NY City's worst outdoor food carts found via Freedom of Information Act
In just four months, sidewalk slinger Bulent Isci earned 16 violations, making him the city's vilest vendor, according to records obtained by The Post through a Freedom of Information Law request.
Isci manhandled food on the southeast corner of West 41st Street and Seventh Avenue, instead of using a utensil, and failed to wash his hands "after visiting the toilet, coughing, sneezing, smoking [or] preparing raw foods," records show. After his first inspection in January, he failed to clean up and was cited during three more inspections in March and April.
Mubarak Ahmed broke the health code 14 times in a two-month span at his stand on West 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue, according to records. His offenses included inadequate personal cleanliness and the absence of a required sink for hand-washing.
When a Post reporter stopped by Ahmed's stand Friday, he was scarfing down lunch -- a rice-and-meat dish from a neighboring vendor -- and tore an orange open with dirt-caked fingernails before serving a customer.
He told The Post that he was not aware of any violations. He pulled baby wipes out of a plastic bag as proof that he cleans his hands.
"I got every f--king thing," he yelled.
Nur Ahammed, who usually vends in front of 56-17 56th Drive in Maspeth, Queens, was slapped this year with 14 violations for using dirty washcloths, re-serving unprotected food and serving patrons "food from unapproved or unknown source, spoiled, adulterated or home-canned."
If vendors were treated the same way as the city's restaurants are in the Health Department's grading system, Ahammed's 10 violations during a single March inspection would have earned him 33 to 53 inspection points and a C grade, the lowest possible.
And the seven city vendors who were found to have live vermin or animals scurrying in their food-preparation or storage areas -- four in Queens, two in The Bronx and one in Manhattan -- could have failed.
But the agency has no immediate plans to stick "scarlet letters" on food carts.
A spokeswoman said there were no immediate plans to post the mobile food vendors' misdeeds online either.
City Councilman Daniel Garodnick (D-Manhattan) has been calling for a letter-grading system for food vendors since last year.
"If restaurants have to bear this burden, why shouldn't vendors selling food right on the street?" he said. "People should know that the food they're eating is safe, free of vermin and bugs, and that the seller is keeping a clean environment."
Street grime: The top offenders
Bulent Isci, 41st St. and Seventh Ave. 16 violations, including keeping foods at the incorrect temperature and leaving grub unprotected from contamination.
Mubarak Ahmed, 23rd St. and Sixth Ave. 14 violations, including bad personal hygiene and hazardous cart conditions.
Mohammed El Hiba, Liberty St. and Broadway 14 violations, including bad personal hygiene and cooking foods below minimum required temperatures.
Nur Ahammed, 56-17 56th Drive, Maspeth, Queens 14 violations, including improperly using pesticides and sleeping with his food cart.
Bulbul Ahmed, 39th St. and Seventh Ave. 12 violations, including keeping cold food above 41 degrees and using improperly maintained equipment."
- 7/17/11, "Worst of the wurst," "NYC's dirtiest 'alfresco' food cart vendors," NY Post, Candice M. Giove. photo NY Post, Seidman
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