The Atlantic isn’t 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 Lesort’s 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 he’s 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. It’s becoming a nice street. He could try to be a little cleaner. He’s got all these boxes on top of it. And his workers, I see them taking a break and smoking cigarettes. I don’t see any sink where they go and wash their hands.” But here’s 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 they’re happy to be there,” Lesort says, broodingly. “How many Tunisians live in France and are happy to live there? It’s really not cool. One of my best friends is Tunisian.”
Boubane isn’t 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?’ I’m like, oh man, these people are dumb.”
To Kebab and Conquer [NY Press]