BY KEVIN DUGGAN
Greenspace gurus canceled
their search for an open
air food market concession at
Marsha P. Johnson State Park
Monday, following calls from
locals for more community input
on the Williamsburg waterfront
The New York State Offi ce
of Parks Recreation and Historic
Preservation withdrew a
Request for Proposal for an alfresco
grub market at the Kent
Avenue space, which sought
to issue a fi ve-year public-private
contract for the site previously
leased by the popular
Smorgasburg food fair.
“As we welcome the transformation
and the new experience
we … think it is prudent
to cancel the current open food
market RFP at this time,” said
agency spokesperson Randy
Simons in an email obtained
by Brooklyn Paper
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Since 2013, Smorgasburg
has run its popular market
every Saturday during the
warmer months with an annually
renewed permit, but
the new RFP, which was due
March 2, offered a fi ve-year license
with an option to extend
for another fi ve years at the
space formerly known as East
River State Park.
Locals who have criticized
Smorgasburg for hogging the
space during primetime weekends
for the better part of the
past decade, however, were incensed
that the state was about
to auction off the space for possibly
10 years without input
from the community and only
a month to take bids.
“We wanted to make sure
that if there is a vendor that
they’re a community partner
and to make sure that all businesses
have the opportunity to
apply and be part of that conversation,”
said local district
leader Kristina Naplatarski.
Offi cials had agreed to extend
the RFP until April 15,
but called it off after activists
— consisting of Brooklyn
Allied Bars and Restaurants
and the North Brooklyn Waterfront
Coalition — called on
the agency to withdraw the request
entirely, issue another
one-year permit instead, and
work with residents to craft a
“Recent public workshops
have highlighted the diversity
of opinion on the appropriate
commitment of these park
spaces and its future park
uses,” wrote Simons.
Another Parks spokesman
confi rmed the agency plans to
lease the land to Smorgasburg
for this upcoming season, and
will work with stakeholders
on the park’s future.
“State Parks expects to
Smorgasburg at Marsha P. Johnson State Park before the pandemic.
File photo by Scott Lynch
issue a one-year permit to
Smorgasburg to operate a
food fair this season, as it
has in recent years. We look
forward to continuing to engage
with park stakeholders
about the long-term future of
a food fair,” said Dan Keefe in
Naplatarski said the move
offers the chance to look for a
vendor that gives back to the
neighborhood through benefi
ts like local hiring and better
trash cleanups, an issue in
the area where garbage cans
routinely overfl ow on warm
weekends when locals and visitors
fl ood north Brooklyn.
“There’s an opportunity to
color in the lines here to ensure
that the bar is set higher
for whoever is applying for
this RFP,” she said.
State Parks cancels bidding for Smorgasburg
space after locals demand more input
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