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Red Hook Ball Fields

Does anyone know when the Red Hook ball fields get started?

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  1. According to Curbed, they may not open until June this year. Bummer, because I plan to be in New York next weekend.


    12 Replies
      1. re: Xiao Yang

        Also just as a heads up starting next Sunday 5/18 I read that a decent amount of the vendors from the ball park will also be at the new Brooklyn Flea market off the G Clinton/Washington Stop.

        1. re: MsAlyp

          Did anyone check this out over the weekend?

          1. re: Nehna

            I was at the flea yesterday. Only fruit and corn was there. Supposedly next week there will be pupusas and huaraches.

            1. re: fleaster

              Both times I've been to the flea I've spent all my money on food.

              1. re: fleaster

                Is there food when the Flea opens at 10a? Or does it take time for the vendors to fire everything up?

          2. re: Xiao Yang

            If anyone has a chance to try the food being sold at the baseball fields in lieu of soccer tacos, I highly recommend it! I went last weekend and after waiting in line for about 20 minutes, I saw the older woman inside of a red van dipping her bare hands into a bucket of what looked like mashed up liver. Turned out the only two options they had were barbacoa (stewed goat meat) and tacos de sangre. I love barbacoa, and although this one was a bit on the fattier side, it was delicious. I was a bit hesitant about the taco de sangre but was pleasantly surprised...it was rich and flavorful, not too gamey or "bloody" tasting at all. If you can get past the name and the bare hands, it's definitely worth it. I'm not sure if this was truly a bunch of coagulated blood that I was eating, but if it was, I consider myself converted.

            1. re: chowzdown

              Did you eat at the baseball fields on Saturday, or on Sunday? More to the point, do you know if these vendors serve food on both days, or just one?

                1. re: ballulah

                  I asked the (exact same) question on another thread and got no answer. (except some highly useful info about the regular ballfields.)

                  I can tell you I was there last Sat late morning and nada. Would definitely love to have some more precise and updated 4-1-1 on when to go and what to get.

                  1. re: ballulah

                    I read on another blog that the baseball field vendors are SUNDAY ONLY. I haven't been nor witnessed this myself, just what I read. I might check it out tomorrow and report back.

                    1. re: contempt

                      Dave et al: unlike the soccer fields, where it's become a business quite apart from the sport schedule, the baseball fields' food is still totally tied to the league schedule. When there's no game, there's no food. The games so far have been Sundays only. I'm not sure if other leagues will be starting or if playoffs are on more than Sundays. Only way to find out is to have a conversation with a vendor.

                      As an aside, how many of us go back far enough to remember that the "main" food vendors at the soccer fields used to only be there for player support as well?

            2. I just ate there today. I had one of the best tacos of my life-- arepas too. Then my father went and another friend rode his bike from Williamsburg. Everybody had great stuff.

              3 Replies
              1. re: miafood

                Are you sure you went to the red hook food stands? My SO and son went down there today and reported back that the stands are not open yet. I was totally bummed cause i was looking forward to a huarache and a barbacoa taco.

                Did you perhaps go to the vendors on the fields further down (smaller, some selling out of coolers)? Or were they lying to me so they could keep all the delicious food for themselves? ; )

                1. re: missmasala

                  I drove by on Sunday and they were not there... A friend also reported that she didn't see them on Saturday either.

                2. re: miafood

                  They have arepas now? Which stand?

                3. Here's the response I got from Cesar Fuentes when I asked him about the ball fields. The English translation is mine and may not be exact.

                  ---------- Forwarded message ----------
                  From: cesar fuentes
                  Date: 2008/5/4
                  Subject: RE: Red Hook vendors

                  Estimado Sr. Wilson,
                  Dear Mr. Wilson,

                  Gracias por su interes en nuestro evento.
                  Thank you for your interest in our event.

                  Aunque afortunadamente ganamos el permiso permanente para poder operar en el parque por los proximos 6 anos, todavia necesitamos aclarar ciertos requerimientos antes de comenzar oficialmente.

                  Although we fortunately obtained permanent permission to be able to operate in the park for the next 6 years, we still need to clarify certain requirements before officially beginning.

