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The fight for Fifth Avenue

Halal cart moves back to old digs

The Brooklyn Paper
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The occupation of Fifth Avenue has ended.

The Save Our Streets campaign, an alliance of local business owners who displaced a popular gyro seller by setting up tables on Fifth Avenue, where they distributed literature protesting food wagons for the last two days, gave up its protest at 5 am on Wednesday, following a heated May Day.

Save Our Streets members, led by Lone Star Bar owner Tony Gentile, set up their tables at 7 am on Monday, preventing the Middle Eastern Halal Cart from opening at a prime spot near 86th Street.

But the campaign ultimately failed: Middle Eastern Halal Cart manager Sammy Kassen — who promised to circle his cart around the block until the Save Our Streets removed their tables — put his wagon further down Fifth Avenue toward 87th Street at 2 pm on Tuesday, rolling past the Save Our Streets table as well as a pair of benches that were mysteriously placed in the Middle Eastern Halal Cart’s old location on March 22.

Cart workers posted a message on its Facebook page, urging its 557 online fans to seek them out and support the food cart.

Carlo Salzarulo, who runs the A&S Pork Store on Fifth Avenue, said Middle Eastern Halal Cart workers shouted at the Save Our Streets members as they rolled by.

“The boys from the halal cart were yelling at the guys at the table, something like ‘I’m an American too,’ ” Salzarulo said.

But Kassen said Save Our Streets members were the ones acting up — and tried to stop them from opening further down the block by calling the police.

“We were trying to be the better person, trying to keep the peace,” Kassen said, adding that he had to wait for several hours before the police would allow them to start serving food. “They were one getting rowdy. They kept telling us, ‘You can’t open here, you can’t open here.’ ”

Kassen stayed with the cart until 11 pm, when his team was finally given permission to open up.

Once the Save Our Streets tables were down, Kassen moved his cart back to his favorite spot. The benches that began the food cart war, however, remain.

Gentile felt he and his team accomplished their goal of highlighting what they consider unequal treatment of food carts by the city. Food vendors only have to pay the city $200 for a two-year permit, while traditional businesses pay thousands in monthly rent, Gentile claimed.

“We made our point and it was time for us to pack out,” Gentile said. “If there’s no reform, or signs of reform in the law in 30 days, we will be back.”

But Bay Ridge residents not affiliated with Save Our Streets have begun their own movement — calling for peace on Fifth Avenue.

“I love this restaurant and I love that restaurant,” said Slavik Cucosh, pointing at both the Lone Star bar and Middle Eastern Halal Cart. “They should sit down like men and square it out. No more of the bulls--- we saw yesterday.”

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at (718) 260–4507 or e-mail him at wbredderman@cnglocal.com.
Updated 5:32 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

WW from Bay Ridge says:
These carts have everything!

