Feud Between Halal Cart and Plein Sud Is Uglier Than We Knew

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Photo: NY Press

The Atlantic isnt the only one writing about the battle between mobile vendors and brick-and-mortars: Today the New York Press delves deep into the feud between Frederick Lesort and the halal cart owned by Mounir Boubane, who posted a sign calling Lesorts Plein Sud crew gangsters because he believes they triggered visits from health inspectors and undercover cops. Boubane wants his neighbors to pay the $500 to $600 in tickets hes been thwacked with; Lesort says he just wants Boubane to tone down his neon lighting (and will pay him to do so) and maybe move across the street after 6 p.m. Boubane alleges that last month, a manager intentionally lobbed a lit cigarette into his gasoline-powered generator.

In turn, Lesort says, The hotel owners built a beautiful building here on Chambers. Its becoming a nice street. He could try to be a little cleaner. Hes got all these boxes on top of it. And his workers, I see them taking a break and smoking cigarettes. I dont see any sink where they go and wash their hands. But heres perhaps the ugliest accusation that the Tunisian street vendor has lobbed against Lesort, a Frenchman who has lived here for three decades.

Perhaps this is actually a culture clash older than the Treaty of Bardo. I wonder if he knows that in France 10 percent of the population is Muslim, and theyre happy to be there, Lesort says, broodingly. How many Tunisians live in France and are happy to live there? Its really not cool. One of my best friends is Tunisian.

Boubane isnt sure whether Lesort has personally done any of the harassing himself, but he does recognize that particular statistic. According to Boubane, someone from the restaurant recently shouted it at him. He told me France is 10 percent Muslim and said, You Muslims already conquered France. You want to conquer the U.S., too? Im like, oh man, these people are dumb.

To Kebab and Conquer [NY Press]