Don’t Worry—Metropolitan Museum of Art Has Hot Dog Situation Under Control

Visitors will no longer face a 'wall' of vendors.

A hot dog vendor puts up another umbrella in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Courtesy of Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images.
A hot dog vendor puts up another umbrella in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Courtesy of Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images.

How many hot dog vendors makes for too many hot dog vendors? For New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the number would appear to be over eight, according to the New York Post.

Attending a luncheon for the Central Park Conservancy’s Women’s Committee on September 26, Met CEO Thomas Campbell told guests, including Central Park CEO Douglas Blonsky, that the number of vendors outside the institution had multiplied following the completion of renovations, but the situation was now under control.

The $65 million project—controversially named the David H. Koch Plaza after the energy magnate and museum trustee—was completed two years ago this month. (Demonstrators were on hand for the 2014 opening, in protest of Koch’s stand as a climate change-denier. Environmental activists have encouraged museums to cut ties with the billionaire, and he stepped down from the board of the American Museum of Natural History in January.)

Thomas P. Campbell attends the Anna Wintour Costume Center Grand Opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 5, 2014 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano / Staff/Getty

Thomas P. Campbell attends the Anna Wintour Costume Center Grand Opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Courtesy of Michael Loccisano/Getty Images.

The hot dog issue is not a new one. For many years, the city only offered two permits for food vendors in front of the Met, but the museum is located on park property. In 2009, a disabled veteran successfully argued that he too could sell his wares there, free of charge, leading other veterans to join him.

“At the peak, we had about 25 or 30 [hot dog carts]. It was like a wall, you couldn’t get to a taxi,” said Campbell to ABC’s Deborah Roberts, according to Page Six. “Some people liked it because…it was very lively. But the smell was blowing in…Now there’s a limitation on the number and there’s eight at the corners of the blocks, and it’s much more manageable. We’ve got a good, happy medium.”

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo Steven Pisano, via Flickr.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo Steven Pisano, via Flickr.

Harold Holzer, the Met’s vice president for public affairs, called the overabundance of carts an “accident waiting to happen” in a 2014 interview with the New York Observer, and noted that the museum was waiting for a court appeal to adjudicate the issue. Presumably, that resolution has led to Cambell’s happy medium.

The Met did not respond to artnet News’s request for comment.


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