Fruit Stand That Never Has Fruit Shut Down by Health Department


Photo by Courtnay Grant.

A fruit stand on 67th Street and Broadway without any fruit now doesn’t have a stand either. The city Health Department shut it down this week after a complaint, the department told us.

The stand is run by a man named Mohamed Ismaiel, according to a New York Post story that delves into the mystery of why Ismaiel runs a fruit stand with no produce. On the rare occasions he has bananas, he tends to give them away. While Ismaiel didn’t comment for the story, his friends said that he’s complained about competitors lowering prices on fruit, and his Facebook page references conflicts with other vendors. Although he has no fruit, he opens every day in order to keep his spot, so someone else doesn’t take it.

The Health Department says he can reopen when he gets the right paperwork and inspection.

The Health Department inspected this fruit cart following a complaint. The vendor could not provide proof that the cart is serviced and stored at a commissary, which is in violation of the NYC Health Code. Once the vendor successfully completes the reopening process – which includes a pre-permit inspection and providing documentation that the unit is being serviced and stored at a commissary – the vendor will be allowed to reopen.

NEWS | 11 comments | permalink
    1. young man! says:

      Oh yes, I guess he forgot about the old commissary rule where cart owners need to store their carts in what amounts to a private parking garage for food carts. I’ve seen a bunch of them in Queens and they are generally filthy, greasy places – probably healthier to store them on the street.

      Regarding the man who runs this cart, after receiving a community loan for $40k I think it is unethical or crazy that he doesn’t try to make his business a go. Maybe he is holding the location so he can “sell” it?

      I guess the lesson is to consider the mental health and ethics of whoever you loan money to.

      Now that it is actually costing him more than just his own time, hopefully he gets his permits in order and comes back stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables. Otherwise he should just vacate the spot and let a hard working entrepreneur fill the spot.

    2. Evan Bando says:

      The whole story made no sense especially the part where the owner of a local pizza shop said he gave the “banana” vendor $40,000. What happened to the money? If he really gave the money and the vendor really took the money, then, that was one very expensive box of bananas. The sidewalks have plenty of vendors of all kinds. This oddity raised more questions than answers. He might have given free bananas to children. But he was not particularly friendly. I know someone who kindly asked why he was attending a fruit stand all day without any fruit (a reasonable question when you see him everyday) and he literally yelled at her, “It’s none of your business. Go away!” Halloween is over. The children don’t need free bananas. The Health Department was right to pull him off the street.

      • B.B. says:

        Ever hear of someone having a bad day?

        Question may seem “reasonable” to you, but that is normal for many New Yorkers who feel it is their right to walk up to people and start asking questions. However you never know what is on someone’s mind, and they just might not be in the mood for “20 questions”.

        This guy obviously has problems, anyone standing in or whatever an open business without any inventory obviously is worried.

        All sorts of people are stressed out nowadays because their income isn’t covering expenses.

    3. Larry Lox says:

      Mohammed may not be perfect, but he always been a gentleman. He is always happy to lend a hand, even this summer during the black out (https://twitter.com/wilkssc/status/1150199001448353792)… It feels like he is being railroaded by jealous competition here. The guys who replaced him on Columbus are extremely rude and I don’t like them one bit.

    4. fruity says:

      Sounds like bullying and politics at their finest.

    5. chase says:

      I don’t like far from there and didn’t know there was a fruit stand on 67th and broadway. been here almost 20 years… wow.

      • lynn says:

        I go to the Apple store on a regular basis and don’t remember ever seeing it either, but I did a Google search and there was a rather ramshackle stand with a blue tarp in front of Banana Republic. Doesn’t look anything like the cart in the photo for this story, so I’m not sure if it’s the same one.

    6. Diane says:

      Mohamed formerly ran the fruit/vegetable stand located in front of the Ansonia post office (Columbus/68th). I dealt with him for over two years and in that time he was – without exception – one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. I don’t know his current situation but, in my view, they don’t come any nicer than Mohamed. A true gentleman.

      • Jen says:

        If that’s the one, it was the biggest and the best stand in the area!

        • JL says:

          It still is. I don’t know how these businesses are run by the suppliers but it still the same fruit stand at the post office. Mohammed was THE guy there for the longest time. I remembered him saying goodbye to everyone when he left to travel back to Egypt(?). All the locals loved him !

          The empty stand in question is much smaller and on Broadway. Maybe the “owner” didn’t want to hire him when he came back, I don’t know the details or the business. I wish Mohammed the best because he is a good man.

          The new younger guy (on Columbus) is also friendly. The obnoxious and pushy guy with glasses is pulled from his old spot on 70th and Amsterdam. The same person/or company might own all these stands. These guys are just employees, I think.

    7. Wicked Wikipedia Fan says:

      It says: “On the rare occasions he has bananas, he tends to give them away.”

      Or, perhaps he heard the 1923 hit-song with the memorable lyrics:
      “Yes, we have no bananas / We have-a no bananas today.

      Thank U, Wikipedia…and Google !