Thursday, October 8 at 3:00 pm the New York City Health Department visited the fruit stand on 89th and Broadway in Manhattan. Apparently his fruit stand was too big, extending a foot or so outside the designated area. The police were summoned as was a New York City garbage truck. The police proceeded to deposit crates of fruit and vegetables into the garbage truck. They threw perfectly good fruits and vegetables away! A homeless woman literally kneeled down begging for the food. The officers ignored her request. The bystanders were astounded. As pedestrians called various state and local officials, as well as news reporters, the garbage truck closed and the police ceased to haul any more crates of food into the garbage truck for fear of negative publicity. The supervising police officer said, “We are just following health department protocol.”
The following facts abut this incident have been confirmed to be true: 1) While the health inspector claimed that the food was spoiled the people who had just purchased fruits and vegetables demonstrated that the produce was fresh and edible; 2) The proprietor of the stand has had other violations for the size of his stand; 3) The proprietor has a long history in the neighborhood of generosity toward the poor and homeless; 4) There is a school on the block whose parents and children are glad the healthy snack alternative exists steps from the school’s doorstep. I am shocked the NYC has a policy of destroying edible food, particularly fruits and vegetables. Additionally, given Scott Stringer and Mike Bloomberg’s sustainability agendas it seems shocking that such a policy would be tolerated. Is sanctioning a fruit and vegetable proprietor really in keeping with Stringer and Bloomber’s health agenda? Finally, this guy is well-liked and respected in the neighborhood, and earns meager wages from this job. It is hard to imagine what the city gained by sending 8-10 police officers and a city garbage truck to dispose of edible food. So far, no comment from either Stringer or Bloomberg’s office.