Just in time for lunch, let us present to you some photos of a food cart employee using a pair of tongs AND a spatula to scrape at an unknown substance apparently adhered to the sidewalk.
Oh god damn it.
Here's some context from Craig, a chagrined witness:
So I was heading to work and happened upon this scene on the north side of the World Trade Center: Hot dog guy scraping up what looked like spilled cereal with his tongs. Then switching to his spatula for greater efficacy. Whole crowd of construction workers standing around started screaming at him that it was disgusting. Made a big show to the people yelling of opening up the display Poland spring bottle and dumping it on the tongs. No soap or anything. Laid them back down on the cart with no evidence he had other utensils.
I assume he's serving unknowing fools lunch with these very utensils now. Sorry no video/only one pic shows the actual spatula. First pic was when he was getting yelled at, second was with the tongs.
Sigh. The "spilled cereal" hypothesis seems overly optimistic, though considering it more deeply is a sure-fire way to start dry-heaving at your desk. Why he needed The Thing off the sidewalk badly enough to start scraping is also currently unknowable.
Also unknowable is whether he actually used the implements on the food. Maybe he didn't! Wouldn't that be nice?
We reached out to the Health Department for more information on the proper protocol for dirty utensils—ie, don't they belong in their own bucket, somewhere far away from the clean ones? We'll update this post when we receive more information.