The beloved food vendors in Red Hook Park, who are in the midst of building a gustatory empire across the borough, will be back where it all began on May 2.
This is the second year that the 10 concessionaires, selling home-cooked Latino favorites like pupusas, tacos and ceviche, will be arrayed outside the park on the sidewalk along Bay Street, thanks to intensified scrutiny by city officials ended a decades-old market atmosphere inside the park itself.
The new arrangement, unveiled in a lengthy, costly and controversial process last year, required the vendors to purchase expensive mobile carts and resulted in longer lines for customers because the vendors had less space in which to cook and operate.
But vendors are in an expansionist mode now, too. Some of the purveyors established satellite stands that flourished at the Brooklyn Flea, a popular craft and antique tag-sale. Now, the 10 entrepreneurs plan to recreate their lost market feel in Coney Island this summer at a “Festival by the Sea” carnival.
Because the flea market and festival are each held on private land, the heightened city regulations that altered their setup in Red Hook Park are not applicable, allowing the vendors to operate the larger, open-air grills that were popular in Red Hook.“It’s going to be great because the historic nature of Coney Island brings a whole level of excitement,” said Cesar Fuentes, who oversees the vendors’ group. “Most of the vendors retained their cookware from the Red Hook fields, so it will be our traditional setup. The flea market in DUMBO proved to be a humongous success for us.”
The vendors will also operate at the Brooklyn Flea, weekends starting April 18, in the yard at Bishop Loughlin HS (Lafayette Avenue, between Vanderbilt and Clermont avenues in Fort Greene). See www.brownstoner.com/brooklynflea for info.