                  Esperamos comenzar al final de este mes -Mayo, Labor Day Weekend- o en las primeras semanas de Junio.
                  We hope to begin at the end of this month - May, Labor Day Weekend - or in the first weeks of June.

                  En nombre de los vendedores, me agrada saber que, asi como ud. hallan muchos hinchas amigos esperando nuestra pronta apertura. Le dejare saber nuestro dia oficial de apertura pronto.
                  In the name of the vendors, I am happy to know that they find many friends and fans like yourself hoping for our prompt opening. I will let you know our official day of opening soon.


                  Cesar Fuentes
                  Executive Director
                  Food Vendors Committee of Red Hook Park Inc.
                  PO Box 48
                  New York, NY 10159

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: fat_hot

                    Thanks for that info, fat hot! Just what I was looking for!

                    1. re: fat_hot

                      He means Memorial Day weekend, of course. Good news. Glad they found a way to jump through all the hoops that the city idiotically put in front of them.

                      1. re: Woodside Al

                        “…We still need to clarify certain requirements before officially beginning…” Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but that doesn’t sound definite to me. It sounds like Mr. Fuentes is hedging himself a bit, I hope he proves me wrong – I miss those pupusas.

                    2. can anyone expound on the differences here and what i can find at Flushing Meadow Park or on Roosevelt ?

                      I've never been to the Red Hook fields, but it definitely looks good..

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: hboogz

                        hboogz, in Red Hook, at least in the past, you would find about twenty vendors selling everything from drinks like Horchata and Jamaica to huaraches and quesadillas, pupusas, grilled corn and ceviche. Each vendor generally sticks to a specialty and the food is generally better than what's available elsewhere in the City. Plus, you have a generally upbeat atmosphere since you're surrounded by multiple soccer games.

                        I recently moved to Queens, making Red Hook a bit of a schlep. I was hoping that I'd find something close to what goes on in Red Hook at Flushing Meadows. Can you tell me more about what I can find there, and where exactly in the park I can find it? Thanks.

                        1. re: Greg

                          i have not purchased food from vendors at Flushing Meadows, due to overwhelming shyness. the thing is, it's very difficult to tell the difference between people selling their foods and people barbequeing for themselves and their friends. also, it's spread out all over the park.

                          the advantage of the set-up at the Red Hook Soccer fields is that all the vendors are concentrated in one area, and therefore are clearly all vendors. this makes it much less scary for a shy girl like me.


                          1. re: charlie_b

                            There are a few vendors near the College Point Blvd exits that are clearly selling to the public. One has a sign that iirc says that they're Guatemalan. The others are Ecuadorean and specialize in guinea pig. I haven't tried it there, only because of the price. Despite my almost-fluency in Spanish, they insist on charging me gringo prices.
                            They're in the park almost every Saturday and Sunday when the weather is nice.

                            1. re: el jefe

                              Cuy is notoriously expensive here in the city - it usually runs $25-$35 per "serving".

                              1. re: lambretta76

                                I know. And that's what they're charging in Flushing Meadow Park. I'm not trying to generalize here, but I find it hard to believe that they're selling dozens of cuy every weekend at those prices.
                                Maybe Charlie B was right and the "vendors" are set up mostly for friends and family.
                                I haven't check in years but you used to be able to buy frozen cuy in some of the bodegas on Roosevelt Ave for a reasonable price

                              2. re: el jefe

                                You can still find guinea pig in the freezer case at Casa América...


                                ...though the more whimsical signs have vanished. Has anyone here actually tried cooking cuy?

                                1. re: DaveCook

                                  In the parks, it's usually grilled. My brother slow-cooked it on the bbq. It was excellent. But then again, you can say that about almost anything that is smoked properly.

                                2. re: el jefe

                                  Gracias, el jefe. By the way, I would say you have a plethora of pinatas.

                                  1. re: Greg

                                    I'm pretty sure most of them are there to sell to the public. Even the tiniest makeshift soccer fields have 1-2 vendors. E.g. the concrete field of Sunnyside (right where the Farmer's market meets on Sundays) gets a lot of soccer action, I was there few Saturdays ago and noticed one lady setting her wares from the back of a black limo. She said she was Equadorian. She only had 1 dish - tongue stew in some red sauce with rice, $6. Really really good, my SO still talks about it. Neither of us speak Spanish, but we never hesitate to ask if the food is for sale. The worst can happen, we get invited to a meal :)

                          2. Does anyone know if they're going to manage to open up the stands at the Red Hook fields this weekend? I don't see anything on the myspace site, but I'm contactless today and easily distracted....


