We'll take our comforts where we can get them.
We'd like to hear that the Red Hook Ballfields food vendors—Mexican, Salvadoran, Columbian, all of 'em—have been given a lifetime contract by the City to serve up superior homemade, South-of-the-Border grub. But, for the moment, we'll take the news that the Parks Department has extended their permits through Oct. 28.
In other news, The New York Times—lagging far behind the Post, Daily News and the blogs—has finally comes out in solid support of the vendors. A warm, loving piece will appear in the Metro section on Saturday (the least read paper of the week—ahem!). Still, it's a lovely piece. Here it is.
Meanwhile, I received my first-ever e-mail from Adrian Benepe, Parks Commissioner, in response to my e-mail protesting his move to put the Red Hook Park food concessions up to general bidding. It drips with bullshit. It reads:
Thank you for your email regarding the food vendors at Red Hook Park in Brooklyn.
The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation has been issuing "Temporary Use Authorizations" to two separate groups to operate a food market at the ballfields in Red Hook Park. We began the process a few years ago in an effort to legalize the vendors at Red Hook, helping them become a permanent fixture in the neighborhood, and the park users have benefited from their presence. They enhance and diversify the Red Hook neighborhood, and particularly our ballfields, by serving great food at reasonable prices. Unfortunately, once it became clear that the Red Hook markets would regularly be open for more than 29 days a year, we could no longer legally renew their temporary permits without opening up the concession to the public solicitation process.
I would, however, like to correct a common misperception that we are offering the site to the "highest bidder." In order to comply with the concession regulations in the New York City Charter, we will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP). This will allow Parks to evaluate proposals based on qualitative criteria such as operating experience and planned operations. We plan on releasing a RFP shortly for the operation of vending markets at the various ballfields at Red Hook Park; the term of the license will be six years. This process will give the selected vendors the permanence and regularity that they deserve.
We have received positive feedback regarding the Red Hook vending markets and we look forward to the active participation of the existing vending groups at Red Hook in the proposal process.
I appreciate your taking the time to write.