Smorgasburg-style indie food vendors may soon be scattered all across Prospect Park. DNAinfo reports that the Prospect Park Alliance is asking food businesses to apply to set up in the park this summer — the first time the park will ever have legal food carts. The alliance will accept as many as 16 carts in the 585-acre park.
Typical hot dog and pretzel carts alone won’t do, either. The request for proposal asks for the "most inventive, exciting food idea, whether you are selling an assortment of healthy, fresh salads to people on the go, or offering hot and cold delicacies from a distant homeland,” according to DNAinfo. That means if it’s not out of the question for start-ups like Big Mozz, Mr. Bing, and Kotti Berliner Doner Kebab may sell in the park soon.
It’s not a surprise that the park would look for “inventive” food when considering adding more carts. Creative food vendors in public spaces like Smorgasburg and the Urbanspace pop-ups across Manhattan are incredibly popular. Prospect Park even hosts Smorgasburg at a portion of the park, Breeze Hill. People still line up to sample novelty food like the ramen burger that debuted in 2013.
But they haven’t been without controversies. Many locals in Williamsburg hate that Smorgasburg is in East River State Park, saying that it’s a money-making enterprise primarily for tourists taking over what’s supposed to be a public space for locals.
The new Prospect Park plan looks like it won’t fall into that particular pitfall. While Smorgasburg takes over a huge portion of East River State Park, Prospect Park is much larger and will be spreading the various vendors over the entire park.
The alliance also may put fewer than 16 food carts in the park. “Prospect Park is currently a food desert," James Snow, the alliance chief operating officer tells DNAinfo. "Food is an important park amenity, and by putting out the RFP [request for proposals], we are trying to serve our park community better.”
See the full request for proposals here. The alliance will host a meeting for prospective vendors on March 28, and applications are due on May 8.