Except the kitchen sink!!
May 3, 2012, 7:48 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Maybe this has started to teach Mr. Gentile that working on the street isn't easy or pleasant. Understanding what working out there is like might calm him down.
May 3, 2012, 8:55 am
Crawford from Bay Ridge says:
How can we, as a community, support the carts? We need to send a message to idiots like the bar owners that they have no support.
May 3, 2012, 9:12 am
o3 from wburg says:
what proof can these brick-n-morter owners provide which shows a decrease in their businesses corresponding to food truck activity? without that, its all words in the wind
May 3, 2012, 9:47 am
Ridge123 from Bay Ridge says:
Do you mean to tell me, you have no problem eating off a filthy cart? Do you think these people are clean? Are you nuts?? Bay Ridge was once a beautiful area and CLEAN. Its become the pits these days and this just adds to it. Give me a break. The deli owners and restaurant and bar owners have every right to defend themselves. These are people who have been in the community for decades then this happens. Will you be happy when every thing closes up in Bay Ridge and all you have left is Halal Meats ! Good grief!
May 3, 2012, 10 am
Bay Ridger from Bay Ridge says:
Well, this has been the story of the week, for sure. I'm glad that peace has been restored. Seems to me that the merchants were lucky they weren't arrested. And I hope that the Lone Star owner cleans his beer hoses so it doesn't taste like rust. I LOL'd yesterday when I read that one.
May 3, 2012, 10:05 am
to the ignorant from bay ridge says:
you all want to condem the bar owner for loving his neighborhood what a shame when you speak ill of someone try putting yourself in there position first then speak. But wait first you need to have a little bit of inteligence and most people on this board are missing that but there is alot of hate isee. bay ridge was a beautifull place at one time. not anymore that is for shure.i have not seen a man with so much courage to stand up for what he believed in since i came back from the war fighting for my country and what i believed in back in the 60s.you all want to trash him instead you should kiss his ass. he is the reason immigrants have the freedoms in america that they have because he is what america is about.
May 3, 2012, 11:07 am
Ed from BR says:
To "to the ignorant" -- nice try at glorifying this with comments about courage, beliefs and freedoms, but this is a turf war about money. Get real.
May 3, 2012, 11:37 am
Ridge123 from Bay Ridge says:
To "to the ignorant" , growing up my block went from German/Irish to Greek and guess what? the Greeks were not opening up sidewalk carts, they opened up legitimate restaurants and clean ones. They created jobs and established themselves. I am all for immigration but this is filthy what they are doing. You go ahead and eat the food from the halal. I am sure they love all the individuals in the Bay Ridge neighborhood. I am certain they are looking out the health of everyone first. Good luck.
May 3, 2012, 11:57 am
Ed from BR says:
To Ridge123 who said "Will you be happy when every thing closes up in Bay Ridge and all you have left is Halal Meats ! Good grief!" -- oh right, these two carts will shut down every bar and restaurant in the area and in all B.R. Not trying for xenophobic scare tactics or anything are ya?

Those carts dont sell what anyone around there sells. Sammys cart is on corner of a grungy block with places I wouldnt eat at anyway and that dont have the greatest inspections, but maybe youre fighting for mom n pops like Burger King, 5 Guys, Popeyes Chicken, Starbucks and Mickey Ds.
May 3, 2012, 12:10 pm
Ridge123 from Bay Ridge says:
Hey Ed - that wasnt my point. But I will hand it to you, you have a valid point. Burger King, Popeyes, etc. It's all garbage. While writing I was thinking of the mom and pop shops that did close already, the bakeries that were there for years , gone. Its just sad that bay ridge looks like what it does. Very different from when I grew up.
May 3, 2012, 12:20 pm
Ed from BR says:
Ridge123, noplace looks like it did when anyone grew up unless maybe, you grew up in a permanently ruined 3d World country or were a national park raccoon. The past always looks prettier too. Bet that if B. Ridge suddenly changed into the real exact B. Ridge from decades ago many people would say 'what a dump!' because they forgot about good changes since.

Its also screwy for mom n pops to claim that two gyro carts are the big threat when theyre surrounded by fast food or chain places that directly compete with mom n pops.
May 3, 2012, 1:26 pm
Malembi from BK says:
What a bunch of ass holes
May 3, 2012, 3:30 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
far whites guys - zip
brown guys who are perfectly legal - 1
..
have to wonder if white fat male euro's lawyers told them to chill?
May 3, 2012, 8:28 pm
Crawford from Bay Ridge says:
I personally think that Bay Ridge now is nicer than 20-30 years ago. I remember much dumpier streets and more crime and general rowdiness. Bay Ridge has gotten cleaner, nicer and more desirable. Higher prices, too, though.

And frankly, most of the newcomers seem pretty upwardly mobile. If anything, they're "bringing up" the neighborhood, not bringing it down. The oldtimers need to step up their game, and stop complaining about competition, especially when there's no evidence of wrongdoing.
May 3, 2012, 9:38 pm
Captain Jack from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn says:
You uninformed clowns want to talk about fights? In the past year there have been at least 4 people jumped as a result of crowds congregating on the sidewalk by that crap stand. The things stink up the entire intersection, clog pedestrian traffic. And here's a little more info for everyone who things they know everything:

1) Food carts are subject to obeying several parking rules and regulations that vehicles are to obey, such as bus stops, fire hydrants and no standing zones. Yes, that applies even with them being on the sidewalk. 86th and 5th across from Pizza Wagon is a No Standing.

