"Working nine hours a day, food-cart vendors like Zamir take home as little as $400 to $500 for a six-day week. Many are new immigrants hoping to start new lives. During a brief lull in lunch service, Zamir, 22, told me he served as a translator for U.S. troops in Afghanistan before he was wounded and then awarded a visa to settle here. A generation ago, after a few years of hard work and saving, Zamir could have become his own boss. Sidewalk vending was long an option for immigrants eager to improve their lives. That’s no longer the case. Today’s mobile food vending business is one of day laborers and shift workers who, despite hustling all week long, may not earn minimum wage." - Inside the underground economy propping up New York City's food carts By Jeff Koyen
Food blog Edible Geography reveals the history of the New York food cart. You know, the ones that look like reverse rickshaws with big boxes full of ice cream or hot dogs up front. In a related post they cover a scandalous controversy involving cart substitutions, stolen holograms, a criminal bureaucracy, and the olde 19th century rent-a-vet licensing scam.