Against the Food Trucks on Bedford Avenue

03/25/2010 12:01 PM |

Endless Summer Taco Truck

I am not against all food trucks, per se (I grew up eating roadside chip truck fries), but I can’t help feel a little sympathy for Bedford Avenue business owners who’ve finally mustered the temerity to voice their ire at beloved icons of overpriced mediocrity, the Endless Summer taco truck and its ice cream counterpart from Van Leeuwen.

Blackbird Cafe owner Emmanuel Cris had this to say to the Brooklyn Paper: “They affect business in the area in a pretty detrimental way. It’s tough enough to pay rent in this neighborhood.” Other local businesses complain that the taco truck doesn’t clean up its mess… and here’s where I jump in:

That taco truck creates a lot of messy garbage, its generator is loud and stinky, its line ups are irritating and congest the sidewalk, and its food is a notch below mediocre and it’s overpriced. That taco truck negatively affects my quality of life every day, not to mention I’m subsidizing its garbage clean-up; real restaurants have to pay to get their mess picked up at the end of the day.

I suppose I could understand the whole “but we’re providing food on the go!” argument if Bedford Avenue was lined with nothing but fancy, expensive restaurants, but it’s not. One block up from the taco truck sits Doner, a Turkish takeaway restaurant that opened last year and caters to all the same people looking for a quick bite on the run. The owner of Doner seems like a lovely woman (she really likes to talk about her food), and I admire her moxie in starting a small business during one of the worst recessions in a generation—so I guess I don’t think it’s fair that she’s paying an enormous amount of rent (on top of the aforementioned garbage fees) just so she can compete directly with someone a block away with waaay less overhead.

Ok, I understand that the ideal of free-market competition is ingrained in the American consciousness, and that this rant is verging on an Andy Rooney family newsletter, so I’ll leave you with one last bitter complaint (and maybe this is why I’m so specifically irritated by the taco truck): some of the best cheap tacos in all of New York City used to be available just 50 feet down the street from the taco truck, at the now-defunct Matamoros Puebla Grocery. They were superfresh, fast and delicious… until Matamoros went out of business because rents kept going up.

So every time I squeeze my way through the taco truck line I can’t help but think of better tacos for less money—and that makes me sad.

2 Comment

  • hear hear! i’m tired of crossing the street to avoid the throngs of oblivatronic taco orderers that ALWAYS block the sidewalk, and the mountains of garbage are disgusting.

    and i feel really bad for the nice wine shop, uva, whose doorstep is permanently darkened by the truck and its detritus. not to mention the drone of the generator 18 hours a day, and the clouds of exhaust belching onto the sidewalk (and into their store).

    trucks begone!

  • Better or worse:

    The taco van takes a hint from the more traditional incarnation* of the ice cream truck and begins to drive around from street to street, from neighborhood to neighborhood, alone or in fleets, serving clients who flock to it at occasional stops.

    I don’t necessarily think that’s a good idea, but it’s amusing to ponder and would probably be amusing to watch.

    What music would it play, for example?

    Un taquito de helado for your thoughts.

    * Incarnation is probably an awful word to use in reference to a vehicle driven by a person whose relationship with ice cream is generally manual. Well, now that sounds even worse. Nevermind.