The New York Times has been grooming young A. G. "The Future" Sulzberger to take over the company by slowly easing him into the journalistic fires. Now, he's really earning his wings—By covering Manhattan's street fruit stand wars!

Yes, Young Sulzberger has been forced to earn his heirship by venturing out into the orgy of unruly ethnics that is the Puerto Rican Day parade and by confronting evangelical Christian Nazis in Central Park, but he's never faced anything quite like this.

This is not exactly the Bloods versus the Crips, but these are what pass for turf battles in Manhattan's bustling world of curbside commerce, where location, as they say, is everything.

To the public, these conflicts are often only visible by their symptoms. On this Midtown block those include an unusual bounty of cheap, fresh fruit, peddled by unusually eager sellers. While some street vendors have worked on the same corner for decades, any claims to asphalt real estate are actually informal. On blocks open to street vending - many are not - the official restrictions are limited to the size of the table, blocking street traffic or standing too close to the entrance of a building or a fire hydrant. There are no prohibitions on setting up near another vendor, indeed even in their spot, though such conflicts are relatively rare.

When it breaks down, though, it can be messy.

How did he ever make it out alive? Give this kid the keys to the jalopy now! He's earned them.

Fruit Stands Wage Midtown Turf Wars [New York Times]