They’re not trucking around.
Coney Island civic gurus bashed a city proposal to park one food truck near the neighborhood’s Asser Levy Park, claiming the four-wheeled grub hub would be disastrous for the local economy, attract too many outsiders to the area, and single-handedly discourage residents from dining at other family-owned eateries in Sodom by the Sea.
“We didn’t want to be congested with food trucks, we didn’t want there to be more garbage than there is already, and we also wanted to have the support of local restaurants, diners, convenience stores,” Susan Flaschenberg, the co-chairwoman of Community Board 13’s Parks Committee, said at a Nov. 28 meeting about the plan.
CB13’s full board voted down the proposal backed by the Department of Parks and Recreation at the meeting, with 20 members against it and 10 in favor. The majority merely wanted to protect existing mom-and-pop eateries by casting its no vote, according to the other chairwoman of the panel’s Parks Committee, whose members also panned the proposal at an earlier Nov. 1 committee meeting.
“It’s the simple reason that it interferes with local commerce,” said Barbara Teitelbaum.
Both votes, however, are purely advisory, and Parks Department leaders will make the final call on whether to proceed with the scheme, which would allow one food truck to park outside the green space bordered by Surf Avenue, Sea Breeze Avenue, and Ocean Parkway for five years, according to an agency spokeswoman, who said the chosen vendor would only be able to drive around and set up shop at another location in the neighborhood if granted a separate permit for that location.
Interested food-truck operators could submit applications to be the lucky vendor through Nov. 30, and now Parks Department bigwigs will review the list of hopefuls before returning to the community board early next year with their decision, which will “take [the board’s] concerns into consideration,” the spokeswoman said.
The 10 board members who supported the proposal, however, hope the agency doesn’t put too much stock in their colleagues’ majority no vote, with one food-truck proponent arguing the area is barren and in desperate need of more dining options.
“As you walk around Asser Levy, there are very few options for food,” said Mario Caggiano. “You have to walk very far to hit some of these small businesses. And I also feel some of the food trucks are small business in themselves.”
Another panel member who voted in favor of the food truck said such vehicles should be available throughout the neighborhood — especially in the West End — because there aren’t enough restaurants to serve Coney’s growing population.
“There aren’t enough food choices in Coney Island’s West End — if you go anywhere past the train stations, there aren’t many options, other than Chinese and fried chicken,” said Orlando Mendez. “The food trucks should be allowed out there as long as they’re not parked in front of a restaurant.”