I mentioned in the pizza post that I'm sometimes jealous of non-vegan friends who can stop on almost any corner of the city at any time and "grab a slice" for cheap. Vegans have to plan ahead for the most part.
However, I sometimes find myself substituting another ubiquitous street food - falafel! There are tons of cheap falafel places around (maybe not so many as pizza) and they do a great job of filling you up, if that's what you need, or soaking up the night's beer if that's more yr speed. For late night soakage, I usually turn to Mamoun's, which has locations on St. Marks place in the East Village and on MacDougal street in the West Village. Bonus points for being cheap! cheap! at $2.50 for a falafel sandwich, especially since I've typically spent most of my money on beer at that point.
However, if you want to go the filling route and enjoy a special lunch, my favorite falafel place in the city is Taim in the West Village at 222 Waverly Place. In typical West Village fashion, though, it doesn't really matter if you know the address.
You'll either find it or you'll get frustrated trying to find it. I accidentally walked past it yesterday after a slight panic of how I'd NEVER FIND MY WAY OUT OF THE VILLAGE before I turned around and stumbled onto people munching on their sandwiches.
It's a small spot, but they offer options you don't see elsewhere:
Obviously I'm here for the falafel but they also offer salads, sides, smoothies, spreads, and platters.
They also explicitly state which of their dishes are NOT vegan - everything else is. (Small gripe, WHY is it necessary to put yogurt in baba ganoush? It is delicious without dairy!!)
I opted for a Harissa falafel (actually not all that spicy) andwich, which comes with pickled cabbage, tahini sauce, hummus, and Israeli salad. You can also get pickles and spices for no charge. They offer olives and other non-vegan toppings for about a dollar. My fairly unadorned sandwich was $6.75, but worth it.
See? Still falafel! Good to the last drop.