Hot dog in Times Square
AUTHOR SANEL HUSKANOVIC / CATEGORY INTERESTING FROM NYC / PUBLISHED: NOVEMBER -4-2019
In a place where no one stands still for long, John Galanopoulos has no desire to move.
For 40 years, he has stood at the corner of 46th Street and Broadway, selling hot dogs to the tourists and workers who cross the crossroads of the world every day.
“I am here and I will try to stay here as long as possible,” Galanopoulos said.
An immigrant child
His parents ran a stand here. Galanopoulos joined them 40 years ago, when he was 14 years old. It was only a few years after he emigrated from Greece to the USA. He barely spoke English.
"It was quite difficult to keep up with the other kids and I felt a bit strange," Galanopoulos explained.
He soon found himself working full-time in the less friendly Times Square of the early 1980s. He had had to stay overnight several times to prevent a competing provider from taking his place.
“I had to be here all night,” Galanopoulos recalled. "I said, 'Guys, this is my corner. I'm staying here and you have to find another place.'"
Changing Times Square
Over time, he saw his location become more valuable as Times Square transformed into an urban Disney world.
"Now I think it's better business-wise because there's more tourism and more people coming to the city," Galanopoulos said.
Galanopoulos' day begins before most people can even think about eating a hot dog.
After commuting from New Jersey, he picks up his cart from 39th Street and 11th Avenue around 8 a.m. and pushes it to Times Square with the help of a small motor.
“I pushed the wagon for 20, 25 years,” Galanopoulos said. "Look, I'm a bit fit, but lately I decided to put in a motor because I'm getting old."
He is entitled to the location according to an honor system established by all providers. He says he sells $300 worth of food every day, from pretzels to sodas.
His hot dogs are seasoned using a secret recipe that he has perfected over the years.
"A little lemon, a little vinegar, I can't tell you everything," he said. "Hey, some customers say I'm addicted to it. I have to have it every day."
Some of the customers are now his friends.
Friendships for life
"He came to my kid's bar mitzvah. I went to his daughter's wedding," said longtime customer Kevin Zavian.
Galanopoulos said his son and son-in-law will eventually take over the cart but not in the foreseeable future.
"I feel like it's my house," he said, looking around Times Square. »Everything around me has changed. There used to be a Howard Johnson here. Knock it down. New building. I think I'm still here.
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Credit: News NY1