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Truck no! Coney Island civic panel pans proposal to park a single food truck outside Asser Levy Park

Don’t feed the park goers: Coney Island civic gurus on Community Board 13 voted down a Parks Department–backed proposal to park a food truck outside the neighborhood’s Asser Levy Park, arguing such a vehicle would siphon business from existing area eateries.
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They’re not trucking around.

Coney Island civic gurus bashed a city proposal to park one food truck near the neighborhood’s Asser Levy Park, claiming the four-wheeled grub hub would be disastrous for the local economy, attract too many outsiders to the area, and single-handedly discourage residents from dining at other family-owned eateries in Sodom by the Sea.

“We didn’t want to be congested with food trucks, we didn’t want there to be more garbage than there is already, and we also wanted to have the support of local restaurants, diners, convenience stores,” Susan Flaschenberg, the co-chairwoman of Community Board 13’s Parks Committee, said at a Nov. 28 meeting about the plan.

CB13’s full board voted down the proposal backed by the Department of Parks and Recreation at the meeting, with 20 members against it and 10 in favor. The majority merely wanted to protect existing mom-and-pop eateries by casting its no vote, according to the other chairwoman of the panel’s Parks Committee, whose members also panned the proposal at an earlier Nov. 1 committee meeting.

“It’s the simple reason that it interferes with local commerce,” said Barbara Teitelbaum.

Both votes, however, are purely advisory, and Parks Department leaders will make the final call on whether to proceed with the scheme, which would allow one food truck to park outside the green space bordered by Surf Avenue, Sea Breeze Avenue, and Ocean Parkway for five years, according to an agency spokeswoman, who said the chosen vendor would only be able to drive around and set up shop at another location in the neighborhood if granted a separate permit for that location.

Interested food-truck operators could submit applications to be the lucky vendor through Nov. 30, and now Parks Department bigwigs will review the list of hopefuls before returning to the community board early next year with their decision, which will “take [the board’s] concerns into considerat­ion,” the spokeswoman said.

The 10 board members who supported the proposal, however, hope the agency doesn’t put too much stock in their colleagues’ majority no vote, with one food-truck proponent arguing the area is barren and in desperate need of more dining options.

“As you walk around Asser Levy, there are very few options for food,” said Mario Caggiano. “You have to walk very far to hit some of these small businesses. And I also feel some of the food trucks are small business in themselves.”

Another panel member who voted in favor of the food truck said such vehicles should be available throughout the neighborhood — especially in the West End — because there aren’t enough restaurants to serve Coney’s growing population.

“There aren’t enough food choices in Coney Island’s West End — if you go anywhere past the train stations, there aren’t many options, other than Chinese and fried chicken,” said Orlando Mendez. “The food trucks should be allowed out there as long as they’re not parked in front of a restaurant.”

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Posted 12:00 am, December 5, 2018
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Reader feedback