                            3 Replies
                            1. re: bgrey

                              no, still working on permit stuff. 3 vendors will be at bk flea tomorrow tho - more info at The 'Chop if interested... http://porkchop-express.blogspot.com/

                              1. re: J. Slab

                                Per Cesar, “We cannot start until the city approves our permits [and these are] being processed as we speak. Unfortunately, that can still take a couple more weeks before we are given a go. Realistically speaking, we can probably expect to open Mid-June.”


                                1. re: J. Slab

                                  Man was it a madhouse today - the pupusa vendor must've had a line about 40 people deep. Good for them, though! I'm sure it's not a replacement for the ballfields, but it's nice they're able to make a living despite the Parks Department and DoHMH assininery.

                              2. Update from Porkchop Express:

                                Of note:
                                * The Red Hook Soccer Field Food Tents will look very different: out with the tents, in with the city-mandated mobile food vending trucks.
                                * The Red Hook Soccer Field Food Tents will taste the same: as of our interview, each of last year's vendors is planning on returning.
                                * The Red Hook Soccer Field Food Tents might expand their days and months of operation: the new permits are valid year-round.
                                * The Red Hook Soccer Field Food Tents need your support more than ever: the new permits, fees and operating costs have more-than-quadrupled their expenses.
                                * The Red Hook Soccer Field Food Tents are still not open: we're hoping for mid-June, and we'll let you know ASAP.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: kathryn

                                  Quadrupling of expenses? So long $2 tacos. If it happens I hope the expanded dates will make up for their increased operating costs and BS the city is (or will be) putting them through.

                                  1. re: MShapiro

                                    so i don't quite understand. i just flew back to new york from the midwest. are the ball fields up and running or aren't they?

                                    1. re: oystersallday

                                      they are not. not yet. they will be soon, from what i've heard from cesar. they expect "mid-june" but i've heard nothing final/definite.

                                      1. re: oystersallday

                                        This is the link Kathryn kindly provided above. It tells you everything you want to know.

                                        1. re: oystersallday

                                          If you really need a fix, one of the pupusa vendors has set up shot at the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene on Sundays.

                                    2. Was just there this last weekend and they were not there. They are hoping to return in a few weeks but don't run over... wonder if the new Ikea, right near by has anything to do with the police crack down.

                                      2 Replies
                                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                                          There were several vendors (mozzarepas, pupusas, and something else), set up at the Coffrey (sp?) field nearby yesterday. I had a most delicious pupusa, myself.

                                      1. I've read a lot of different info about red hook tacos. Have the main ball fields vendors officially set up yet?

                                        24 Replies
                                        1. re: macaroni

                                          I was just over there and no sign of them yet. There is a sign that says "red hook food vendors coming soon" but it's almost July! Does anyone know the scoop?

                                          1. re: curly30

                                            I went by today as well and there's nothing there (at the main ball field site). From their website today, with the most recent message dated Jun 10 2008:

                                            "Thank you all for your support and interest in our affair. We are humbled to learn of the many messages received asking when we will start our season. We are hoping to open our affair as soon as possible. However, there are still compliance issues that need to be cleared before we can officially start. We hope to be able to clear these issues in the next few weeks & hopefully start our season by the end of June or beginning of July. Please continue visiting our site for updates & official start dates.
                                            Best regards to all.

                                            Cesar Fuentes
                                            Executive Director
                                            Food Vendors Committee of Red Hook Park Inc.

                                            1. re: curly30


                                              Skip to about 5:30, Cesar Fuentes discusses the permits and health dept. issues, and having to use trucks instead of stands, as well as other difficulties.

                                              1. re: kathryn

                                                This is a disgrace. Who are they protecting?

                                                1. re: kathryn

                                                  Thanks for that, Kathryn! So will I be seeing you, camera in hand as well, when they finally DO re-open?

