#%@^@#!! dinges happen. The other day, July 3rd to be precise, we were happily wafeling on the corner of 7th Ave and Christopher Street. Business was good. All was good. Two of our guys were running the truck while the actual Belgian waffle-guy (me) was on a rare Friday night date in Nolita, with his lovely waffle-wife.
Then came the call - from the guys in the truck. It went like this:
> Cops want us to move.
+ Why - what's the problem?
> No problem, they just want us to move.
+ I'm coming up.
Waffle-guy gets in a cab (with lovely waffle-lady), heads up to the West Village. Gets to the truck and tries to explain cops that he's parked legally, vending legally, driving legally etc. A lot of legally.
Cops don't really want to hear it. We have to move. Waffle-guy pulls out the big NYC street vending rule book. Cops gets agitated. Annoyed at waffle-guy. Ask for ID. Run a check "in the system".
Cops pull out handcuffs. Cops put on handcuffs. They have to take the waffle-guy "through the system" (a lot of system). Something's showing on my record. A warrant. They don't know exactly what for. It's from November 2007. They call a cop-car. Put me in it - with handcuffs still. They explain to the waffle-lady that "I have to be taken through the system". Waffle-lady has no idea what that means but she walks to the precinct where waffle-guy joins the lowlifes of Friday-night in the West Village in a cell.
Cops let waffle-guy sit in the cell for a while, to reflect on the joys of street vending, the baking of wafels and life in general. Finally cop comes back to explain that the warrant is for an unpaid ticket from Nov '07 for vending near a fire hydrant (this was 6 weeks after the launch of the Wafels & Dinges truck in October '07). He had never see this violation code, he said.
By now cop understood that waffle-guy wasn't that criminal after all. So he explained to waffle-lady that, to avoid spending 4th of July in Rikers Island, he must take waffle-guy to the judge pronto, take him through the system. Court closes at 1am, it was 11:20pm. Have I told you how much fun it is to observe NYC traffic from a flying sirenes copcar? Only it's a little tight on leg-room back there, especially with your hands on your back.
The judge was intrigued by the ticket. It was a violation against an unusual section of NYC law. The next article in the same law talked about "a maritime vessel blocking the entrance to the harbor". Case dismissed. Waffle-guy now better make up for a spoiled evening with lovely waffle-lady, especially since she worked her magic to get the waffle-guy to move up the line to get a quick court hearing by the judge!