Police Shut Down ‘Rent-a-Vet’ Hot Dog Carts at Met

Simpler times (2009).

Yesterday police carted away two hot dog vendors after they refused to move their carts from two lucrative spots just outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The two vendors, Armando Crescenzi and Howard Dalton, were recently the subject of a New York Times City Room story that described how they used their military veteran status, and a 19th century loophole, to secure free operating permits while rival food carts in the same location — a pretzel cart and a cupcake cart — paid the city around $100,000 for theirs. Since their work schedule was dubious, the two men were accused of being “rent-a-vets.” The Times reporter even caught one literally napping on the job:

“’They got the cart, I got the permit: it’s a partnership,’ [Mr. Crescenzi] said. ‘I’m 50 percent of this operation, even if I show up and take a nap.’”

Mr. Crescenzi locked himself in his car yesterday to avoid being served a summons for illegally doing business in that location, the Post reports, though he and Mr. Dalton were both eventually arrested. Their carts were impounded.

Police Shut Down ‘Rent-a-Vet’ Hot Dog Carts at Met