April 16, 2014 By Christian Murray
A bright orange Halal cart set up shop on the sidewalks of Hunters Point this week and it has already drawn the attention of police and one resident.
Navid Ahmed, an Afghani immigrant, rolled onto Vernon Blvd Monday and started cooking gyros—as well as lamb over rice.
However, by Tuesday, he was told by the police that he wasn’t allowed to operate on Vernon Blvd and moved to the corner of 49th Avenue and Vernon, near San Remo Pizza.
Ahmed had operated his Halal cart in Jamaica until he arrived in Hunters Point this week. He said he knew of Long Island City from his days driving a cab and said: “I believe it is a great place for business.”
Ahmed plans to stay in his Vernon Blvd/49th Ave location for at least two weeks and if he does well he will stay. “I plan to be open from 12 pm to 9 pm every day,” Ahmed said.
However, Ahmed has already got detractors. One resident was photographing his license on the side of his cart and said she was going to call 311 to complain.
“That pizzeria pays thousands of dollars in rent each month and he just sets up there,” said Pat, who refused to provide her last name. “I have lived here my entire life and that is not right.”
Meanwhile, Community Board 2 Chairman Joe Conley said that he had not had an opportunity to check out the cart and did not comment on its legality. However, the board has been very strict in interpreting the laws governing such vendors. Recently, the board was instrumental in forcing many food cart operators out of Sunnyside.