Yes. The Red Hook vendors have finally returned. And they couldn't have picked a hotter, more uncomfortable day for their delayed mid-season '08 debut. More people in the area were lined up for the public pool than the cheap tacos in the 94 degree heat, but no matter. Tacos and huaraches are back at the ball fields for the rest of the season. Here's the low down on today's debut:
The new look: The biggest change this year, is the oft-mentioned fancy DOH-approved trucks, which are found parked on the side of the street. The sidewalk surrounding the ball fields is where the scene is at this year.
The man: Cesar Fuentes, the vendors' rep, called the DOH-mandated changes "a financial and emotional burden." At the same time, he said, "the higher cost would have been to lose the permit, and the tradition...and that we couldn't afford."
The prices: The prices seemed ever-so-slightly higher.
The line-up: The Martinez truck was a popular draw, with its consistently long line and enormous, messy huaraches. The Ceron truck served up grilled meats and beef patties, and the Vaquero truck, with some prime real estate corner of Bay and Clinton, sold elotes and juices. Only six stands were open today, as the other four are awaiting DOH approval.
The crowd: Crowds were thin, probably ue to the heat and the fact that the big ribbon cutting ceremony with Chuck Schumer and Adrian Benepe is tomorrow.
— Reporting by Paul Caine