2) food carts must be at least 15 from a crosswalk, to avoid clogged intersections. That food cart is not 15 feet from that crosswalk.

3) Food carts are to leave a certain amount of space on the sidewalk from the cart to the storefront or wall. I am not sure of this amount, but I believe it to be 12 feet. I won't say that is 100% correct. But if it's the case, I don't believe that there is 12 feet from the Citibank to the cart.

So everyone who wants to be ignorant and say these carts have a legal right to be there, you're wrong. That one cart alone is in violation of at least 2, maybe 3 administrative laws. And the one accross the street is breaking 1 rule. The 68 precinct has done nothing about this because they are useless as a whole, filled with a bunch of cops who couldn't find a collar on their own shirts, let alone on the street. So I wouldn't expect them to know these rules either.

Lonestar has no problems that any other bar in this neighborhood has. You guys are just mad at them because they're fighting the good fight against the people who sell you grilled dog meat for 5 dollars. No one comes on here to complain about the Monk or Kettle or Salty. Anyone here has been to these places, then you know they're all the same bar, different names.

P.S. The operators of these carts keep their meet in a van in the municipal parking lot. Not one of those refrigerated trucks, either. A regular van. This so happens to be the same can they use as a toilet. Don't believe me? Follow them one day, see for yourselves.
May 3, 2012, 9:43 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
Captain Jack - so why is your issue not with enforcement or are you tweedle dee or tweedle dum 0 and i have been i that rat hole to meet an in law and would only take somethin i saw poured and after seeing all of this may call sla to check in - i will call sla and and have thenm inspect - bois - dont keep $ on the bar as when sla shuts you down thati belongs to them if it is on the bar. would never eat the food - why dont you and sammy put your books up to irs and ins examination _ hmmmm buck bck bck - chicken shoot knuckle dragging white euro male (well maybe not on shore road after hours)
May 3, 2012, 10:37 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
Captain Jack - so why is your issue not with enforcement or are you tweedle dee or tweedle dum 0 and i have been i that rat hole to meet an in law and would only take somethin i saw poured and after seeing all of this may call sla to check in - i will call sla and and have thenm inspect - bois - dont keep $ on the bar as when sla shuts you down thati belongs to them if it is on the bar. would never eat the food - why dont you and sammy put your books up to irs and ins examination _ hmmmm buck bck bck - chicken shoot knuckle dragging white euro male (well maybe not on shore road after hours)
May 3, 2012, 10:37 pm
Amused from Bay Ridge says:
Above is continued spin from a businessowner who thinks that smearing and yapping about "dog meat" makes the cause look good and that it's cool to bully some guy if you want gov't's attention. Plus you guys have named and backburnered so many objections that it does smell like bullying. You should've thought this all out before you made yourselves look bad, but you didn't.
May 3, 2012, 11:16 pm
WW from Bay Ridge says:
Dog meat? I don't think they have dog meat on these carts.

Nothing wrong with eating dog meat - the President did.

