Wednesday, March 16, 2011

NYC Vegan Street Vendor fights for survival

I enjoy walking up Broadway because in the pavement are plaques honoring those who were given ticker tape parades.  It makes you wonder about history when you see things like the Shah of Iran but that's another thought for another kind of blog.  I walked right by my destination of 120 and when I look up at the corner of Broadway and Liberty St. this is what I see:

It's all vegan.  Note the hand written sign, "Save the Liberty Street Vendors."
On one hand I was overjoyed to see a vegan street vendor, on the other I was disappointed because I wanted to eat at Little Lads and knew I'd have to support the vendor.  I asked about the 99% and they used to sell chicken.  They're 100% vegan now but I guess the importance of getting a new sign took second place to stopping the selling of animals.  That's an ok decision in my book.

5 bucks for 4 items?  How could you go wrong?  

I just wanted a taste so I ordered a veggie burger.  It's made of lentils and brown rice primarily and is home made.  I was just going to get the burger naked to taste it but broke down when asked about putting other things of deliciousness into the pita, including hot sauce.  (Sucker!)

One of the more colorful sandwiches I've had.  The sliver of burger is to the right.
The sandwich was delicious.  It's a hard to eat sandwich as is any sandwich with multiple textures in a pita.  As you can see it's starting to come apart.  It's filled with veggies more perfectly cooked than you'd expect from a street cart.  You can see the burger pales with all the other veggies but that's ok.  It had a nice flavor even if it was one of the more "fall apart" veggie burgers I've had.  I was charged $3.00.  If I worked downtown I'd have this every day I couldn't have a sit down lunch.

Now here's the kicker.  Of course it's the vegan guy (and a few others to be fair), getting shafted.  Apparently Brown Brothers Harriman, a privately held financial services firm offering a range on international investment and banking services, has nothing else to do to help wealthy people make more money or manage what they have.  They are trying to get the group of vendors off "their" sidewalk, according to the guys in the food cart and the petition.  BBH is saying that they own the sidewalk.  Really?  Nothing better to do BBH?  (It might not be them.  It might be the building management.  If you do nothing to help then you're part of the problem either way BBH, and it's YOUR name on the building!)

On a plaque in the plaza honoring Helmsley, a NY real estate mogul, there was something about how he helped to build the fiber of New York City.  Well, in my humble opinion, street vendors are a part of the fabric.  They cater to the working man who can't afford $100 lunches.  Leave them alone.  Here's a link where you can find more information and help.


ABE C said...

I hope you try Little Lads. At $5.00 for a self-service buffet ($5.42 w/tax- it comes with one large plate and one bowl) it is a vegan bargain.

Jenn said...

I used to pass this cart every morning, but never tried it!! I should have made more effort and walked over for lunch. I hope they get to stay.

Marty said...

Little Lads was excellent for the most part. Review coming up! Absolutely would eat there more if I worked downtown!

Jenn, the cart is still there so all is not lost. You can make a special journey just to buy one of those burgers. Or click on the link and sign the petition