22 August 2007

City Tells Red Hook Vendors to Do This, Do That

The City health inspectors are done with their drawn-out inspections of the beleaguered, harassed Red Hook Ballfield food vendors, who can't catch a fucking break from City Hall these days. And there's good news and bad news, according to a report on Gowanus Lounge.

Cesar Fuentes, who heads the Red Hook Vendors Committee and negotiates with the city, sent out a state-of-the-vendors update, saying the City is willing to let the vendors stay through the season. But the sellers still have to jump through several dozen flaming hoops. Fuentes writes:

DOH inspectors have been assigned to come down and observe our operation every weekend since these meetings took place. They have done so religiously, inspecting every stand and making on-the-spot corrections (about food prep. & handling) to each vendor as needed. A temptative agreement was reached between DOH and our committee, by which DOH would allow our operation to continue until the end of the season, provided all vendors(and their assistants) take a 2-day, 8 hour food protection course and be in compliance of the critical issues mentioned above. All vendors & assistants committed their time and effort to attending this course, which was set for 8/20 & 8/21. I am proud to report 60+ people attended & passed the required test.

And further on:

In complying with DOH regulations, these artisan vendors are now faced with the difficult task of adapting tradition in order to meet these standards. While some of these regulations are common sense and easy to comply, such as licenses & permits, some others--such as a possible requirement of heavy mobile equipment or push-carts for each vendor, or the provision of permanent running water--will be more difficult as it may require major capital investment that the vendors or our committee cannot afford. In addition, and provided we are successful in winning the Parks permit which would grant us right to operate our affair for seasons to come, DOH won't allow our affair in its current form and without every vendor and their assistants being fully licensed.

The running water thing bugs me. What hot dog or falafel vendor in NYC has running water? Why are the Red Hook vendors held to a different standard? This whole affair stinks. It has from the start.

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