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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Breaking Red Hook News

A new “situation” is brewing at the Red Hook Soccer Fields.

Last Friday at approximately 4:30 pm, Food Committee Executive Director Cesar Fuentes discovered that the Department of Health was going to institute a flash, somewhat surreptitious inspection of the Soccer Field Food Stands at noon on Saturday. The implication: if things were not up to snuff, the fields would be shut down.

Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez was alerted. She immediately called the Mayor's office, and arrived to monitor the inspection in-person. In so doing, she defused a potentially big bomb. Rather than threatening closure, the DOH simply offered a list of “suggestions.”

Foremost amongst these: no running water at the fields. So today (Tuesday) at 5:15 pm, Cesar was contacted about a “big” meeting Wednesday with the Deputy Commissioner of Health. Pressure has intensified, City Officials are again flexing muscle, and the implied bottom-line is rough. Worst-case scenario, the Vendors will have to shut down operations stat to comply with DOH mandates. But we wont know anything until tomorrow afternoon.

I'll post developments as they arrive. But if you feel like doing something in the meantime, send Councilwoman Gonzalez a note of support.

Back next week on the search for delicious, regardless.



Blogger Asad said...

Bonjour Slab,

Thanks very much for this - as much as I love your normal operation, the Red Hook reportage feels like the most important thing the blog could be doing currently. Do keep it up and us posted.

Hoping very hard for a good outcome...

10:38 AM  
Blogger J. Slab said...

tks asad, i must say this latest move feels shady, and potentially severe. rather than back down or work towards a mutually beneficial resolution, the gears actually seem to be tightening on multiple fronts. hoping for the best, but what do i know... i'm just a pork-eatin' man....

10:56 AM  
Blogger HMM said...

Thanks for this posting. I finally went to the ballfields for the first time this past weekend and felt as if I had found the holy grail! They cannot shut it down!!

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was there with some friends. They were being pretty reasonable about the inspection. Talking to the vendors, translators on hand.

I really hope they keep it open. Simply amazing food all around.

5:37 PM  
Blogger Nathan Kensinger said...

Man, the DOH is on a rampage this summer. Someone should do an indepth story on that. They are really closing things down as quick as they can. And they seem to be focused on popular foodie places, like the ballfields, difaras.... whats the agenda? Why dont they bust some more fast food joints?

I'll be at the ballfields this weekend. Hope its not the last time they are open.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Dave Rodriguez said...

Im flabbergasted!! The officials in this city just don't stop amazing me. We witness everyday rampant construction violations that harm countless of people, but the city is unable to "cope" with the number of incidents and turns a blind eye. Yet, somehow the little guy has to fight constantly to survive. Where has the DOH been all these years?!?! How ironic...all of a sudden the same year the Dept of Parks decides to make the vendors bid for the right to be there and somewhat loses because of public outcry...then pops in the DOH to take its shot at the Red Hook vendors. I hate to say this...but this might be the straw that breaks the camel's back. DOH and the "city" will come in and state no special conditions can be applied to the vendors and they will need to comply by the same rules as everyone else. They will say they have no choice. In the end, the DOH is overreacting to the backlash they received for being so lax for so many years. But talk about a bunch of brianless tools. Don't they know how to find a middle ground in this whole process. How many small businesses have been hurt by their strong approach over the last several months?

Really hope the Red Hook vendors survive this year intact. Moving out to Seattle or San FRan is becoming more ideal.

Thanks for the updates.

3:30 PM  
Blogger rmunguia said...

I am a native "Park Sloper" I have never gotten sick all the years I have attended this wonderful summer treat!!!!
I am more leery of the hotdog vendors in NYC!

I have seen dirtier fast food restaurants, stores etc.

Let's hope this place is saved.

10:03 AM  

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