The fight for Fifth Avenue

Halal cart moves back to old digs

Brooklyn Daily

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 this morning, 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 the city’s unequal treatment of food carts. 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.

Reader Feedback

Lone Star has got to go from Bay Ridge says:
Lone Star is the problem.

Lone Start plays music till 4AM

Lone Star bring the drunks

Lone Star has drug selling and dealing by the bathroom

Lone Star is dirty and got violations for it

Lone Star has rats and got violations for it

Lone Star has fights and rowdy people till 5Am

Lone Star is the problem
May 2, 2012, 6:15 pm
Crawford from Bay Ridge says:
Shut down Lone Star! The halal cart is a great asset to the neighborhood.
May 3, 2012, 9:32 am
sheren from bay ridge says:
i agree with the comments on top....first of all i have three kids and i do not like the bar in my neighborhood nor do i like the trash that it brings in at all hours of the night. we have to hear his music and people screaming and cursing thru-out the night. is that fair? when i bought the house it was a nice neighborhood to live in ...nowadays we have more and more drunks strolling past because of lone star.so he needs to be a man and accept there is competition and have better prices or shut up.. lastly his food is nothing like that of the halal carts food. so why be mad? if tony doesn't stop his harassment of the vendors then people should create an anti lone star campaign.
May 3, 2012, 3:51 pm
yeahok from bay ridge says:
Pretty sure there wont be any "reform" in the next 30 days. Just because Tony cant run his business (including paying and being respectful of his employees, making sure the bathrooms have adequate plumbing, changing the oil in his fryers... amongst other things) or manage his money doesnt mean the Halal cart is to blame. Take a class in finance and maybe you wont be in debt and cranky all the time. Personally i think this is a clear example of blatant racist scapegoating.
May 3, 2012, 8:02 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, 9:31 pm
Bay Ridge Boss from Bay Ridge says:
Lone Star is just pissed hes losing the major stacks to some hard working people...listen dude this country is based on capitalism....he has a better product at a better price ...Lone Star loses thats it go make a better business
May 3, 2012, 10:30 pm
Another Ridger from Bay Ridge says:
Lone Star spends too much time posting online.
May 4, 2012, 11 am
SlappySlapnuts from Bay Ridge says:
Ridger from Bay Ridge, I think you spend too much time posting online, how many ID's do you have on here? I can understand not everyone LOVES Tony and you definitely don't have to. However, he's absolutely right. I also love the jerkoffs that think there are underlying tones of racism, there's nothing racist about this. These dopes at the halal stand want to make it about that and you sheep keeping eating out of their trough. To "Lonestar has got to go"...the halal stand SHOULD have violations for vermin, not storing food at the proper temperatures but when do they EVER get inspected? Lonestar's got an A rating, what does the Halal cart have? Also, what bar doesn't have drunks in it ? You're an idiot if you don't think ANY other bar has any of this stuff. Lonestar has to go, is the one that actually has to go.
May 4, 2012, 1:33 pm
RidgeLifer from Bay Ridge says:
That cart is awesome and has the best gyros and lamb platters around. If your restaurant can't keep up, stop being a baby about it and consider, I don't know, improving your food! The reason they don't have to pay as much is that they're a small truck with no seating area. This should be obvious. Stop trying to bully that cart out of Bay Ridge and let the consumers decide where they want to eat. But oh, wait, that's *why* you're trying to bully the cart, because consumers would much rather eat their delicious food than your nasty crap. Stick to serving booze; the cart can't do that.
May 4, 2012, 2:18 pm
Another Ridger from Bay Ridge says:
I am "ANOTHER Ridger" Slappy. Okay, I looked up the Lone Star rating you mentioned. In December it got the lowest possible B rating for probs including live mice. It got the A after spiffing for followup 8 days later. Since opening it never got two A's in a row, every A was followed by lowest possible B, even a bad C.
May 5, 2012, 1:17 pm
Rock from Bay Ridge says:
In response to Captain Jacks claim, he is probably right about all those specific information about where the cart should be. Just by reading all his great extensive research about the matter I would of thought that he works for the city and gives these boys that work in a cart a permit. Or does he like writing for the love of writing, and if that's the case he has every right to that. I love to see people exercising their right to —— just like Captain America over here. You have that right and don't think for one second you not allowed to do this, you are. Unfortunately I like fact and your Republican's scare tactic should be only given to those that believe in your ——.
If these boys were illegal and they couldn't be there, then why are they still there? Because just like your right to ——, they have the right to be there. If you had any sense of smart in your brain you would've realized that the police can't do anything until the department that gives the Carts the license tell them that something is illegal. Law enforcement have no time for yours and Tony claim that these boys should not be there. If your claims were true and they were illegal, they would be gone. I really don't know the rules, and I'm not going to state this fairy tale story of what the rules should be. I believe that the police are there to uphold the law(and I think they re doing a wonderful job) not worry about your stupid claims, which again I have to mention is your right as Americans but not that facts in this case.

Thank You
May 5, 2012, 3:32 pm
Richy from NJ says:

I love you Middle Eastern Halal Cart!!
May 17, 2012, 11:29 pm

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