe not that there are “no official standards regarding the quality of the meat (or other products)” — and eats it anyway. Because they are drunk.

Street-food vendors sleeping in their carts overnight [NYP]

The Latest