Baked Apple: Fruit Vendors Struggle With Summer Heat

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Green Cart vendor Nishith Lasker (Alec Hamilton/WNYC)

Fruit vendors at green market carts around the city say they have been struggling to keep themselves cool and produce fresh in the stifling summer heat.

Mohammed Nazrul Islam, who has spent 12 years selling fruit at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 13th Street in Manhattan, said a lot of fruit goes bad and ends up in the garbage on extremely hot days.

"Business is very bad at that time.” he said. “Not good. But what we do?"

New York City is still reeling from a heat wave earlier this week – the fourth so far this summer.

Since the official start of summer, more than 100 record-high temperatures have been set across the country – including in New York City and Connecticut.

M.D. Islam, who sells produce on Sixth Avenue near West 4th Street, said sweltering temperatures may mean discomfort and fewer sales, but he has to work to support his family.

 “Because we need to live here,” he said, shrugging. “We need to spend. We need money for family."

Nishith Kumas Lasker, who sells fruit on Spring Street in Soho, said long hours in triple-digit heat is not just bad for his product – it also puts a strain on him. He said he can’t take breaks because he has to watch over his produce.

“I can’t go (inside) because this is an outside business,” he said. “Maybe someone might steal my fruit or mess up my business.”

He added, “It’s really difficult. It’s a really difficult life.”


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