I don’t fully understand the hipster cachet of food trucks — is it a sort of faux-rural slumming, where you like to pretend you’re eating at a county fair? Is it the fact that some of them sell cupcakes and casual racism, both things of which hipsters are fond? Or does food just taste better when it’s lightly seasoned with diesel fumes? In any event, food trucks are popular among young gentrifiers and their dogs. But in the no-power zone below 40th Street in New York, they’re no longer just urban ambiance. They’re providing people with hot meals, free coffee, and charging stations that they might not be able to find anywhere else.

When you’re without heat, power, and clean water, cooking is a bit of a challenge. But when your entire neighborhood is without heat, power, and clean water, forget about it — you can’t even go out to eat, or buy new groceries that don’t require refrigeration, microwaving, or pretty much any other kind of preparation. Food trucks, though, are powered-up kitchens on wheels. And some of them are also feeding volunteers, handing out coffee, and letting people make use of their power outlets to charge up phones.

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Here are the food trucks Gothamist spotted downtown recently:

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  • Phil’s Steaks in Union Square
  • Big D’s Grub on Park Ave. between 16th and 17th, letting people charge devices
  • Milk Truck on Wall St. near William, then feeding volunteers in the clean-up effort
  • Mud People (eew, what?) at 9th and 2nd
  • Van Leeuwen Artisan dispatching a turtle truck (?) to the East Village
  • Wafels and Dinges, bringing much-needed wafels and dinges to 7th and Carroll and to 14th and 3rd, and also handing out free coffee and cocoa to NYPD, FDNY, MTA, ConEd, and repair people

In conclusion, I do not get you food truck people with your turtles and your mud and your dinges, but thanks for bringing your mobile restaurants to places where food preparation and storage is seriously hampered. Now, if you took EBT cards, we’d really be in business.

UPDATE: Scratch the bit about EBT, because 12 trucks have been dispatched to hand out free meals. Even better! Look for them at these locations:

  • Eighth Avenue and 19th Street in Chelsea (Andy’s Italian Ice, Milk Truck, Frites n’ Meats)
  • Washington Square (Big D’s Grub, Coolhaus)
  • Beach 50th and Beach Channel Drive in the Rockaways (Cupcake Crew, Eddie’s Pizza)
  • Astor Place (Toum, Rickshaw Dumplings, Wafels & Dinges)
  • Tompkins Square Park (Mexico Blvd., Sweetery)
  • Trader Joe’s at 14th Street and Third Avenue (Wafels & Dinges)
  • City Hall Park (Wafels & Dinges)

Man, no shortage of wafels and dinges up in here.

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