                                                  1. re: kathryn

                                                    Thanks for the link. Frustrating that there's no time table. I really hope they aren't stalled through the summer. What a mess.

                                                    1. re: kathryn

                                                      Sadly, because they have to use trucks, the whole communal nature of the fields will be different. There's no way they'll be able to set up tables right in front of their businesses, since I assume the trucks will be on the street and selling food on the sidewalk instead of on the ballfields area.

                                                      Not to mention the trucks taking up parking spaces, the influx of ikea traffic, will make finding a parking spot very difficult.

                                                      1. re: contempt

                                                        For years and years the vendors were a make-shift eatery looking to scratch out some extra coin from the local soccer players. Now they fall under the authority of the NYC Health Dept. and other BS city agencies, did you actually expect this to work well? I just want my pupusas...

                                                        1. re: MShapiro

                                                          contempt: I'm not sure that I agree. The vendors have been there for many years and their trucks always took up the parking spots on that side of the street. And, up until 2 years ago, the grills were set up on the sidewalk on the sidewalk side of the fence anyway. Selling from the trucks would be a different feel from open grills, etc but folks always used to buy on the sidewalk and then go around into the park itself to eat at tables or benches. Things change.... I'm just hoping that the basic stuff (good home cooking) remains the same and that they dont waste the whole summer negotiating.

                                                          1. re: MShapiro

                                                            maybe it was mentioned and I missed it but several of the Red Hook Vendors are selling at the Fort Green Flea Market on sundays.

                                                            1. re: MShapiro

                                                              I don't think it's necessarily bad for them to be under the purview of the DOH, but why require them to to all their vending from trucks? Is that so they can roll up to the DOH's door to be inspected?

                                                              Come to San Francisco. We have pupusas up the gazoo here. But bring us some of your arepas in exchange.

                                                            2. re: contempt

                                                              "Not to mention the trucks taking up parking spaces, the influx of ikea traffic, will make finding a parking spot very difficult."

                                                              I doubt this. In previous years the vendors parked their trucks on the street just opposite their stands. There was very little parking on the side of the street adjoining the ballfields. Directly across the street wasn't too bad for parking. At worst you had to park around the corner. Having food trucks parked where the other trucks used to be sounds like a wash.

                                                              As for the Ikea shoppers, I think they'll all be too fraidy-scared to stop off at the ballfields. It's not all that close in any event and the Ikea crowd don't seem like the type of people who would feel comfortable wandering the streets of Red Hook.

                                                              1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                “As for the Ikea shoppers, I think they'll all be too fraidy-scared to stop off at the ballfields. It's not all that close in any event and the Ikea crowd don't seem like the type of people who would feel comfortable wandering the streets of Red Hook.”

                                                                That’s not necessarily a bad thing…

                                                                1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                  who do you think IKEA is trying to attract? LI has its own. NJ has its own. They want the locals to shop there. Are the locals afraid of their own neighborhood? Aesthetics is a different issue than fear.

                                                                  1. re: seb

                                                                    "Who do you think IKEA is trying to attract? LI has its own. NJ has its own. They want the locals to shop there."

                                                                    I don't think so. Ikea has made a big deal out of arranging water taxi service to and from Manhattan. They're also running shuttle buses and have equipped the store with a vast parking lot.

                                                                    Look here - http://info.ikea-usa.com/Brooklyn/dir...

                                                                    Most of the customers will not be local Red Hook residents.

                                                                    1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                      As to the IKEA 'fraidy-scared' postings, I thought the $5 Swedish meatball plater from the in store restaurant was part of the experience. Not to mention the Swedish food store at the exit.

                                                                      It's not AQ Cafe but it's good enough.

                                                                      1. re: Geo8rge

                                                                        sounds like the full, real story is still not being made available. even after reading or listening to the fuentes interviews (like at porkchop express), i still don't understand why 1) the vendors seemed to have permission in the spring and yet still aren't open 2) why they need trucks and not just carts (like the grills on astoria's corners or in flushing meadow park) 3) why the city seems so intent on making this difficult for the vendors etc. i'd love the read an article entitled "the truth about what's going on in red hook." seems like fuentes is purposefully no longer attacking city policy, but i just don't get it. first there were no permits. then there were permits. then the permits had to be changed. then schumer got involved. now they need trucks. what's really going on here?

