Brooklyn Heights hot dog imbroglio: No permit, no food

June 26, 2012 By Mary Frost
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Longtime Brooklyn Heights residents are scratching their heads over the fuss raised by the ouster of a rogue hot dog stand from Montague Street last week.

First mentioned in a post on the Brooklyn Heights Blog, the issue was churned further by the New York Post, which on Sunday called Heights residents who complained about the sneaky stand “snooty weenie meanies” — and described the rule-bending vendor as a “brave cart pusher.”

“He was a nice young man trying to make a living,” said one doggie defender on the Heights blog, while a Willow Street opponent was quoted as commenting, “What next? A big top? Circus animals? Clowns? Cotton candy?”

Enter the grownups.

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“The reason is, he didn’t have a permit,” said a spokesperson from the Brooklyn Heights Association. “No permits are issued to street vendors on Montague Street. Period. The cops couldn’t make him leave if he had a permit.”

All the fuss is rather puzzling to locals who have watched vendors get booted from Montague Street for years.

“We had quite a spell of them a while back,” the BHA spokesperson said, who added that only city-licensed newsstands are allowed on the busy street.

Vendors would love to line the sidewalks on Brooklyn Heights’ prime shopping street, but hungry visitors don’t have to go far to get a hot dog. Two vendors work Clinton Street just a few feet from Montague Street, and stands are allowed almost everywhere else in the neighborhood.

In 2008, several Heights residents raised a fuss about a large yellow fruit stand that appeared without notice in front of the St. George Hotel. The stand, which had a permit, was allowed to stay. (It has since been replaced by a hot food cart.)

“There has been a mistaken impression that all of Brooklyn Heights is off limits to street vendors,” Irene Janner, office manager of the Brooklyn Heights Association, told the Brooklyn Eagle at that time. But “only Montague Street is off limits,” she said.

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