Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Crunch Time for the Red Hook Vendors

The Red Hook vendors are getting things together to bid on getting a long term permit to operate this summer and beyond, but it's not a foregone conclusion that they'll win and the conditions imposed by the Parks Department and the Health Department are so onerous it may make it impossible. The Village Voice Eat for Victory blog updates the fairly depressing situation, including costs for food carts of $15,000-$30,000 per vendor. Of the Parks Department RFP, Cesar Fuentes, the leader of the vendors, says: "It is more fitted for a corporation than a group of artisan food vendors." Proposals are due by February 22. The Voice says "there is competition for the permit, but at this point, it doesn't seem to be fierce. The vendors' greatest opponents remains the Parks Department and the Department of Health."

We have said before and will say again that anything this city government does to threaten this Red Hook institution would be a travesty. It is no less vile to subject people to standards they can't possibly hope to meet financially than to sell out the park from under them. Will the city murder a local institution in an underhanded way that seeks to conceal the nature of the homicide? Will some of the public officials that vowed to protect the vendors like Sen. Charles Schumer stand by as Parks Department bureaucrats pull the trigger on a gun that has had a silencer attached to it? Will the Ikea shoppers who will flood the streets of Red Hook this summer be treated to corporate food stands decorated blue-and-yellow and selling burgers or will the Latino vendors be forced to shell out tens of thousands of dollars on the food vending equivalent of the city's new "street furniture" bus shelters and newsstands? Stay tuned.



Anonymous Alex said...

If worst comes to worst, why not have some of the vendors work the new brownstoner flea market? It won't be the same, but at least it'll be something...

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The parks department should do a survey on what the public wants. Then when the results show overwhelming support for the old vendors, the parks department can ignore the results by saying a disproportionate number came from people eating pupusas.

3:04 PM  

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