Few would praise Ridgewood for its bountiful park space, though we love what we’ve got in Grover Cleveland, Rosemary’s Playground, Mafera Park, etc. With such a limited selection, though, it’s surprising not many people know about our second-biggest park: Evergreen Park, just across the freight-train tracks in Ridgewood’s east-side “Cemetery Sliver.” We’d bet even fewer are aware that Ridgewood has a burgeoning, if modest, rival to the Red Hook Ballfields emerging on Sunday afternoons out there.
The only available online review of Evergreen Park reads “They play volleyball. And it always dirty.” We didn’t notice Evergreen being dirtier than the rest, but the volleyball competition is no joke. On any given Sunday, five or six volleyball nets sprout from the blacktop, and organized pan-Latino (but largely Ecuadorian) teams battle it out all afternoon, with family and friends watching on.
And, you know where there’s people gathered watching sports, there’s going to be food. While we’d love to see things blossom a little (currently the food scene is one serious cart and one guy with a cooler), it’s probably your only opportunity to eat a whole fried fish outdoors in Ridgewood.
When asked, the busy Ecuadorian ladies running the cart just gave “Salchipapas” as the cart’s name. Bright red hot dogs sliced so they explode crosswise, and homemade french fries? They’re in there, as are fresh red onions, iceberg lettuce, pale sliced tomatoes, ceviche-style lime vinaigrette, and a squiggle of mayonnaise and ketchup. But it’s the crispy whole fried fish* topping it all off that sets this aside as food worth taking a walk for.
While it’s not high cuisine, and you’ll find a lot of bones (though some of them were soft enough to eat), the simple joy of anything deep-fried in open air is hard to deny. Go for the experience, and you’ll be satisfied.
*Attempts to determine the variety of fish failed with the language barrier.
Just east of the railroad tracks at the end of Forest Avenue, between 75th Avenue & St. Felix Avenue [map]
JTP is Ridgefood’s food cart correspondent. He also co-tweets @Ridgefood. Follow us!