Some years ago, on a visit to Shanghai, I happened upon a pair of mops hanging in a back lane. Since then, in New York, I've come across many similar minor appropriations of public or communal space for private use.
Here, a lunchtime food cart has left for the day. While the cart is cleaned and restocked at its commissary, several folding chairs and two wooden platforms remain on the sidewalk, chained to a signpost. The platforms allow the two women who operate the cart to step up and get a better angle on the griddle; one platform has a cutout (not visible in my photo) that serves as a chock to help hold the cart in position.
This appropriation of space is only slightly more intrusive than most, especially given the context of three newspaper boxes (which are permitted under law and seem to be comporting with all local ordinances). A fourth and smaller box, which the platforms lean on, once distributed promotional brochures (and poses a fuzzier legal case). Though the business is still a going concern, this particular box is outmoded, and in recent memory it's done nothing but take up sidewalk space and serve as a trash can with a window. The chairs and platforms, though well-worn, are at least in good working order.
Food-cart sidewalk storage