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Aug 23, 2008 06:13 AM

Red Hook Soccer Fields - Any less crowded?

I am thinking of heading over there tomorrow. Can anyone tell me if things have calmed down at all since the delayed season opening? Any advice on the best time of day to go?

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  1. I've only been once this summer, several weeks ago, on a rainy day. I wasn't there for the first weekend. But, if you have gone in years past, the lines are still much longer lines than in the past. Plus, now having only one huarache vendor (which is usually the most popular stand) made that line interminable.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jdf

      I totally agree. I was there last weekend and it was really unpleasant. Besides, I think the long lines and extra demand has caused the quality to suffer. It's starting to really feel like a tourist trap. I won't be going back for awhile.... Too bad.

      1. re: Deuce

        Yeah, that's the thing. I used to look forward to going maybe 4-5 times during the summer. I would get my food in 5 minutes at most, sit in the park and then go to another line to get more food when I felt like it. This time, it felt like a chore. We went to the Dominican stand solely because it had the shortest line. We started to wait for the huaraches and after 10 minutes (clearly seeing it would take 30-45 minutes) we just left. And yes, it is starting to feel touristy,more expensive, and less community like.
        Similarly, I jsut ahven't had teh desire to go back. Maybe in the Fall...

    2. We've gone twice this summer, on rainy Sunday afternoons. The place was deserted, yet we still waited on line. The puposa stand was the shortest wait, 15 minutes. We waited on line for 30 minutes for 1 huarache. Once we ordered, it took about 1 minute to prepare, since they seem to be making the torta (i think that's what it's called - the cornmeal part) ahead of time. It was good, but the wait was a bit of a turnoff.

      What a shame. Even on the busiest day in past years, I never had a more than 10 minute wait for a huarache cooked fresh.

      It seems like half of the vendors are gone and there was only one really loud radio echoing through the place. No clusters of extended friends and family helping out and socializing in the stalls, no kids running around playing.

      It totally feels like a tourist trap. Actually, these days the entire 'hood feels like a tourist trap....

      1. Was there this afternoon and I have to agree with the other posters that the ball fields just ain't what they used to be. The lines are unbearably long and the food just doesn't taste like it's getting the same love and attention it used to.

        We waited about 30-40 min for two huaraches and while they was freshly made, the ingredients seemed more soggy and not as sharp as they used to taste. The spices also seem to have been dumbed down a bit -- we used to get fiery hot food here, but lately it's barely spicy at all. I miss the old scene...

        2 Replies
        1. re: oolah

          Holy Crap! So it's true???? The city took this wonderful thing (that I first experienced almost twenty years ago) and not only turned it around 180 degrees into something un-loveable and un-wantable, but they made the vendors wait and wait and spend thousands of dollars to accomplish it. I don't think I've ever said it sincerely in my life, but here it is: when the whole thing goes in the tank, the vendors should sue.
          Ugh, it makes me sick.

          1. re: noisejoke

            In all fairness, a lot of the slide to "meh" could come from the massive crowds that are now coming for the food. It's hard to keep quality high when producing in such volume.

            (Not that I think the city was in the right in any way.)


        2. Went last Saturday around noon to avoid the lines. And there were no lines. We had the elote (grilled corn) which was astoundingly good just as in years past. We also had pupusas, huaraches, and a couple fruit juices. I didn't notice any decline in quality from last year. I do think the experience of the ballfields is diminished now that the vendors are in trucks along the streets rather than in tents in the park, but that really doesn't affect the food in my view. And it definitely still had the feel of a local scene when I was there.

          I guess I can see how the long lines might take enough away from the experience to make some say it just isn't what it used to be. And I guess it's possible that the quality declines when the vendors are trying to move the long lines. But I think it would be too bad if we wrote the ballfields off as a tourist trap just because they are drawing a larger audience. These are the same people making the same food as before, and in my experience there's still some good chow to be had.

          1. This thread is making me laugh. Any idea who made it into a tourist trap? one little guess. This was something that was a perfectly well oiled machine, that i have been going to for 20+ years.Cannot blame the new city restrictions because last year the crowds an hipters, word of mouth, news articles an chowhounders that posted about this wonderful place came like the goldrush, BEFORE the restrictions. I hated it. but i will never stop supporting them an help them raise their money. Hopefully now that its become "touristy" you can blog about the next cool spot an explode it into commercialism heaven, and the true die hard fans can finally enjoy the peace and quiet AGAIN. If you dont want explode a hot cool spot, DONT TALK ABOUT IT..