Mmmm, the Red Hook Ball Fields

Pitchers, catchers, and eaters report to Red Hook for spring training.Photos by Alexa Matson


Local asparagus, the Beard Awards, the shattered hopes of Knicks fans there are a lot of unmistakable signs of spring in New York. But none trump the opening of the Red Hook Ball Fields, an explosion of ethnic home cooking and childrens soccer.

The vendors make up a de facto Latin American food court, with each stand offering some kind of handmade regional specialty. The Colombian stall offers dense, cheesy arepas, corn pancakes as pleasurably stultifying as opium; the El Salvadoran stand, rich and spicy papusas, meat-stuffed turnovers inside flaky dough. There are two Mexican stalls, one offering pork quesadillas and bottled sangria, and another barbacoa (spiced braised lamb or goat) or, if youre not up to that, cold boxes of fresh-cut tropical fruit.

The only barrier, really, is your appetite nothing costs more than $5, and everyone is friendly enough to accommodate you if you dont happen to speak Spanish. But it takes more than a few trips to sample everything. (Next week we plan on having some irresistibly brittle and salty Honduran chicharonnes, or fried pork skins.)

A sight we've longed for all winter.

Yes, we have bananas ... and tortillas ... and yuca ...

Go for the greasy goodies like these stuffed potatoes or maybe just some cold papaya and mango.

Related: The Red Hook Diet