NYC Resources311Office of the Mayor

Red Hook Recreation Area

Red Hook Food Vendors Open For The Season


Sunday, July 20, 2008
No. 83
http://www.nyc.gov/parks

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined Senator Charles Schumer, Congress Member Nydia Velazquez, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, State Assembly Member Felix Ortiz, City Council Member Sara Gonzalez, and Cesar Fuentes, Executive Director of the Food Vendors Committee of Red Hook Park Inc., to celebrate the opening of the season for this Brooklyn institution.

“We are thrilled to say ‘Welcome back’ – or ‘Bienvenidos de nuevo’ -- to the Red Hook Food Vendors. One of the great New York City pleasures is enjoying tacos, huaraches and other fine Latin American cuisine at Red Hook Park,” said Commissioner Benepe. “We at the Parks Department are thrilled that this longstanding gustatory tradition has been renewed and we encourage all New Yorkers, gourmets and gourmands, to beat a path to Red Hook Park to indulge their taste buds. We are grateful to the vendors who worked hard to meet the City’s legal requirements, and to our colleagues in the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene who helped the vendors get their permits.”

“These vendors are a Brooklyn gem, and I’m thrilled that they will be supported and celebrated for Red Hook and New York to enjoy,” said Senator Charles Schumer. “The diversity and vitality they bring to this city is a cultural treasure. Kudos to Commissioner Benepe; I’m pleased the city has decided to preserve this culinary landmark that is the epitome of urban renewal and promise that New York has strived to embody.”

“Today we celebrate the return of food vendors to Red Hook Park,” said Congress Member Nydia Velázquez “These hard-working Latino entrepreneurs are an important staple of Brooklyn’s community and an essential part of our local economy.”

“Seeing our beloved Red Hook vendors serving up their famous tacos, pupusas, huaraches, empanadas and other delicacies will be extra special this summer, and I urge everyone from Brooklyn and beyond to come get a taste of Mexico and Central and South America right here in Brooklyn U.S.A.,” said Borough President Marty Markowitz. “I am so proud that my office has been able to support these hard-working vendors in the fight to save what has grown into a cherished Brooklyn tradition—feeding footballers, spectators and ‘foodies’ alike at the Red Hook ball fields—and satisfying big, Brooklyn appetites like mine for many summers to come. Felicidades a los vendedores, celebrando el sabor Latino de Brooklyn. ¡Viva Red Hook y viva el fútbol!”

“As a long time supporter of the Red Hook Food Vendors, I’m extremely happy to see that the permit situation has been successfully resolved through the collaborative efforts of the Department of Health, the Parks Department and the Food Vendors Committee of Red Hook Park, Inc.,” said Assembly Member Felix Ortiz. “This is an example of the Red Hook community coming together and making their voices heard. Thanks to these food vendors, Red Hook Park has become a destination place which certainly benefits the community at large.”

“I can only say that I share in the delight of the vendors, the community and the many visitors who were all so concerned that these traditional ‘mercado’ style food offerings might be lost to us forever,” said Council Member Sara González. “I am and have always been of the firm opinion that we could work out a permanent solution that would ensure the Red Hook Vendors will serve us all for years and years to come. Throughout this whole process, the Mayor’s Office and the entire administration, including the Parks and Health Departments, has been most cooperative and transparent and I wish to express my sincere gratitude to them.”

“We are extremely happy to be able to resume our long awaited season,” said Cesar Fuentes, Executive Director of the Food Vendors Committee of Red Hook Park Inc. “Looking back at the difficult road of compliance that led this far, the Red Hook Food Vendors have become a stronger, more knowledgeable group in the process. This experience earned can only help us provide a better service to our patrons, fans, and New Yorkers in general who like to enjoy some of the most authentic, traditional, & delicious Pan-Latin foods in the city in such unique, natural setting. We would like to thank NYC Parks for allowing us to continue this 34 year old tradition for another 6 years. Their pro-active & sensible approach to our situation has really made a difference.”

The vendors' permit is effective for a six-year term and provides for the operation of an ethnic and specialty food market in Red Hook Park. Earlier this year, the Parks Department issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for food vending at this site. During the evaluation process, Parks looked at factors including planned operations, variety of cuisine, prior operating experience, fee offer and financial capacity. Prior to their opening, the vendors were required to obtain proper food vending permits and licenses from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

In recent years, vendors have drawn New Yorkers and tourists alike to Red Hook Park, for tasty Latin American specialties. Originally, temporary permits were issued but as the vendors gradually became a permanent fixture, it became clear that a permanent permit was required to best comply with city concession regulations.

To view a video on the Red Hook food vendors, please visit http://nycgovparks.org/sub_newsroom/video/?search=red+hook

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