The State of the Ball-Field Vendors, Plus a Ceviche Exclusive
It may be wicked cold out, but if the Red Hook "Ball-field" vendors are going to be in action this summer, the time has come for them to fight for it. Cesar Fuentes, Executive Director of the Food Vendors Committee of Red Hook Park, gave us a full update on the situation.
In a nutshell, the Park's Department has issued a Request for Proposals, and meeting its guidelines would be expensive. As Fuentes put it, "It is more fitted for a corporation than a group of artisan food vendors." In addition, the proposals are due in just ten days. But if they can make it happen, the permit would be good for six years, and the operation may eventually be open full-time (all week, all year). 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.
The only detail about the next season that's official is the sad news that Victor Rojas, the ceviche man whose stand was usually the furthest west on Bay Street, has decided to bow out already because of financial concerns. We're keeping our fingers crossed that the effort doesn't disintegrate before February 22, when the proposal is due.
Let's break it down, shall we?
JANUARY 30: Fuentes meets with the vendors to discuss the newly-released Request for Proposals and decide whether to continue the fight for preservation and make a bid. They decide to go on.
FEBRUARY 6: Fuentes and the vendors meet at Red Hook Park with Parks officials to go over the Request for Proposals and meet other potential bidders. At first it seems that Fuentes and his vendors are without competition, but later he learns there are two other groups interested in bidding who did not show up.
THE SKINNY ON THE REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS:
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.