NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A disabled Vietnam veteran who sells hot dogs in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art said he’s being sliced and diced by the city and he’s not exactly relishing it.
If you talked to hot dog vendor Dan Rossi, you would expect him to ask if you want mustard or onions with your dog and not talk about his sleep habits.
But Rossi told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer that every night, he’s forced to take his lounge chair into his push cart and spend the night in a space he said is “just big enough” for him to fit in, so other vendors don’t steal the spot.
“You don’t get a good night’s sleep out here,” Rossi said.
Rossi said he sleeps in the cart every night in front of the MET to protect the prime location and because the city refuses to enforce his family’s legal right to the spot as a disabled Vietnam veteran.
Instead, they ticket him constantly.
But it’s more than just tickets. One night at 2:30 a.m., while he was asleep, city officials came and tore the license off the cart next door that he also owns.
“What they said that because I was sleeping, I wasn’t attending the cart. Attending to do what? The cart is dead, there’s nothing to do,” Rossi said.
CBS 2’s Kramer confronted Mayor Michael Bloomberg about Rossi’s plight. He conceded Rossi does have a legal right to be there.
Bloomberg: “His rights should be protected and he should not worry about it.”
Kramer: “So what will you do about it will you help him?”
Bloomberg: “We’re talking to him. I’m personally not going to make the bed, but he doesn’t have to worry about it and we’re going to take care of it.”
Now that Mayor Bloomberg said that Rossi has the right to be at the location, the question is whether something will be done or whether city will have to eat its words.
By late Thursday afternoon, the city said they were still working on a resolution.
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