[UPDATE BELOW] On Sunday MeanRed Productions, which has had past success hosting funky parties and concerts at unique locations like BKLYN Yard, held a big food truck festival on Governors Island. By all accounts, it was a total clusterfuck, and dissatisfied attendees have taken to Twitter and the blogs to vent about the looooong hour-plus lines for each truck. (We warned you!) As one attendee wondered, "Anyone else at the #parked festival come close to eating their own foot in desperation?" And on the Nona Brooklyn blog, one Colleen Kane UNLOADS:
On arrival to Parked, we instantly saw that our afternoon was going to be no damn fun and all damn lines. It was a circle of trucks turned toward the center with lines tangling and winding and filling the entire middle space... I queued up for Rickshaw Dumplings, which required walking out of the previously mentioned circle center and into the street behind the trucks. My husband got on the line for lobster rolls from Red Hook Lobster Pound.
In approximately one hour on that line, I watched incredulously as boatloads of new line-waiters arrived by the hundreds. My friend brought over a decent V Spot veggie empanada with a great spicy sauce, before he relieved me of my shift on line for the last half hour or so of the wait... My husband was not so fortunate. After one hour and forty minutes on line, he rejoined us, cursing a blue streak and ready to tear a tree out of the ground and Hulk smash a lobster roll out of the hand of the next person he saw. When he was only about ten line-waiters away from his lobster roll goal, Red Hook Lobster Pound ran out of lobster. But that didn't stop one of the last people on line to get served from walking away with six of the last ten rolls.
Then there was the hour-long wait for the (free) ferry home—though what do you expect considering they only run twice an hour and the island was mobbed with 10,000+ visitors? That said, considering the level of rage evinced on Twitter, we're impressed these frustrated foodies didn't leave behind an array of burning, overturned food trucks. As another Twitter user puts it, "Who would think you'd leave a food event eating from a hot dog stand and a vending machine?"
UPDATE: We reached out to MeanRed for comment, and here's what the organizers have to say:
Once again, thank you so much for supporting our Parked: Food Truck Festival at Governors Island. It was a heck of a day, with over 17,000 people crossing the river to come to the island, a considerable amount of them to attend PAKRED.
We were really excited to be invited to Governors Island to produce this event, and have a chance to celebrate the diverse food truck community in NYC. But needless to say, we were shocked and overwhelmed with the response. We did our best to accommodate as many people as possible but now understand that its better to limit attendance and capacity at events like this to ensure that everyone can enjoy a taste. For our future events we plan on implementing a capacity to minimize cluttered space, tripling our staff and volunteers, and having stricter requirements about how much product our vendors need to arrive with in order to participate.
One of the greatest things about eating from a food truck is that it is such a personal exchange. You are often meeting with the person who owns the truck, and they are creating amazing food for you - to order - in a short amount of time. What we learned on Sunday is that this unique personal experience that makes the trucks special, also creates a considerable delay when you are trying to serve for volume. We are working with our vendors to find the best way to get attendees the fresh personalized food experience while expediting the serving process to avoid the considerable delays. Some of our adjustments will include: servers walking throughout the space, a serving table in front of the cart, a prep table behind the cart, stationed lines and volunteers directing attendees to keep things organized.
Moving forward, we are committed to finding a way to promote the growing food truck culture and these amazing independent business owners while also making sure that no one walks away hungry. We are already scheming a bigger and better festival for next year, complete with snacks and "food event survival guides". It's going to be a huge endeavor, but it's worth it. NYC deserves events that celebrate the incredible people who live and work here and that has always been what MeanRed is dedicated to highlighting within our programming, even when we have a learning curve.
MeanRed built BKLYN Yard as a passion project to celebrate the music and food within its community. When we closed its doors, it was the first time we realized the overwhelming amount of people we had touched, and their support. In the spirit of that, we have taken our BKLYN Yard programming to new venues and more people, and yet again are humbled and overwhelmed by how many people we have reached.
MeanRed is dedicated to our community and appreciate all the support and patience from the attendees at PARKED and the Governor's Island Staff. We can’t express how deeply it impacts us when we hear peoples disappointment in an event. We hear all of your feedback and will be making changes to make these events the best. We want to hear and learn from the people who come to our events! Contact us at: info@MeanRedProductions.com