You know what they told him - "Don't play with your food."
May 4, 2012, 7:06 am
Sal Monella from Bay Ridge says:
I bet that the dog meat the President ate was at least refrigerated, unlike what Sammy is serving up with his unwashed hands.
May 4, 2012, 7:29 am
Sammy from Food Cart says:
Death to America!
Eat Shiiiit! Like the hot poo in my yummy food! That's right, I'm servin' up hot portions of halal poo.
May 4, 2012, 10:39 am
CartFan from Bay Ridge says:
Ed is right -- the cart is actually one of the few "small business" places left in Bay Ridge. The fact that it's held up against the likes of Five Guys and McDonalds is testament to its staying power. We should be supporting them, not creating false conflicts. And honestly, if Lone Star is so worried about the cart stealing their business, maybe they could try improving their menu. As though anyone goes to Lone Star for the food anyway.
May 4, 2012, 1:58 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Even if that cart wasn't there, it wouldn't change anything for the owner of Lone Star. He only has himself to blame for his bad business. Enough with the scapegoating of the carts just to hide what skeletons he has in his own closet. Also, he doesn't do well with the neighborhood, so if he wants the respect, he has to earn it, not demand it. Nevertheless, if any of you really do support Lone Star, I am surprised that many of you probably don't go there on a regular basis. Let's not forget that Lone Star does go on record for breaking many health codes and even other regulations in the neighborhood, while the cart guys do absolutely none of that.
May 4, 2012, 2:57 pm
Ahab from Bay Rij says:
Woo hoo!!

I'll make a cart run tonight. And I will never eat at BK Bagels or Lone Star again.
May 4, 2012, 3:13 pm
Bethany from Bay Ridge says:
@cartfan - isn't almost every storefront on 5th and 3rd avenue a small business? Bakeries, produce shops, cafes, bars and restaurants...
Bay Ridge is over-flowing with lovely small businesses.
Unlike this eyesore.
May 4, 2012, 3:32 pm
Howler from Bay Ridge says:
Bethany .. the restaurants between sammy's cart and 88th street are not 'lovely' !
May 4, 2012, 5:46 pm
Bethany from Bay Ridge says:
I personally love Hinsch's , the pizza wagon, 86 Noodles and the greek place on 86 th and 4th. That's just In a one block Of 86 th and fifth.
On third there are delicious restaurants the whole way.
You may enjoy this cart, but it would be facetious to claim that there wasn't already a great number Of restaurants (Of all sorts) right near it.
May 5, 2012, 5:43 am
Jack from Bensonhurst says:
I've eaten from this cart - I had never gotten as sick from a 'meal' in my life. I am convinced that he has no hygiene standards what-so-ever.
His menu is also entirely unimaginative and greasy.
May 5, 2012, 8:44 am
Old time brooklyn from Slope says:
Jack - how do you know it's greasy? How many times did you eat from the cart and what had you been doing eating or drinking before you acute illness - i have sent back food at a few brick and moter places you all defend like western civilization as it was raw - - but of course no documentation for your illness - typical bay ridge dumber than thou white boy - mazel tov -
May 5, 2012, 1:05 pm
Jack from Bensonhurst says:
@old time,
Thanks for your jewish greeting.
I'm not from Bay Ridge, I'm from Bensonhurst.
I know that what I ate was greasy and I got terribly ill that day. I know that isn't compelling evidence, but I believe it was due poor hygiene at this cart. As neither Of us live In Bay Ridge, maybe it's too easy for us to comment. I didn't appreciate any Of the assumptions or personal comments In your post. In my eyes, what you wrote was disproportionatly nasty.
May 5, 2012, 1:13 pm
Howler from Bay Ridge says:
To Bethany: Fourth Ave is not right near those carts, Third is far farther and some of us don't have leisure to go out of our way and then back to Fifth depending on schedule and reason for being there in the first place. There also is a limit to how much pizza, Chinese and coffee shop food and bagels I can stand. Others feel differently and no one is forced to eat cart food or prevented from eatlng kung pao chicken. I regularly have patronized many neighborhood restaurants but am among those who will no longer patronize the restaurants behind this debacle.

For the record I have never become ill from this cart's food. In fact my only lifetime food sickness episodes followed visits to three higher-end sit-down restaurants.