                                                                        1. re: joekarten

                                                                          Excellent questions. I don't understand it either. I think the City is pulling some stupid stuff and Fuentes is keeping his mouth shut for fear of antagonizing the bureaucrats.

                                                                          1. re: joekarten

                                                                            i'd love the read an article entitled "the truth about what's going on in red hook."

                                                                            We need Red Hook troothers. Stop the lies.

                                                                        2. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                          that response implies that only people from Red Hook go to the ballfields. "locals" are residents of Brooklyn & Manhattan (and beyond) who go to Red Hook for whatever reason.

                                                                          1. re: seb

                                                                            I was responding to your comments about who the customers that Ikea is looking to attract. You said it was going to be locals.

                                                                            With any luck the vendors will open soon and we can see who shows up.

                                                                    2. re: contempt

                                                                      Wow, lots of responses. I hope I didn't imply that only locals went there as I mentioned 'finding a parking spot' as I live a 10 minute drive there. I never had issues with parking; however, I also don't remember too many vendor trucks parked (guess my mind was on the food not the parking). But I do remember the milk crates reserving the parking spots.

                                                                      I suppose we'll all see in two weeks of what the vibe will be. Great that they're starting up again, too bad those vendors lost out on a lot of revenue from the beginning of summer.

                                                              2. Latest from Cesar Fuentes (reported at nymag.com): “We expect to clear our last compliance burdens … next week and hopefully open our season either the weekend of July 12th or July 19th.” (http://nymag.com/daily/food/2008/07/n...)

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: jmh

                                                                  hallelujah to that. good news at last. if anyone hears they are opening on the 12th for sure do post -- i dont want to waste a trip over there!

                                                                2. I just received this email from Cesar Fuentes this morning:

                                                                  Dear friends and supporters,

                                                                  We have decided to pass in this exciting update for your information before its official press release or its official announcement.

                                                                  Upon our last compliance hurdle being met -that is, the vendors' food trucks and carts passing DOHMH inspection next week- our affair can finally open its season as early as the weekend of July 19th!!

                                                                  While we are almost certain that most vendors will be compliant & ready to operate by July 19th, we have also set up a 'rain date' for the weekend of July 26th in case the majority of our vendors are required to further adjust their mobile food vending units to meet inspection standards.

                                                                  While we will issue an official statement advising the specific start date soon, please feel free to spread word that our affair will definitely start on either date this month.

                                                                  Thanks as always for your constant support & solidarity!


                                                                  Cesar Fuentes
                                                                  Executive Director
                                                                  Food Vendors Committee of Red Hook Park Inc.
                                                                  PO Box 48
                                                                  New York, NY 10159

                                                                  1. Got this email this morning:

                                                                    Dear Friends & Supporters,

                                                                    It is with great pleasure that we announce the official opening date of our affair on Saturday, July 19th, 2008.

                                                                    On behalf of the Red Hook food vendors, I would like to thank everyone who has visited, patronized, shown interest and\or given support to this humble thirty four year tradition, that it may continue for six more -We dedicate this victory to you.

                                                                    We encourage you to continue visiting our web page at www.myspace.com/redhookfoodvendors for more updates on the Red Hook food vendors, including additional dates, times & season ending of our affair.

                                                                    Best & warmest regards,

                                                                    Cesar Fuentes
                                                                    Executive Director
                                                                    Food Vendors Committee of Red Hook Park Inc.
                                                                    PO Box 48
                                                                    New York, NY 10159

                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                    1. re: ballulah

                                                                      This is from Brooklyn’s “Real” Newspaper (as opposed to all of those fake ones out there).


                                                                      1. re: ballulah

                                                                        Has anyone made it over there this weekend? any reports? We probably wont make it over til next weekend :(

                                                                        1. re: Nehna

                                                                          I was there yesterday. Totally gorged myself. It was my first time, so I have nothing to compare it to, but the lines were crazy long. I waited over a half hour for pupusas and another half hour+ for grilled corn and agua fresca. According to some locals the number of vendors was very scaled back, maybe 2/3 or less of the numbers from last year.

                                                                          If you're coming from Manhattan, the Ikea water taxi is ABSOLUTELY the way to get there.

