I took the B61 to the B77 to Red Hook Park midday Sunday to partake of the super-cheap delicacies at Red Hook Park, as I had read that this was the opening weekend for the park's increasingly celebrated vendors of soccer-field-side treats.
Indeed, they were open for business, just as in years past, before the New York Times discovered them. I had a sort of Calvin Trillin episode (if you've read his food writings, you know what that means) and felt compelled to try just about everything on offer. I started with a a pork huarache (sort of a large open-faced quesadilla) from the stand second over from the left as you enter the field on the corner of Bay and Clinton. I continued with a tamale stuffed with beans, a Salvadoran style pupusa (like a smallish, pudgy quesadilla—I guess everything's a bit like a quesadilla), filled with cheese, with shredded cabbage served with hot sauce on the side.
I thought that would do it, but soon after I went to the tent to the right of the entrance and got two shredded-chicken tacos and a large glass of tamarind-flavored drink. I would've eaten more if I could, but by that time, I couldn't.
The servers couldn't have been nicer. And every thing I mentioned above, taken together, cost about $15. Visiting the field reminded me of how New York City felt when I first moved here 19 years ago. Great meals could be had for $5, folks on meager incomes didn't feel like outcasts, and you knew a great day in the city could be had if you were just willing to go look for it. Perhaps the Red Hook Park vendors have preserved this way of life because they're on the very edge of the city. I know everything's moving up and up in Red Hook, but I hope this corner of the neighborhood remains modest and honest.