David G. from Coney Island says:
Comm. Board 13 has to go, they are just a bunch of old raisins with old school views on the economy and neighborhood development. Bring on the 5$ lattes, bring on the food trucks, the luxury housing, and our beloved trader joes! THE YOUNGER GENERATION WANTS IT ALL. DONT LISTEN TO THE SENIORS AND THE SECTION 8'ERS WHO ARE AFRAID THEY WILL BE PRICED OUT. Stop listening to those dried up prunes, they are the reason coney island is in such a bad state...but not for long.
Dec. 5, 10:12 am
BklynWonder says:
I'm one of the old dried up prunes that live in the neighborhood. Believe it or not, we think that you young'uns are an asset to the neighborhood and we hope that you bring in some fancy hipster coffee shops and avocado toast joints. We love them just as much as you do and we'll be sitting right next to you with our bony, shaking hands, enjoying our five dollar lattes. A Shake Shack would be wonderful too and I'm with you on Trader Joe's. Would love to see one here instead of yet another Net Cost. But take a walk at night on the blocks around this park and you will see rats all over the place. The last thing this park needs is a food cart that will generate more food waste. I'm sure that you don't want your kids breathing in rat poop as they run around on the grass. By the way, David G., if you're really, really lucky, you'll get to enjoy this neighborhood as much as I have. Looking forward to seeing you in Trader Joe's !
Dec. 5, 11:29 am
David G. from Coney Island says:
Best response yet BklynWonder! I do agree with you about keeping the park clean, valid point. And there are over 40 stores coming to the area in the next 1-3 years so I guess we will have an increase in food options anyway. I all catch you over some toast or at the new bagel spot that's coming soon. If only everyone had your views, this neighborhood would become amazing at a faster rate!
Dec. 5, 11:47 am
Harvey Fishman from Brighton Beach says:
I live across Ocean Parkway from Asser Levy Park. When I moved here 4.5 years ago, there was one thing that I missed from my old neighborhood (Flatlands) and that was fast food places. This area is a desert as far as these kinds of places are concerned. No hamburger places or fried chicken or even a chinese takeout joint. Bring on foodtrucks!!!
Dec. 5, 1:47 pm
BklynWonder says:
Some people may do all of their shopping at a Trader Joe's while for others, an item or two there would be an occasional luxury. People of limited means are not the enemy. What is most important is that we realize that we are part of the same community. We have more in common than you think. Everyone loves a good burger!
Dec. 5, 2:02 pm
David G. from Coney Island says:
I dont think anyone is blaming a demographic or a financial status, an age or a culture. In a portion of coney, it's the few that make it unsafe.
Dec. 5, 2:35 pm
David G. from Coney Island says:
Its how the world runs, how the economy works. We finally realized that Coney is prime real estate by the water (simply a luxury) and that it was a mistake for Robert Moses to bring the projects to Coney, now the decision is being corrected at the expense of a few but for the greater good of many tax paying citizens. I think people are blind to the changes, Comm Board 13, barely has any power when it comes to big developers...they're just an annoying fly that eventually gets swapped and the decision stays upheld. So many great things coming, expansion of awesome locations that are already established here and many many new ventures/venues to come. Yes it will be pricier, for some a luxury. If you can stay then you have won and made a great investment. GENTRIFICATION IS NEAR and the ferry will change this neighborhood with additional tourism and faster access to the city.
Dec. 5, 2:37 pm
David G. from Coney Island says:
From an investment point of view, myself and many others who have vested interest in multiple units and land...the point is to increase value continuously, bring great food options, bars, clubs, activities, luxury living etc. Unfortunately, as a cause the low income, the seniors will be affected due to the incoming gradual changes.
Dec. 5, 2:38 pm
Lena from Brighton Beach says:
Sad, but. There are at least two "fried chicken" places on Brighton, but who wants to check before writing a comment. Anyway, let's talk about a food truck in question. First there are two trucks parked just across the street from park from April to October. Second, it is not about food options but about procedural errors. Third, there are will be more restaurants and bars in few years but first and foremost it should be a program or initiative to help many business owners who are hete for years. Bringing all "new options" without helping local store keepers is a practice of ignorance. Most of local business owners are our neighbors. Also food trucks or carts, except those with the park department permit, are free to choose almost any location they want. In Front of a Restaurant, take out good place, etc. and there is no enforcement. Park Department, for example, has only two inspectors to address violations, health department has also less than five throughout the city. So, before advocating for trucks standing next to restaurants or cafes, city should have enough enforcement agents.
Dec. 5, 3:37 pm
David G. from Coney Island says:
Can't speak to the enforcement of permits for food trucks. However, if we are discussing Coney past the aquarium then there are barely any options for real food and the options that are there have terrible ratings, so a surplus of food options would be great (fried chicken and pancakes are not in consideration as it serves a specific demographic which will no longer be here in the coming years). Towards the Brighton side quality and selection is an issue, in addition to lackluster customer service..businesses should have vested proper resources into improving quality and service before realizing they might lose $ due to competition. Also, competition is always great for the consumer, you will have locations that will compete on price but usually in such an environment quality popups always prevail. WE CAN ONLY HOPE FOR QUALITY CAFES, RESTAURANTS AND MORE. Let's get more hipsters and a wide variety of international cuisine that will put Coney on the map. As for current businesses, hope they go bankrupt or phase out due to there dry service and low-quality cuisine.
Dec. 5, 4:47 pm
James says:
A shame the Tuesday night summer concerts were banned because of the unrelated Thursday night ones hosted by Marty Markowitz. The Tuesday night concerts were very low decibel shows that weren't loud and had performers who were for the older generation. For many people who are old or with limited mobility, this was one of few options for entertainment. As for the Thursday night Seaside concerts, They are poorly advertised and at the Ford Ampitheater venue which is very hard for people to get to with mobility issues. These concerts brought the community together and was a nice opportunity for political candidates and elected officials to chat with the community. Looks like the current powers that be don't care.
Dec. 5, 6:54 pm

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