                                                                          1. re: ballulah

                                                                            Where does the taxi leave from Manhattan? I read Pier 11 but not sure where that is. How far is the walk from the taxi landing to the ballfields?

                                                                            1. re: gtrekker2003

                                                                              Pier 11 is on the east river in the financial district - if you walk down wall street (east you will hit it) just go towards the water. Pier A at pier 11 is the slip its actually the first slip on the left. This is a huge Pier with many ferries. Many subways are near.

                                                                              1. re: gtrekker2003

                                                                                I took the A to Broadway Nassau and meandered down to Wall St and headed east. Pier 11 is totally unmistakable when you're at the intersection of Wall St and South St. Bear in mind if you don't actually SHOP at Ikea, you won't get priority boarding on the way back and you might have to wait for a few boats. To solve this I popped in and got some new curtains on the way home.

                                                                                Once you're in Red Hook it's a little bit more than a 5 minute walk to the intersection of Clinton and Bay where the vendors are set up.

                                                                                1. re: ballulah

                                                                                  I liken a necessary trip to IKEA hell. An unecessary trip to hell just to herd, gauntlet and wait in line for a receipt v. just waiting a bit longer for the boat is kind of a no brainer.

                                                                                  But back to the boat trip and your RH ball fields experience- its much longer than the uptown E.River commute to Fulton so sitting on top/outside if possible is lovely.

                                                                                  1. re: Ljubitca

                                                                                    Waiting a "bit longer"? My friend waited 2 hours with no sign of being able to board in the near future. She finally hoofed it to the subway.

                                                                            2. re: Nehna

                                                                              some reports including mine here:

                                                                              Crazy crowded, but worth it! Still, a different vibe than before.

                                                                              1. re: Nehna

                                                                                Went there on Saturday around noon. First of all, my fear of Ikea traffic didn't happen. Hardly any traffic. The biggest competitor is the pool, which was overflowing and most of those folks came over to eat. Also, plenty of parking to be had. Could have been the timing. And last year when we would head over, it was always around 11am and there never any problems. Assume Manhattanites would arrive in the afternoon where it would be a mad house, but I wouldn't know.

                                                                                There were about 6 vendors there. As someone pointed out, completely different vibe now that they're selling out of trucks. No more makeshift tents with benches that made it very neighborhoody. This just felt transient. I have no idea how the vendors survived cooking in their hot, tiny trucks with all those people to feed. More power to them.

                                                                                Of the vendors, here's what I counted and what I partook:
                                                                                1. Huarache truck. Last year, there were two vendors who sold huaraches. This time, only one truck and the longest line of all trucks, probably a good 45 minute wait, and that was in the morning. As we were eating, the line doubled. Quality not as good as last years but then again, since there were two last year, we always preferred the one on the southeast part of the field, not the north side. Not sure which vendor this was.

                                                                                2. Juice/Corn truck: I remember the corn vendor at the entry and there's was always mediocre but at least it was quick. This time, the corn was again mediocre but they were selling the majority of juices (as opposed to all vendors selling their own homebrew juices). That made the line insanely long. About 30 minutes.

                                                                                3. Papusa lady. Can't go wrong with her. Her papusa's were top notch as always. About 30 minutes wait. She had a ton of meat/cheese papusas ready and everything else was made to order.

                                                                                4. Enchilada and some other foods: Shortest line of them all, only about 8 people in line when I got in line for the papusas. Food looked good. I heard somebody say grasshoppers, but not sure if they sold them. Could have been interesting.

                                                                                5. Ceviche: Didn't venture over here, but by the looks of it, same ceviche vendor from last year serving that great jumbo shrimp. Looked good.

                                                                                6. Didn't walk down this far so not sure what this vendor sold. Hardly any lines, this wa the furth east vendor.

                                                                                We sat on the hills in the shade of the ball fields, right where my favorite huarache vendor was last year. Best to bring your own blankets as it's mostly dirt instead of grass. Half way into eating, the soccer matches started. Unfortunately, with the new set up, there's a clear delineation between the "gringos" eating and the soccer fans all the way on the other side as the bleachers were under the shade south of the field.

