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Vida Cart
Corner of Fifth Avenue and Island, Downtown
(No phone)

When the vibes are right, usually around one or two in the morning, this hot dog stand becomes a café des artistes, the kind of street scene you would find in New York or San Francisco. Daniela, an artist from Bulgaria, started it right under the historic Chinese Callan hotel. The idea was extra cash between paintings. Now artists, students, chefs, and new downtowners looking for "street life" congregate here to argue art, politics, and life. Staples are coffee, sodas, jumbo hot dogs, hot links, corn dogs, pretzels, and nachos. But her seven-inch pizza is as good as a meal. And it's not just stand-around: she has a fenced-off seating area where you can watch the scene, and be a part of it.

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