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Trainspotter

Hot dog carts hurt by public's efforts to save

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It’s a dog-eat-dog world for Brooklyn’s top hot dog sellers these days.

 

The sinking economy has taken a big bite out of the borough’s top-grossing hot dog carts — which are now struggling to lure enough customers to pay their sky-high rents.

 

Vendor Timothaos Ayad, who pays the borough’s top-dog price of $48,000 a year in rent to the city to set up his cart outside Brooklyn Supreme Court, said business is down nearly 50% since August.

 

“I hope I will break even,” said Ayad, 46, a father of three, who has had the pricey contract for more than two years.

 

Ayad, who peddles $1.75 hot dogs and $5 gyros to the throngs of court workers, jurors and others passing through the bustling downtown Brooklyn spot, said he has been hurt by the fact that so many people now bring their lunches from home as a way to save money.

 

“In the morning, I see everybody coming by with their bag of lunch,” he said, adding he has decided to throw in the towel and not bid on the spot when it is up again at the end of the year.

 

“The job is too tiring and the economy is bad, so it’s not worth it anymore,” he said, adding he has to finish out his contract or lose his hefty deposit.

 

Outside Ayad’s cart, mom Jenny Guerra, 35, wouldn’t let her son Houston, 10, stop for a $1.75 pretzel because the family is tightening its belt after her husband’s retail employer stopped giving bonuses.

 

“My husband is packing his lunch and I’m packing snacks for the kids,” said Guerra, who tried to offer Houston crackers instead.

 

“I feel bad he still has to pay the same rent,” she said of Ayad. “But not bad enough,” she added.

In Prospect Park, where some of the next-biggest rents are located, times are also tough.

 

Tarek Elhashash, who pays $27,000 to operate a cart at the busy Ninth St. entrance in Park Slope, and another $20,250 to work the Ninth St. ballfields, is bracing for an even worse summer than last year.

 

“It’s hurting us very much,” said Elhashash, 32, whose business last year was already down 30% from the year before.

 

“The same customer who used to come to me and spend $10 on two hot dogs and two drinks and an ice cream, now they get one ice cream and they split it.”

 

Elhashash said he has also been hurt by brown-baggers.

 

“Now, people come to the park with their cooler and their own stuff,” he said. “Everybody is trying to save money.”

 

Still, Elhashash said there could be a silver lining to the bad economy, if streams of people cancel vacations this summer and instead head to the park for fun.

 

“I hope so,” he said. “Maybe then, it’ll be a good year.”

 

BY Elizabeth Hays

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

April 21st 2009

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I'm trying to do my part to support the economy, in NY and NJ and PA and wherever else i can, but i can only do so much with my limited funds.

 

- A

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i always found it to be a better deal to buy my own hot dogs and grill em at home. The prices at the carts for them were always a bit outlandish in my opinion. But I love the $5 chicken on rice with a soda.

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i always found it to be a better deal to buy my own hot dogs and grill em at home. The prices at the carts for them were always a bit outlandish in my opinion. But I love the $5 chicken on rice with a soda.

 

Just like at a ballpark you got the option of bringing in food, but if you're just in need of a bit to eat that fills you and on the go, the food stands are perfect. I just don't carry cash with me unless i need to pay a bill with it. I've been wanting some bbq chicken and roasted nuts for the longest time, in th middle of winter you go out at like 3 am and you got that amazing smell going on. Not fair! :)

 

- A

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Exactly. I support these guys by buying from them and not from Starf***s or those pretentious delis like "Cafe Metro" "Cafe Europa" "Pax" "Pret a Manger" that I am seeing everywhere. Their overpriced sandwiches can go to hell, I'll buy from the "local yokels" any day of the week, even if it costs a little bit more than I might like :)

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Just like at a ballpark you got the option of bringing in food, but if you're just in need of a bit to eat that fills you and on the go, the food stands are perfect. I just don't carry cash with me unless i need to pay a bill with it. I've been wanting some bbq chicken and roasted nuts for the longest time, in th middle of winter you go out at like 3 am and you got that amazing smell going on. Not fair! :)

 

- A

 

I hear ya....they get my business on occasion...i just dont tend to buy food that i can make much better at home. Meaning I haven't bought a hot dog at a hot dog stand since i was 15. Tend to buy their chicken and rice stuff.

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This thread is making me hungry for hotdogs..

 

Indeed. Nice big plump franks with a firm roll and some toppings.

 

Coney island caviar! :cool: :tup: (D)(F)(N)(Q).

(N)(A)(T)(H)(A)(N):septa: :eek::P:)

 

 

- A

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I would love to support the local street meat, but every time I eat it I feel extremely sick the next day. I don't know why they just can't serve hot dogs, gyros, and chicken and rice in an indoor, slightly more sanitary restaurant.

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I would love to support the local street meat, but every time I eat it I feel extremely sick the next day. I don't know why they just can't serve hot dogs, gyros, and chicken and rice in an indoor, slightly more sanitary restaurant.

 

It's probably why you get sick. Eat more street meat and you'll see how you won't be getting sick no more.

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I would love to support the local street meat, but every time I eat it I feel extremely sick the next day. I don't know why they just can't serve hot dogs, gyros, and chicken and rice in an indoor, slightly more sanitary restaurant.

It depends per person. Some people, after eating the food once, won't feel anything. I had qualms when I first bought halal food from a truck near Wall Street. But the aroma overrode my fear.

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Street vendors don't wash their hands

The thing is though, while those guys don't wash their hands, the people inside the restaurants cooking aren't clean either. I've heard cases of gastroenteritis illness due to restaurant cooks "dropping a few friends into the lake" and not washing their hands and then proceeding to cook the food. Wasn't "Typhoid Mary" an example of this?

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It depends per person. Some people, after eating the food once, won't feel anything. I had qualms when I first bought halal food from a truck near Wall Street. But the aroma overrode my fear.

 

its kinda like how i can eat white castles...i used to be able to eat no more than 4 lol now i can kill quite a few and be fine...

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I prefer to buy hot dogs and buns and make them at home. $2 for a dog is a bit overpriced IMO, whereas $7 for 10 hot dogs and 8 buns is a much better deal. Still, you gotta feel for those hot dog stands. Must be a b!tch to get by in that economy...(sorry, but with all the bad dog puns...)

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its kinda like how i can eat white castles...i used to be able to eat no more than 4 lol now i can kill quite a few and be fine...

 

The only time I really felt ill from fast food was when I had the macaroni and cheese at KFC. It's not even real cheese.

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