Patrick Mock used to fly across the country with takeout containers of chicken and gyro. “I’d smell up the whole cabin just so I could bring some platters back for my friends and family in California,” he says.

a group of people standing next to a truck

© Courtesy of The Halal Guys

He was picking up those platters at The Halal Guys, a food cart on the corner of 53rd Street and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. Mock ate there regularly when he lived in New York and worked as a management consultant. Then he moved to California, and the cart became a rare treat. Whenever he was back in town, he’d visit the cart, put in a big order, and stuff it all into a carry-on bag before heading to the airport. 


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Mock’s friends, many of whom he had personally introduced to the brand, knew he was a Halal Guys devotee. So in 2014, when news

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SALEM, MA — Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll said in a meeting with business leaders this week that the city knows the crowds are coming to Salem this month despite the cancellation of major events and reduced marketing of Halloween’s unofficial hometown.

Now the city is giving residents and visitors a way to track the crowds before they head downtown.

The Downtown Crowd Gauge is updated several times a day on Fridays through Sundays and rates the crowds on a level of 1-6 with “Red” Level 6 being extreme crowds and that travel to downtown is discouraged.

The crowd level as of late Saturday morning was “Green” Level 2.

“If you are planning to visit downtown Salem this October on a weekend, it is strongly recommended that you plan ahead,” the city said. “Most restaurants, stores, and attractions require advance tickets or reservations, and long lines are not permitted outside businesses.”

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