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Halal and Kosher Food Carts at War Over Primo Midtown Turf

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Accusations of racism are being fired from both sides.

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A group of halal cart vendors are at war with Yisroel Mordowitz, who runs the kosher hot dog lunch cart Holy Rollers. Mordowitz wants to park his cart at 48th and 6th, near the lucrative tourist town known as Rockefeller Center, but claims that the "halal mafia" has blocked him. Apparently 12 local halal vendors from Egypt, who fear that Mordowitz is stealing their business, have kept Mordowitz off 48th Street by cordoning off the space every day sometime before dawn.

Though Mordowitz claims that he "thought [he] could bring peace to Midtown," both sides are now accusing the other of racist speech. Mondoritz claims one vendor yelled: "This is not Palestine!" at him, while halal vendor Mohamed Mossad reports Mondoritz called him a terrorist, and said he "bombed the Twin Towers."

But ultimately, the battle is a financial one. The space near Midtown offices and Times Square is valuable, and on a day when Mordoritz managed to set up shop, he took home $2,000 in sales. The way Mossad sees it, Morodritz "is hungry — hungry for money...He's just coming to this particular spot, and he wants to grab it from me — and kill me, actually. Kill my business."

Ultimately, Mordowitz took his cart to 35th and 9th Avenue, away from the tourists, but next to the Hasidic-run B&H Photo store. His Facebook page hints that he may try to return to 48th Street sometime soon,  and since street vendor permits granted by the city don't specify which streets vendors can set up shop on, there's nothing else preventing him from doing so.

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