On Tuesday, when we wrote about the New York Daily News’ horribly under researched article about getting sick from street food we specifically called out Dan Biederman, the president of the 34th Street Partnership, for drawing incorrect assumptions from the misleading statistics printed in the article. Yesterday he responded in an email to us (and in the comments of the post). Here’s his response, plus our response to his response.
Dear Mr. Brooks,
Midtown Lunch, according to its credo, “loves street food, and the challenge of eating in places that most of our co-workers would consider ‘dirty.’” We understand that, but also believe that the proliferation of unsanitary and unregulated food carts serving ill-prepared food does not contribute to the quality of any diner’s experience.
Ok. So I’ve got to stop you right there. I feel like these two sentences sum up the entire issue I have with this article and Dan Biederman’s quotes. Our credo, as you call it, doesn’t say that we like dirty food. It says we like places “that most of our co-workers would consider ‘dirty’.” (I can’t believe I’m about to give a lesson in punctuation, but…) the extra quotes around dirty are meant to signify that THEY’RE NOT ACTUALLY DIRTY. THEY’RE DELICIOUS. And many workers in Midtown simply think they’re dirty because they’re not chains, or they’re run from carts on the street, or in freight elevator hallways, or run by people who don’t speak English. You, sir, are the “co-worker” we’re making fun of in our credo. The sad thing is, as a public figure you have the ability to spread this stereotype on a larger scale than the average Midtown office worker.
Against my better judgement, I’ll allow you to continue.