Have you ever wondered when street vendors became a staple on every corner in New York City? The very first cart service traces back to the 17th century, as selling items was a common way to survive for most immigrants, especially those who couldn’t speak the language very well. In 1691, the city started regulating vendors as an effort to organize the streets; then, in 1886, the first official food truck was established on Hester Street. Ever since, New York City became iconic for its cultural diversity, largely due to different immigrant groups selling exotic cuisine from food carts.
If you’re anything like us, you literally live on coffee. Having a food cart with coffee service on our block is obviously a must. Located at the corner of East 39th & Madison, our favorite street vendor extraordinaire, John Nassedi, provides A-level service. John never ceases to make our mornings brighter and sweeter with his selection of pastries, bagels, and even a smile. If you’re in need of a quick caffeine fix, John is the man to see. Here at Village Print & Media, we strive to support our local vendors—their business’ success is vital to us, as their dedication allows our day to begin on high note.
We asked John a few questions as a way to get to know the man behind the coffee:
How long have you been in this specific location?
I started working here ten years ago. I’ve been working here on my own the whole time.
When did you move to New York City? Where are you from?
I’m from Afghanistan…I’ve been here for twenty-nine years. Right now, I live in Teaneck, New Jersey with my wife and three kids. The oldest is studying to go to college.
Which of your products sells the most?
Bagels and coffee make the most money, definitely.
What’s an average day for you like? What are your hours?
I wake up at 2am every day, pull the truck with my van from a lot to this spot, which I lease. I work here from 4:30am until 11:30am, for the morning rush hour. Then I go somewhere else, maybe to eat lunch, until 1:30pm. Usually I go to bed by 8pm, so I can get up early the next day.
Do you enjoy what you do?
Not really—I’m tired of this business. It was a horrible winter, I almost gave up. I really push myself to enjoy the job, but it’s hard work. As I’ve said before:
You cook in the summer, and you’re dead by the winter…
Tell us about the most memorable customer you’ve ever had. Any celebrities?
Anderson Cooper and Kate Bolduan from CNN came here once!