BHB Guest Post: ‘A Fan’s Open Letter to the Wiener Whiners’

BHB received this guest post Monday. The neighborhood wiener roast gets one more grilling… 

(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.

Alex Cook

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  • mark

    Mr. Crusty coming through once again, kudos.

  • Mr. Crusty

    of course I meant Pierrepont not Piedmont Street.

  • DIBS

    WOW…laughing at you hot dog cart haters is the highlight of my day today!!!

    I’d love for you to all post pics of the insides of your apartments for the rest of us to see what cultured, pristine lives you lead.

  • lee

    @Crusty, that block of Montague is residential.

  • Cranberry Beret


    Better look to get out of Cobble Hill fast now that houses are going there for $4.5 million. Don’t count on the multimillion dollar homeowners there being any more enlightened than the Heights variety. Or is that snobbish of me to think so?

  • bx2bklyn

    I lived in BH for over 20 years. When I first moved there, it was a lively, mixed neighborhood. Over the years i saw it become much more suburbanized but here’s the thing. Food carts have been part of NYC streets since the city began and as a born and raised New Yorker, I detest the disneyfication of the city. We don’t live in a theme park, people. I hope the delightful Montrose Morris of will write an article on Brooklyn food carts someday. Maybe a trip down memory lane will remind people of the city NY used to be- gritty, gutsy, lively.A city where individuals didn’t feel just because they lived in a neighborhood, they owned or controlled the public streets.

  • ColumbiaHeightster

    The worst part of this is the fact that the noisy snobs actually got the vendor to leave. They won this stupid battle, and I don’t think that’s the Brooklyn that any of us want to live in.

  • DIBS

    True, columbiaheightster but you know those types can’t rest. They have nothing better to do in their lives and as soon as they got rid of the cart, I’m sure their skin started to crawl as they peered out from behind their curtains and saw another assault on their senses. They lead sad, angry lives.

  • CGar

    bx2bklyn, I recall that Montrose Morris did a wonderful column about the Horn & Hardart Automats recently, so a piece on food carts would be a great follow up.

  • CGar

    ColumbiaHeightster, I agree with all the comments you’ve been posting. Truth is, if I knew to which corner the hot dog vendor had been banished, I would go out of my way to buy hot dogs from him. (Speaking of, all this talk had me craving hot dogs, so I had to find some near my office.)

  • DIBS

    And, as someone else pointed out to me, Brooklyn Heights really can’t claim any real wins in the culinary department with the exception of a few places north of Clark.

  • bx2bklyn

    Yes- I read that! MM is without a doubt the best blog writer on Brooklyn architecture and history out there.

  • Mr. Crusty

    @lee… that is not the determining factor. The list I linked to has the streets where food carts are restricted. If it isn’t on the list, there is no prohibition. Obviously it is not wise to set up on a residential street since there is so much less foot traffic to draw from, but that is another point entirely.

  • CGar

    Not to go off topic, DIBS, but there are also some great places on Atlantic Avenue now, between Clinton & Henry. And there are a couple of new places under construction near Hicks, one next door to Montero’s (rumored to be an Iris Cafe offshoot) and one where the BBQ place used to be (called Table 282 or something like that).

    Now, if only there was some place to get a decent hot dog in the nabe.

  • Gerry

    I had the vendor removed as soon as I saw him I phoned the police precinct and asked to speak with the companding officer his representative took my call I then expained that a dangerous and illegal situation was on MontagueTerrace and the vendor and his cart were removed.

    This is over.

    If he or another vendor comes back I wil do the same thing.

  • ColumbiaHeightster

    Hey everybody, Gerry said it’s over! No more commenting, okay?

  • CGar

    A “dangerous” situation, Gerry? Really? Was there severe risk of death by hot dog?

  • Mr. Crusty


    oh nellie.. and you bothered the Precinct Commander over this? What incredible arrogance and self-importance.

    What a sad pathetic life you must lead there Gerry. You were the one that called him a slob as well weren’t you? Yeah, you sound like a real charmer.

  • DIBS

    Gerry (remember what that was slang for during WW II)…

    I guess your life is now complete. If only the world had more people like you!!!!

  • 1BBP

    I never understood why there aren’t any vendors on the promenade? People need water, and the occasional Sabrett would be OK as well. That Mexican cart in BBP looks good too.

  • DIBS

    Maybe Bob Sacamano (see above) could sell Italian Ice, too.

  • CGar

    @2:37 ColumbiaHeightster.

    Lmao. You’re too funny.

  • Chill


    Because vendors on the Promenade would make it more comfortable for outsiders.

  • CGar

    @2:41, Mr. Crusty, yes I quite agree with you, too, and with you 1BBP @2:43.

  • Mr. Crusty

    How about a Metamucil Cart for Gerry and his fellow snobs?

  • Cobble

    “I then expained that a dangerous and illegal situation was on MontagueTerrace and the vendor and his cart were removed.”

    Oh fantastic! We’ve been saved from Death by Hot Dog! Hallelujah, we can all sleep soundly tonight!

    Gerry, aren’t you the guy that said “This is a lot of bull I have worked very hard to be able to afford to live on Montague Terrace and i do not need a hot dog vendor out side my window so he can make a few bucks.”

    Irony much, Gerry? Do you ever hear yourself?

  • CGar

    @Chill at 2:46. Lol. Aren’t you required to designate your post with a “sarcasm alert”? It seems some people are lacking in humor.

  • Montague St. Neighbor

    Thank you for this guest post, Alex Cook!! Very well put :-)

  • Arkady

    Given the paucity of good Indian restaurants around here I’d like to see a variety of food carts. And, yes, many bricks & mortar restaurants started out as food carts. Great idea to have MM do an article on it!

  • Chill


    Indian food carts? Better install a port-a-potty on the Promenade.