This morning, the Times wrote about the escalating fruit vendor wars in midtown Manhattan – specifically on the stretch between 9th Avenue/42nd Street and 10th Avenue/43rd Street. Apparently some MAJOR turf struggles are afoot. As I am pretty close to ground zero today, I walked outside to see if I could catch any crossfire in action. Unfortunately, when I went out around noon it was business as usual and the vendors all looked busy.
One of the feuding vendors in question is Bulent Unal, 45, who was the first to set up on 9th Avenue and has enjoyed a bustling business of Times Square office workers and tourists for some time now. A competing vendor, Eyup Durmus, set up shop not far down the road on 43rd between 9th and 10th. In retaliation, Unal has opened another fruit stand, operated by his brother-in-law, right next to the one run by Durmas. A third vendor, Mahbubul Islam, operating on the opposite side of the same block is also in the mix, complaining that his sales are down by nearly half and as he told the Times, “These guys are both trouble.”
For these guys, the “rules” are hard to enforce; it’s more of an unspoken understanding that you don’t encroach on someone else’s spot. Many blocks are not open to vendors and those that are only have to follow regulations about the size of their table, not being too close to building entrances or fire hydrants, and not blocking traffic. An organizer for the Street Vendor Project, Ali Issa, explains that although there are no laws against stealing someone else’s location, “it’s a self-regulation mechanism that has been in place decades and decades.” Although the battle continues, with Mr. Durmus threatening to strike back by opening yet another stand, let’s hope they resolve their disputes and no one gets struck with a stray mango in the process.
This news reminded me of one of the most ridiculous videos I have come across in some time put out by the Swedish musician, Günther. Günther is the stage name of Mats Söderlund, and I was amazed to find out that you can buy his album “Pleasureman” on Amazon. It’s too absurd to explain this video in detail, you have to watch it yourself to really understand. If you haven’t seen Brüno yet – this video might get you in the mood. Let’s all just hope that these vendors come together and find some “Tutti Fruitti Summer Love” soon.
Günther – Tutti Fruitti Summer Love:
(For those of you with strict work places, beware that there are about 2 seconds of boobs and 1 second of man-tool that might be NSFW.)
A big shout out to econoblodger Adam Shapiro for showing us this video masterpiece – Bananas, Melonas, Yeah…