Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Good News!

Huzzah, the vendors and the city have come to an agreement. Here's the recent press release, below is a quote from Cesar Fuentes in a recent email:


Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe today announced the awarding of a permit to the Food Vendors Committee of Red Hook Park, the same organization synonymous with Latin American delicacies in Red Hook. The permit is effective for a six-year term and will allow them to operate an ethnic and specialty food market in Red Hook Park, Brooklyn.

“One of the great New York City pleasures is enjoying tacos, huaraches and other fine Latin American cuisine at Red Hook Park,” said Commissioner Benepe. “The Parks Department is happy to keep this longstanding tradition in place by awarding a permit to the Food Vendors Committee of Red Hook Park.”

“These vendors have made the Red Hook ball fields a destination for soccer fans and foodies alike, and I applaud the Parks Department for recognizing the value they bring both to Brooklyn and the New York culinary scene,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “Over the past fifteen years, the vendors have been at the vanguard of the Red Hook Renaissance, and now they have another six years to continue their delectable work. I look forward to visiting the ball fields again soon and supporting this Brooklyn treasure.”

“On behalf of the Red Hook food vendors, we are thrilled to be able to continue our 33-year-old tradition,” said Cesar Fuentes, Executive Director of the Food Vendors Committee of Red Hook Park Inc. “We have the best intentions to create an even better food market with the assistance of New York City Parks and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. It is a beautiful thing to be able to combine culture, cuisine and recreation together to enhance the park’s experience which is so vital to an urban center. To be able to get in the city what you would get in a rural area, fresh wholesome food, is really fantastic. Thanks to New York City Parks for being proactive in supporting this type of small affair of artisan vendors.”

The work is not yet done, however. As Cesar writes:

It is important to undertand that while this is a tremendous victory for us, we are still facing tremendous challenges ahead before we can consider an official opening date this summer. These challenges affect every vendor as he\she needs to be in full compliance with DOHMH standards & be able to afford costly equipment in order to operate legally. I intend to keep you updated on this.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Permit Extension Granted!

It appears the city has granted the Red Hook vendors an extension permit until Oct. 21, the traditional end of the season, meaning there are many weekends of soccer tacos left this year:

Indeed, Mr. Benepe went out of his way in the statement to praise the food. “One of the great New York City pleasures is enjoying tacos, huaraches and other fine Latin American cuisine at Red Hook Park,” he said. “The Parks Department is happy to keep this longstanding tradition in place by extending the permit for the Food Vendors Committee of Red Hook Park through the end of the season. We encourage all New Yorkers to come to the park and enjoy a palate-pleasing tour of Latin America.”

Said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York:

Hooray for the huaraches!

Thanks to all who helped!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Act Now To Help The Red Hook Ball Field Vendors!

As New York mag reported on 6/5, the awesomeness that is Red Hook soccer tacos is now in peril:

The city, eager as ever for the fat stacks that only a bidding war by commercial concessions can offer, has given the vendors notice that their Temporary Use Agreement, the permit given to them by the Department of Parks and Recreation, won’t be renewed. The city wants to open the parks up for concession bids, which will almost certainly mean an end to the makeshift food stalls that have been operating there for over ten years.


If you heart the vendors at the ball fields, now is the time to act. Send messages to both New York Commissioner of Parks Adrian Benepe and Red Hook Councilwoman Sara M. Gonzalez. We've even written up a handy message (with help from Serious Eats) you can use -- use your cut 'n paste skillz below! Add your name and send as-is, or for a more effective plea, personalize it with what the ball fields mean to you.

Please do it right now!


Contact him either using this form or via email at adrian.benepe@parks.nyc.gov:

Dear Commissioner Benepe,

Please extend the Temporary Use Agreement to the vendors at the Red Hook ball fields. They are a unique resource in the city, are one of the best things about summer in Brooklyn, and they are irreplaceable.

The vendors bring value to Red Hook by bringing people out to eat who might otherwise not visit the neighborhood, and they create an experience and a range of real, honest food that typical park vendors could not possibly replicate.

I'm asking you to please grant them an extension for this year and to look for a way to make the use agreement permanent.

This is a cultural institution worth saving!



Email her at gonzalez@council.nyc.ny.us:

Dear Councilwoman,

I am writing to let you know that if the vendors at the Red Hook Ballfields lose their license, or are forced out of business in any way (increase in fees, etc.), you can be certain the New York City Food Community will make it our mission to make sure that those who were responsible will not be re-elected to office.

Thanks for your time,