(Editor’s note: Please check update of this story here.)
I am a Washington, D.C., native who is lucky enough to spend quite a bit of time in beautiful Brooklyn Heights. Consequently, I read the local blogs and am following with bemusement the Hot Dog Cart Incident that has now spilled onto the pages of The New York Post.
I’ve come to the conclusion that Brooklyn Heights’ Coterie of the Chronically Outraged is homogenizing the community into its own sterile Stepford. They are the true blight on this otherwise charming neighborhood. The anonymity of the posts gives people an idiot courage that they lack in real life.
This entire teapot-sized tempest is the Information Age equivalent of running someone out on a rail—to say nothing of the not-even-thinly-veiled bigotry behind it all.
When you make the choice to live in a city—any city—you have to understand and take part in the social contract behind it all. We know that having to endure the sight of a hot dog cart on your Hollywood movie set slice of New York life is an impediment to your lifestyle. It gets in your way as you jog your double-wide baby stroller to your hot yoga session, so that later you can enjoy a post-workout free trade soy latte lovingly prepared in your French press, while reading the latest McSweeney’s post.
Do you know who might enjoy a disgusting hot dog served by a disgusting person? A policeman walking a neighborhood beat. Construction workers and utility people keeping your neighborhood pristine. Your nanny, who really doesn’t get paid enough for overseeing your privileged progeny to dine regularly at your favorite vegan restaurant. A college couple that might want the romance of sharing a hot dog while strolling the Promenade.
God, these people disgust me.
Even the hipster culinary icon Anthony Bourdain, who has come to symbolize the sine qua non of snarky foodie-ism, extols the virtues of “meat in tube form” and more specifically its provenance from the corner street cart merchant. I enjoy the occasional pushcart hot dog in D.C. and New York. I love the opportunity to sit on a park bench and munch happily away while contemplating how social climbing is turning the great American melting pot into an overcooked slurry of self-centered consumerism.
Look, if you don’t want a hot dog, don’t eat a hot dog. But don’t pretend that you are doing the community a service. You are the very models of checkbook charity—giving to popular issues not because you care, but so that you don’t have to actually endure them. It’s not even snobbery. It’s the basest form of prejudice, and it’s sad. For you.
There is a place where you can live your lifestyle free from the horrors of the demon hot dog vendor. It’s called the suburbs. Give it a look.
The rest of us who live in the city would appreciate it.