The Scion of Hot Dogs
A third-generation hot dog vendor struggles to turn a profit in a markedly changed Manhattan, but holds tight to the old family business.
Maria Laskaris presses the red button on her hot dog cart to light the propane stove, and the clicking sound reverberates onto Water Street. The flood ransacked the seaport, and when it retreated it sucked up the sounds of this place and drowned them in the harbor. Sunglass Hut is closed. Seaport Tattoos is closed. The line of FedEx trucks, UPS trucks, cabs and black Lincolns usually double-parked in front of One Seaport Plaza, the thirty-four story office tower across the street, is gone, and the tower’s windows are dark.
“It’s like working on a deserted island,” Laskaris says, staring out at the empty block in the South Street Seaport neighborhood on Manhattan’s southeastern shore, which was inundated by Hurricane Sandy. “This is no way to make a living.”
Back when the tourists came, they wanted more than hot dogs. They wanted tomatoes, lettuce, white sauce and chicken for their gyros and kebabs. Since Sandy and the flood, the tourists stay away. At night Laskaris…
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