                                                                                Hope this helps and we'll be standing in line with all of you next weekend as well. Hopefully more vendors. Show your support to these folks, god knows they spent a ton of their money just to comply and again, I don't know how they managed the heat to cook in their tiny trucks. Tip them well. They deserve it and since we all waited three months for them, an hour in line should be nothing.

                                                                            3. Husband came back from a ride there today. Said there were 2 hour lines, - of the food he did taste he didnt care for it this round, he had a cheese empandada (to oily) and a papusa (bean and cheese) he found it very bland. He did however love the Tamarind Juice.

                                                                              1. Stopped by on Sunday while the rest of my family was in line for the pool (the opening of which was delayed from 11 AM by the policeman who had not shown up).

                                                                                Sortie 1:
                                                                                - Meat/cheese pupusa (3-person wait)
                                                                                - Agua fresca (2-person wait) were just as I remembered them. yum.

                                                                                Sortie 2 (kids were getting hungry):
                                                                                - Empanada from the Ceviche cart (little to no wait - didn't love it, but that's probably me and not the empanada)
                                                                                - 2 tacos from the huarache/taco truck on the Clinton Street side (3-person wait - yum, want more, and want a huarache next time)

                                                                                By this time (not sure exactly, but not yet noon) the pupusa line was too long to wait in for fear of the line moving. When we left the pool, the place was teeming.

                                                                                Fewer stations will mean longer lines, which should be ameliorated when more trucks come... but I'm worried about the time which will be involved in eating here, particularly if we want to hit more than one spot. May just end up as a solo jaunt down for an early lunch, rather than bringing the family - just too much time spent in line which is not tenable with the kids. We'll see, though.

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: cazique

                                                                                  Does anyone know whether Saturdays or Sundays tend to draw the bigger crowds to the soccer fields as a whole? Or certain times? I was there the weekend before the vendors opened, and it seemed really crowded... was there again for opening Saturday and though the food lines were long, the park seemed a little deserted. Is it a time of day thing? I like the atmosphere when it's really crowded and I can watch a little soccer with the crowds, and the little kids chasing one another, and the guys warming up, and everyone cooking out... Thanks!

                                                                                    1. re: cazique

                                                                                      ack, fewer stations, and a station is now a truck (only two people working in each truck) instead of a bunch of tables and grills with four - eight people working
                                                                                      SO much slower and less festive, this DOH approved system. I don't like the "roach coach" setup at all. But I do hope all of them take their big investments on the road and sell in other neighborhoods.

                                                                                      the ceviche was indeed tasty, and a buck or two more than last year I think

                                                                                      I don't think this is going to be a destination for me anymore. It was frustrating, especially since we used to go to three or four vendors in one trip.

                                                                                    2. If anyone is interested in taking a look at what Saturday looked like, my photo essay about my day out eating in Red Hook was just posted at the Village Voice online.


                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: ballulah

                                                                                        Nice pics! Thanks for sharing!

                                                                                        I think I'll be waiting a while before I check it out. Perhaps the waits will not be as bad by then.

                                                                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                          Don't be deterred by the waits, it was actually extremely fun. Everyone in line was extremely friendly and the atmosphere was very festive, AND the anticipation made the food that much tastier. Once you've eaten your fill, what do you do? Go home? The lines actually prolonged a very pleasant afternoon.

                                                                                      2. I don't know what these vendors do the other 5 days of the week, but someone could make a killing if they set up in DUMBO or Downtown Brooklyn.

                                                                                        Does anyone know if any of these trucks have gone "full time"?

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                                                                                        1. re: lambretta76

                                                                                          I talked with the daughter of the owner of the pupusa truck for a little while, and I don't think these folks realize how popular they are and why. I suggested that if they set up on any busy corner in Manhattan they would be doing insane amounts of business. They seemed reluctant to leave their day jobs. She also seemed to think that the main reason they were so busy was because of the swimming pool across the street.

                                                                                          1. re: ballulah

                                                                                            Whaaa? It's like those pretty girls who have no idea how pretty they are. We biked there from Clinton Hill just for the food!

                                                                                            I'm hoping more vendors show in the weeks to come. I'm addicted.

                                                                                            1. re: ch_smooth

                                                                                              I took the subway and a boat all the way from Washington Heights! So I feel you on the distance.

