26 January 2008

Trying to Play Ball

Just as I was thinking it was time to hear something from the Red Hook Ballfield Food Vendors, the Daily News prints a program report. And, little surprise, the news ain't that good.

According to the daily, City officials have begun seeking bids for selling food in Red Hook Park, just as they said they would. And they are welcoming a bid from the vendors, just as they said they would. But the bid rules apparently require that all applicants "use approved food-preparation carts or trucks, which vendors estimate will cost $15,000 to $30,000 per stand"—which is not quite what the City said they would do.

Anyone who's been to the park knows that conventional food-selling trucks and carts won't cut it for the specialized Latin sellers, many of whom who use long grills to prepare their tacos, papusas and huaraches. As one vendor said, "We're not just boiling hotdogs." The vendors also fear that the silvery vehicles will take away from the the rustic charm of the scene, which no doubt they probably would.

Applications are due Feb. 22.

The only encouraging thing in the article is a comment from the vendors' most high-powered friend, Sen. Charles Schumer, who last summer held a press conference in Red Hook Park. He said, "The city must work with the vendors to create a plan that benefits everyone involved, not just the city's bottom line." Nice sentiment, but, unfortunately, the past has shown that the Parks Dept.'s Adrian Benepe doesn't really give a damn what Schumer thinks. And certainly Mike "I like Subway-I eat Cheeze-Its" Bloomberg isn't paying attention.

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