Before hot dogs, falafel, Mr. Softees, and other New York City street eats became food cart/vending truck staples, the hot pretzel was already a ubiquitous city favorite.
A 1923 New York Times article proclaimed that pretzel vendors had disappeared from the Park Row area. I guess the Depression brought them back.
I don’t know where the 1890s photo below was taken, but it looks like they’re hawking fruit and bread too, with more pretzels inside those baskets.
Would these two pass a health inspection today? Hmm. (Photos from the NYPL digital archives.)