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February 28th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

NYC hot dog carts, small business with big impact

By Steve Kastenbaum, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @SKastenbaumCNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) – Hot dog carts, with their blue and yellow awnings, are practically on every street corner in New York City.

No one pays much attention to the vendors other than during the 15-20 seconds it takes to buy a hot dog and a drink. But if you stopped to talk to one you might be surprised to learn how mighty the small sidewalk business is.

[4:16] “It provides my rent money, provides my kids’ tution, pays for Greek school, pays for my daughter’s ballet school, her tutor lessons. So it’s all from me for here.” said Gus Argy.

He’s the third generation of his family to man the hot dog cart across the street from New York’s City Hall.

The hot dog cart has even paid for retirement homes in Greece.

[1:21] “My uncle… He lived in Queens, he raised two kids, he had a wife, he bought a couple of houses… he made a house in Greece. He lived comfortably. He worked seven days a week, though.”

Today, a grilled hot dog will run you $2. For $1.75 you can get one that has been sitting in boiled water all day earning it the street nickname ‘dirty water dog.”

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