I think everyone is missing the point on the issue of mobile food vendors [“The Pushcart War,” May 9]. It’s not sanitation or blocking sidewalks or Latino versus Anglo tensions. It’s the noise!
In my northwest side neighborhood there are not many eloteros who stake out a corner like those described in Neal Pollack’s article. Most push their carts through the streets and signal their approach with large bicycle-style horns. I can hear the blaring approach of a corn vendor from over a block away. When a cart passes the front of my house and I am in the backyard I can hardly carry on a conversation. Sometimes four or five will pass by in an hour, usually parking for a few minutes in the intersection to blow their horns. My toddler daughter is afraid of the noise, as it frequently wakes her from her nap (even with the windows closed). Unless you live in an area frequented by these carts, it’s hard to imagine how annoying this honking can be. It’s way beyond the ambient noise we expect from city living.
I am convinced that this controversy would never have occurred if the eloteros used some less obnoxious signal to announce their approach. If I am concerned about food poisoning I can simply not buy the food, but I have no choice but be assaulted by the blaring of the horns as vendor after vendor passes by. Give me the distorted song of the Good Humor truck or the tinkling of the paleta vendor’s bell anytime. As for the eloteros, I’d rather hear fingernails on a chalkboard!
N. Central Park