Friday, June 22, 2007

BREAKING: Red Hook Vendors Can Stay Through October

Schumer Red Hook One

Sen. Charles Schumer, just announced that the Parks Department is extending the permits of the Red Hook food vendors through October 28. The Department had previously threatened an end to the vending season after Labor Day. However, there's some bad news: The Parks Department still says it's going to open the permits to competitive corporate bidding next year although it promises to treat the vendors "fairly."

As for the short-term, Sen. Schumer is claiming victory, saying in a press release that "Today’s decision protects this Brooklyn treasure for the rest of the summer and fall and I applaud the Parks Department and Commissioner Benepe for their quick action. Had these vendors lost their permits before the end of this year’s soccer season, it would have been a blow to Red Hook, Brooklyn and all of New York City. The diverse, cultural vitality they bring to Red Hook is what makes New York the great city it is, and it should be preserved. I look forward to working with the Parks Department to craft a new arrangement that keeps these vendors running and thriving for years to come."

Saving the remainder of the vending season has been a priority for the vendors, but the long-term situation is equally important to them. Last week, after we spoke with Cesar Fuentes, head of the vendors group, we wondered if the Parks Department would grant an extension so the vendors could work at the Red Hook Ballfields for the full season through the end of October, but would stick with competitive bidding for next year. This would seem to be what is happening. The competitive bids can go as high as $300,000, but the vendors--who currently pay $10,000 for the permit--say they would be crushed by an increase to even $50,000.

We're cheered that the vendors will get their full season, but it will be a hollow victory if an equitable solution is not found to assure their long-term survival in the park. More tomorrow.



Blogger gary said...

You're a hard man to keep up with, GL. But I love all the Brooklyn coverage.

5:17 PM  

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