Funny. I was just wondering today if the Red Hook Ballfield vendors would ever open their 2009 summer season. I was just about ready to give them up for dead, the victim of the willful animosity of the City's health and parks departments.
But then Brooklyn Paper reports just in the nick of time that the Latino food sellers will return to the tray this weekend. Oh Fraptious Day! But the opening comes at a price, as the vendors have lost almost half of their regular season:
The financial costs of purchasing and retrofitting carts, combined with half a season of lost sales, have sent many vendors deep into the red.
“The losses are major,” said Marcos Lainez, who operates a Salvadoran papusa cart. “It’s going to take at least two and a half years to recover all the money we have lost.”
Lainez shelled out $35,000 to get a legal stand and upgrade it, and is rushing to get last-minute repairs made so he can pass a city inspection to start selling the bean–and–cheese filled tortillas this weekend.
The burden for other vendors is even heavier.
Pamela Martinez told The Brooklyn Paper that her father spent $45,000–$50,000 to ready his cart for Mexican treats like tacos and huaraches.
“We’re out three months of work,” Martinez said.
Like Lainez, he’s waiting for the green light from the Health Department.
Part of the delay for several of the vendors came from a Queens repairman who took many weeks longer than promised to overhaul their mobile units and bring them up to the newly tightened city requirements.
Everybody out there, do your part: Buy twice as much food as last year! Get these guys out of debt!