After a rejuvenating sleep involving severe burger and beer digestion, we left Nolita on foot. Heading up to Greenwich Village via the little side streets and the verdant green Washington Square, we ate a delicious bagel from Murray’s, loaded with a mixture of toasted seeds on its outer crust, it was filled to the brim with cream cheese, tomato, lettuce and avocado 🥑.
Our stomachs full, and the temperature rising, and time on our side, we walked north following glimpses of the Empire State Building.
After passing the little shops of 5th Avenue and crossing the increasing number of streets, we reached the Flatiron Building, an impressive architectural feat aptly named for its shape.
Some distance from our temporary home near Little Italy, we finally reached our destination out front of the Bank Of AmericanTowers, where we met or tour guide for the afternoon, the George Clooney of New York’s food scene - Brian Hoffman. Let us just begin by saying thanks to a group of Kate’s friends for their gift voucher - it, was, amazing...!
Brian’s an old hand at the tours, having conducted them for more than a decade.
He appreciated the inquiring questions from the predominately Australian crowd!
A few notes from the tour:
- ‘Gentleman’s agreements’ are in place over getting a spot on the street for the busy Monday - Friday trading period.
- Every night, the small carts must be removed and taken to a holding place where by law they are to be cleaned and restocked. No food can be reused like in restaurants.
- The stipulations that surround the successful operation of a good cart are governed by 7 different laws - it’s all very confusing. Clean and store every night
- There are only 4100 permits available, which equates to that many on ground. Thi hasn’t changed since the system was established in 1983.
- there is a 10-20 years waiting list for a permit, and a lottery exists just to get on that list! People put these permits given their value into their wills.
- Interestingly, many original permit owners now offer a subleasing system (kinda black market), and so many are newer operators.
- You can rent a permit to others for two years - $25000 for the two year permit.
- The food carts are a key supporter of the migrant population, offering valid employment opportunities.
- Key message of the tour - hot dogs and pretzels are for tourist suckers and should never be bought on a cart. However, every cart regardless of its focus will typically stock both due to demand.
Our evening was spent at Yankee Stadium - Yankees beat the Blue Jays 4-0. The atmosphere was electric, and Anthony’s pretty ecstatic about the ‘souvenir’ plastic cups. Saving the world of waste.
TOP 3 Highlights of the day:
1. Digging into a Bangladeshi biryani from one of the food carts.
2. Having a few quiet moments on the stoop of the New York state library after our long walk from Lolita.
3. Home run hit by the Yankees (and BONUS - seeing a gorgeous little Latino 2 year old with a whopping fro, NY jersey on, and a giggle that’d melt your heart as he was assisted down a flight of stairs).Read more