May 5, 2012, 2:35 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Jack, I don't care if that halal cart guy doesn't have very good hygiene or not. As long as the food he gives me isn't dirty, made bad, expired, sneezed on, or fell on the floor, I couldn't care less. I may not have eaten anything from this guy, but I have from many other carts throughout the city, though mostly in Manhattan, and I never found the food to be bad and this is despite how sloppy their appearance was. Still, that vendor should have been given just compensation according to the 5th amendment of the US Constitution and a new spot for losing the one he had due to those benches, which will probably be used by the homeless during the night.
May 5, 2012, 4:26 pm
James from Bensonhurst says:
James thinks that if these individuals were not muslim it would not be an issue. James thinks that if this was an italian guy selling hotdogs, or a greek man selling prezels it would be not a problem. The fact that these old school italians and greeks see arab americans on their " turf " , it makes them un easy. By the way james isnt arab, hes italian and believes in equality. Its 2012 people, wake the F up and grow the F up. let these guys sell their food. James always sees a line, let the people make their money. James ate from the cart once, and had gas for 15 hours. james doesnt care for halal chicken with rice with white sauce, so james goes to nice resturants. WAKE UP BAYRIDGE. WHAT THEY EAT DOESNT MAKE YOU ——! this is america, LAND OF THE FREE.
May 5, 2012, 7:35 pm
James from Bensonhurst says:
James thinks that if these individuals were not muslim it would not be an issue. James thinks that if this was an italian guy selling hotdogs, or a greek man selling pretzels it would be not a problem. The fact that these old school italians and greeks see arab americans on their " turf " , it makes them un easy. By the way james isnt arab, hes italian and believes in equality. Its 2012 people, wake the F up and grow the F up. let these guys sell their food. James always sees a line, let the people make their money. James ate from the cart once, and had gas for 15 hours. james doesn't care for halal chicken with rice with white sauce, so james goes to nice restaurants. WAKE UP BAYRIDGE. WHAT THEY EAT DOESNT MAKE YOU ——! this is america, LAND OF THE FREE.
May 5, 2012, 7:36 pm
James from Bensonhurst says:
James thinks that if these individuals were not muslim it would not be an issue. James thinks that if this was an italian guy selling hotdogs, or a greek man selling pretzels it would be not a problem. The fact that these old school italians and greeks see arab americans on their " turf " , it makes them un easy. By the way james isnt arab, hes italian and believes in equality. Its 2012 people, wake the F up and grow the F up. let these guys sell their food. James always sees a line, let the people make their money. James ate from the cart once, and had gas for 15 hours. james doesn't care for halal chicken with rice with white sauce, so james goes to nice restaurants. WAKE UP BAYRIDGE. WHAT THEY EAT DOESNT MAKE YOU ——! this is america, LAND OF THE FREE.
May 5, 2012, 7:36 pm
James from Bensonhurst says:
James thinks that if these individuals were not muslim it would not be an issue. James thinks that if this was an italian guy selling hotdogs, or a greek man selling pretzels it would be not a problem. The fact that these old school italians and greeks see arab americans on their " turf " , it makes them un easy. By the way james isnt arab, hes italian and believes in equality. Its 2012 people, wake the F up and grow the F up. let these guys sell their food. James always sees a line, let the people make their money. James ate from the cart once, and had gas for 15 hours. james doesn't care for halal chicken with rice with white sauce, so james goes to nice restaurants. WAKE UP BAYRIDGE. WHAT THEY EAT DOESNT MAKE YOU S***! this is america, LAND OF THE FREE.
May 5, 2012, 7:36 pm
James from Bensonhurst says:
James thinks that if these individuals were not muslim it would not be an issue. James thinks that if this was an italian guy selling hotdogs, or a greek man selling pretzels it would be not a problem. The fact that these old school italians and greeks see arab americans on their " turf " , it makes them un easy. By the way james isnt arab, hes italian and believes in equality. Its 2012 people, wake the F up and grow the F up. let these guys sell their food. James always sees a line, let the people make their money. James ate from the cart once, and had gas for 15 hours. james doesn't care for halal chicken with rice with white sauce, so james goes to nice restaurants. WAKE UP BAYRIDGE. WHAT THEY EAT DOESNT MAKE YOU S***! this is america, LAND OF THE FREE.
May 5, 2012, 7:36 pm
James from Bensonhurst says:
