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Red Hook Ball Fields

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.

Aug 04, 2008
JDBKLNY in Outer Boroughs