                                                                                              Incidentally, speaking of Washington Heights, 181st Street is worth exploring for intrepid foodies looking for a party. Many similar items are for sale as street food along 181st and up and down St Nicholas...lots of different stuff too. Has anyone ever tried "sweet beans"? The cart on 182nd and St Nicholas always has a long long line.

                                                                                              1. re: ballulah

                                                                                                You mean habichuelas con dulce, yes?


                                                                                                Is Nena La Rubia still there during the summer?

                                                                                        2. Since they dropped all that money on their new trucks, do you think they will continue into the Winter?

                                                                                          1. Oh well. I loved the dead show/ rainbow gathering communal vibe of everyone spread out on the sidewalk and the network of well used tarps providing shelter.

                                                                                            I guess the lack of running water for handwashing could present a problem, but I've never gotten ill from eating there.

                                                                                            1. Agree with several of the posts about the new vibe. The long lines change things in several ways. 1st, there is no possibility of browsing and snacking at multiple vendors, unless the ballfields are your only destination for the entire day. There is no going back for seconds or trying a pupusa and then a huarache. The atmosphere is not festive as some people have suggested. It is decidedly quiet and subdued. Probably this is because it is a rare child that could tolerate the impossibly long waits. Families walk over from the pool, suss out the wait and leave. So the vibe is older and less playful. Another big part of the changed vibe is the empty lawns, devoid of people playing and chatting on them. Why aren't people filling up the lawns while they eat and soaking in the sun? Because they are standing in line with food from one vendor and eating while standing up and waiting and waiting and waiting for another vendor. I was there yesterday for the first time this year and was turned off from what had been a favorite summer past-time of mine for years -- going nearly every weekend. Unfortunately, I don't believe that more trucks coming in, as a few people here have hoped, will do the trick. I think ArtichokeHeart nailed it on her blog ( http://artichokeheart.wordpress.com ), when she said that the trucks mean smaller cooking and order-taking areas. Whereas in previous years the vendors could handle 7-10 orders at once, they can now handle 2. It is a shame, and I don't think any of this is the fault of the vendors. The food is great and the tradition was marvelous. The government saw the increased attention from the likes of NYT and Bobby Flay and saw a cash opportunity. The changes are not about sanitation (show me the figures on the number of people that were sickened at this place and other festivals that are held in parks, sans "trucks"), they are about licensing fees and the governments "take". Terrible, terrible shame.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: JDBKLNY

                                                                                                We waited on line way too long (40m minutes). It makes it hard to sample multiple vendors unless you want to stand on line alone while others in your party do the same, staying in contact by cell phone. We noticed some people doing this. Fortunately, you can do quite well just going to one truck. It is my hope that the lines are especially long now because of first-timers, or at least first-time-in-a-long-timers. Hopefully the crowds will scale down as people realize the hassle involved, or, if there is a market for more trucks, then more trucks there will be--eventually.

                                                                                                1. re: JDBKLNY

                                                                                                  We were there the second weekend they re-opened. It was a Saturday, maybe 12-12:30, and lines were actually not too bad. We went to the pupusa stand that had no line (as opposed to the one with 10 or 15 people), then on to the huracha stand, where we waited about 15 minutes. Here's the thing. After we finally ordered, the preparation of our huracha took all of 1 minute. To me, that says they're precooking the masa bases (that's what they are, right?). And frankly, they did taste sort of warmed over. Not bad, but not the ethereal experience I recall. I can't be sure because of course you can't watch them do their thing anymore, but they never used to come out so fast and they were very, very fresh. Another sad by-product of the new system, I suppose.

                                                                                                  Also, a terminology question: I seem to remember in the past I used to ask for a huracha (usually with beef) with everything. And it would come with cheese melted on the masa, then the meat, and then the works. This time when I asked for the same thing there was no melted cheese. Did they just forget it, did the terms change, or was i supposed to ask for a huracha quesadilla? Please advise.

                                                                                                2. are the vendors only there on weekends?

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. Have the vendors closed up shop for the summer yet?

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                                                                                                    1. re: the_state

                                                                                                      When I went for Labor Day, they said about mid-November, IIRC.