James thinks that if these individuals were not muslim it would not be an issue. James thinks that if this was an italian guy selling hotdogs, or a greek man selling pretzels it would be not a problem. The fact that these old school italians and greeks see arab americans on their " turf " , it makes them un easy. By the way james isnt arab, hes italian and believes in equality. Its 2012 people, wake the F up and grow the F up. let these guys sell their food. James always sees a line, let the people make their money. James ate from the cart once, and had gas for 15 hours. james doesn't care for halal chicken with rice with white sauce, so james goes to nice restaurants. WAKE UP BAYRIDGE. WHAT THEY EAT DOESNT MAKE YOU S***! this is america, LAND OF THE FREE.
May 5, 2012, 7:37 pm
Linda from Women's Rights Coucil says:
James -you only feel free to say that because he's a man. If a woman tried to do the same you'd be calling her a b*tch right now. Typical men, using their 'carts' as penis extenders.
The more apt question is why you and Sammy feel so inadequately equipped as men, that you have to penis-extend yourselves at the expense of women.
May 6, 2012, 4:58 am
lbj from Bay Ridge says:
I am sure our local Republican Party politicians applaud this All American Entrepreneurship. After all, they are not some European style union/socialist organization. This is shrinking big government. Soon, with their policies we can all sell apples and pencils on the corner.
May 6, 2012, 9:05 pm
James from Bay Ridge says:
EvRegardless of why this whole issue was brought to light, the issue of "The Carts" is significant. If these traveling fast-food restaurants are allowed to feed the public they should be brought up to code. Currently they do not have to satisfy food handling or safety method. I watch these men and they do not follow any health code by the wearing of proper clothing, gloves nor do they dispose of food properly. Perhaps they should also pay for sanitation and other services the legitimate restaurants pay for. A far as the racial issue the cart owner has tried to bring up, that is a red herring. I was there that day and he was the only one bring up race.
May 20, 2012, 1:21 pm
James from Bay Ridge says:
On a separate note. After this problem is resolved I think we should Save Our Streets from the NightLife like The Lone Star which brings many undesirables inth BR one the weekend nights.
May 20, 2012, 1:27 pm
Joey T from Bay Ridge says:
I agree with James. Lone Star brings in a lot of undesirables. And it's evident that the owners don't care about the neighborhood, otherwise they would not be blasting their ear-splitting tasteless music onto 5th avenue and backyard patio. Their backyard area is probably illegal, I doubt their Liquor License or the building’s CO allow that type of commercial activity in the back.
June 30, 2014, 12:36 pm
Ty from Bklyn says:
I myself have been to Lone Star and I do not care for the crowd...I tried it on different days of the week as well, so it wasn't only the weekends, so could give it a fair chance... I only went there because I wanted to sit down and be served to eat...sometimes people are in the mood for food to go and choose a hot dog cart like they have in Dyker Heights, or anywhere else..I grew up in Canarsie, from 1977, and we all didnt die from all of the dirty water hot dogs and I have eaten all over New York, all types of carts, all types of food... But the rest I will say later....As finishing for Lone Star...the food is ok...I have tried various things there...unimpressed and its garbage... their wings are not stored at the correct temperature.. when you break them open you can see the black on top of the bones....any idiot can know that is bad wings..lol...... They need a health inspection in my opinion...All over that place... when you even drink a seltzer with ice, it tastes disgusting..it's not supposed to have any taste...secondly I have been eating at that cart for the past two years...all was well...but guess what...now I got food poisoning on 12/28/16...I even saved the pics for them people as well so they can see it lol... all Halal...and all I had was oatmeal from my house all day before the Halal... NEVER again for the cart or Lone Star. Hell no... you guys want to go ahead and the cart, you can be like me and have a chance of food poisoning....or eat Loan Star, that the chicken is not stored at the right temperature and seltzer/water that tastes disgusting from uncleaned items then go right ahead..knock yourself out lol. :) who even knows what is up with the burgers that I tried also..maybe thats why I have to keep going to the bathroom everytime I walk out of Loan Star lol. In my opinion, never eating anything in Ridge ever again.
Dec. 30, 2016, 8:56 am

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