New York Street Vendor Battles City, Bowels

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Photo: NYP

God bless the New York Post. The paper is always defending the little guy against injustice, and never shies away from telling you the things you need to know, however gross they may be. This morning's cover features a classic of the Postian genre, the story of Shiraj Islam, a nut vendor in lower Manhattan who has found himself fighting a Davidesque battle against the Goliath of city government after the Health Department seized his permit. Now he may lose his business. What was his crime, you ask? Needing to poop. A lot.

Apparently, this past winter the Health Department cracked down on vendors who leave food carts unattended, even just to go to the bathroom. But what are they supposed to do? "Everybody has to go sometimes," Islam told the paper. Especially, according to the Post, him.


Since he was diagnosed with a tumor on his colon, the frequency of his trips to the toilet have increased.

Islam's cart is dropped off each day two blocks away from the electronics and music store on Park Row, but the veteran vendor said that on that day, as he went to haul it to its usual spot in front of the shop, he knew after walking 10 feet that he wasn't going to make it without a pit stop.

"My stomach was feeling very bad," he said. "I went into a pizza place on Fulton Street where they know me, but there was a line."

Of course, the paper probably didn't tell Islam that another surefire way to lose your food-cart business is to appear on the cover of the city's leading tabloid talking about your gastrointestinal problems.

City to street vendors: Urine big trouble [NYP via Grub Street]