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Every weekday, in broad daylight, a tahini-splattered falafel war is waged in Liberty Plaza Park, Wall Street’s great outdoors lunchroom. To the west, weighing in at eleven falafel balls, alongside hummus, baba ghannouj, fried eggplant strips, a stodgy grape leaf, and a cold pita, is the $5 platter at Sam’s, one of the beloved Liberty Plaza carts that was displaced after 9/11 and greeted joyfully by regulars upon its eventual return. Five yards to the east, weighing in at a belly-busting thirteen balls, is the similarly stocked platter of its arch-rival Alan’s, a cart with virtually identical signage and product. But as the constantly shifting lines at each pushcart demonstrate, there are enough famished tourists and office workers to go around. A falafel face-off determined that besides being more generous with its balls, Alan’s excelled in texture (perceptibly crisper and a tad lighter) and flavor. It could have been just that particular batch, and we might have been swayed by sheer volume, but all’s fair in love and lunch-cart war.
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