With the date nearly upon us for Googa Mooga 2013, as much as we have learned, New York still seems to have a great way of keeping secret the best things it has to offer and then letting the world know it happened afterwards via friends twitter and Facebook accounts.
You may have missed it last year but a free mini festival that celebrated craft beer, fashionable food and the service industry artisans started to come on the radar with what seemed to be a few tickets left or released the week of. It’s destination was tasteful, in the epicurean epicenter of Brooklyn’s prospect park.
Well it’s on again and we can only barely remember what was so essential to the one day we made it.
As the event drew closer there seemed to be a lot of chatter and demand on social media for tickets. Some luckier than others. Demand was not without reason with names like Anthony bourdain, the roots, April Bloomfield and hall and Oates topping the entertainment. Hipster heaven dare I say.
The weather set the stage and gave no reason for the inaugural outing not to be a success with weather high in the 80s and feeling even hotter with the cloudless sky.
By all accounts Saturday was reminiscent of bread lines in communist Russia. Between all the teething problems of saturday and the searing heat it made life very easy on Sunday, deterring crowds early on and freeing up some of the stands for early risers.
On sunday , confusion still reined. The location of the entrance, masked in secrecy, and with a location apple maps would be proud of. People followed sound to the fence that surrounded the event and eventually led to said nondescript entrance.
Once the sea parted we entered and took our shoes off and roamed the green pastures. Thankfully we were early, aline to receive an id bracelet is required. Any good festival needs it and its only the ones with money and smarts arrive early to get approved of receiving alcohol. The Puerile always arrive late and in masses only making every line more congested than a Colombian overlords mirror.
Taking eyefulls and mouthfuls in equal doses. We ventured forth, Stop one: beer tent. After reading and hearing of so many beers that captured the palate and made beer geeks of all the skinny jean wearing pbr hugging participants, it was a major disappointment to see so many sold out before one, almost half. The cracks in the system were starting to show early.
Any seasoned or non seasoned service industry worker would see all the dry beer taps and wonder why these taps aren’t accommodating other beers. This was a recurring theme with stalls closing by three and four o clock.
The layout was well designed with just about every stand(and line) in full view of the main stage. One of the best features was a ‘grazing’ area with old police barricades turned into stand up tables that accommodated upward of 20 people with no space used, ingenious, no doubt able to double as crowd control if required.
The downside of the grazing area was the lines from every stall was uncontrolled. Like a toddler in a bar on Sunday afternoon patrons fell through the masses trying to get to the front of the line only to find that the lines were non existent as were the stands.
One by one they fell with their efficiency to serve and restock, closing all stores, mainly manhattan based ventures and then Brooklyn, with few like south Brooklyn pizza serving to the last beat of the drum. In fact south Brooklyn pizza served hall and Oates their after dinner meal.
Every stall served their food with the qualities of the best in show. The limited menus seemed to be hand picked by the gods. Although the gods couldn’t stop the troff from running dry. We could talk in length about the exemplary food we had, but 80% of that was amazing because it was good we had. Comparison is slim in examples for the Sunday menu with tired, spent, underprepared staff.
As stalls wrapped up, many hungry, tired and thirsty youngsters went in search of more. The young urban outfitters filled park slopes streets again this time in search of fulfillment, the final slice that golden Jameson, that vital kiss- everything that escaped them earlier in prospect park earlier.
The organizers at the end of the weekend wrapped with an air of success but with a realization that there was more to be done.
Word has it that every system has been tested and worked through and the only thing stopping googa mooga this year: rain.
Prospect Park – Brooklyn