Let the Games Begin

By Grace Parisi Posted April 17, 2007

Last year, I discovered a little pocket of Central America practically in my (increasingly gentrified) backyard. For years, I'd been going to the Red Hook track in Brooklyn to do speed workouts—that's where you around a rubber track in really fast spurts—at the crack of dawn (fun, fun, fun!). Usually, by the time I finished, I'd notice small groups of Latinos setting up what looked like open-air food stalls all along the street flanking the soccer fields. It was always too early to smell any food cooking, but it looked promising.
Later one Saturday, when I was sure it would be in full swing, I went back and was just blown away. It really felt like Antigua, Guatemala, on market day. There were vendors selling fresh-made arepas, pupusas, soft tacos, fried sweet plantains, grilled meats and veggies, tropical fruits and liquados (dairy-free smoothies). The fruits-chunks of mango, pineapple and papaya-were, just like in Central America, sold in small plastic bags with forks and napkins. Thankfully, the sodas were not sold in plastic bags, as they also are in Central America-the vendors keep the bottle deposit that way. There's something so perverse about asking for a "bag of Coke"-if we were in Colombia, that would be a different story...
I loaded up with a cheese-and-meat-filled pupusa (a thick corn tortilla), an enormous soft corn taco with grilled beef, pickled cabbage and jalapeños, fresh salsa verde and crema, and made my way to the bleachers to watch an hour of some of the best soccer I've ever seen live.
What's the first thing that goes through my mind when I see my crocuses popping up? Soccer season in Brooklyn is about to begin. Oh yeah!

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