Letter to the Editor: Food Trucks Build Community

Green Street resident Nicole Fonsh writes in to share her views on food trucks, small businesses, and the community they build.

To the Editor,

I have been a proud Coolidge Corner resident for about three years.  Having attended both undergraduate and graduate school in the area, I’ve lived from Roxbury and the Back Bay to the North End and South Boston.  And I couldn’t be happier now living in Brookline. It is a wonderful area with lots to offer and residents that seem to take great pride in their community. I thought it couldn’t get better.

And then --I think I actually yelped with joy. Having enjoyed the food trucks that have popped up in Boston, I was thrilled to hear Brookline was going to get a piece of the action. I think food trucks are what is all about--creative and delicious ways to reach the people in the neighborhood; people who are quite literally, within walking distance. Food trucks in Brookline seemed like a great proposal that would bring both young and old, singles and families together. Food trucks would also encourage people to discover and explore the surrounding local businesses. As someone who has often felt like I don’t really belong in the area, with my absence of children, I was excited to see something proposed that would really invite all residents to participate, and at the same time, encourage entrepreneurship and small business.   

So, I was pretty surprised when I . With the influx of new banks to the area and the complaints that have surrounded that business, the food trucks seemed like a perfect counteraction to keep a great balance in the area of food, retail, and other services.  I am honestly pretty confused and frustrated by the immediate dismissal of what . I do not understand why people would not want to give small and local businesses a chance in the area. Just because they have wheels does not mean they can’t add to the permanent vitality of the area.  

My uncle owned and operated a hot dog cart for much of his life in the New London, CT area. He was constantly embattled by towns on where he could and could not set up his business. He passed away almost 10 years ago, but I know he would love to have seen the growth of food trucks in the country. People still remember him as the hot dog man, and I believe he brought something to those towns that goes beyond what brick-and-mortar can. His cart was like an outside town hall. Bringing people from all walks of life together to see what was new for lunch.    

As someone who hopes to stay in the Brookline area, I hope that we give these food truck owners a chance to become a part of our community and to bring a little something different to our town.  

Nicole Fonsh
Green Street Resident

Do you have an issue in or out of town that you want to write about? Send Patch Editor Grahame Turner your letter to the editor, or ask about . Send an e-mail toGrahame.Turner@Patch.com

Ellen N. Winer March 10, 2012 at 11:02 AM
I am appolled at the lack of knowledge and the consequences of flooding our community with Food Trucks. I wonder if the person supporting this venture is a property owner in Brookine. A magnificant residential community that includes valuable and high end communities. Why not poll some of those residents and owners. More to the point is the health issues. Will the Board of Health in Brookline monitor safety and health conditions. The trucks at Cleveland Circle do not seem to have bathrooms and people handling food do not wear gloves. I do not agree with this person and again wonder if she would feel differently if she is invested in the community with ownership in property here. Does she have any notion of the health risks of such operation void of food handling as well as health and safety issues. Where are the toilets?
Nicole Fonsh March 10, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Hi Ellen Thank you so much for your comments. It seems you are bringing up two points here so I'll try to separate them out in my response. First, the health issues. I think that is a very valid concern. You are right, I am not aware of the health risks of such an operation. Do you know of specific violations that have been made in Cleveland Circle? Do they go beyond violations that brick and mortar restaurants make? Have there been health issues as a result of the food trucks in Cleveland Circle or other locations? I am more than open to learn about this if I was provided with some more research. In terms of your second point where you seem to suggest that I have nothing invested in the community because I do not own property, well I'd have to disagree with you on that. You are correct. I do not own property in the area. It is not out of a lack of interest or commitment, but a lack of financial ability. Having owned property a few years ago in the North End, I can tell you that my commitment and investment in a community doesn't necessarily grow or decrease based on my home ownership. A community should welcome all of its residents to have a stake in what happens, not just the property owners. I find it a bit shocking to suggest that only property owners have a vested interest in their community. There are ways to connect to a community beyond owning property. Shame on you for suggesting otherwise.
Grahame Turner March 10, 2012 at 07:38 PM
At least in terms of toilets, there are a number of public toilets available in town. There's a map here: http://patch.com/A-ppqf
Adam Gendreau March 10, 2012 at 11:09 PM
As a mobile food operator in Boston looking to know more about the Brookline program, I'm curious as to what you think the consequences of flooding your community with food trucks would be. It sounds like your lavatory-related concerns could simply be addressed by a phone call to the Brookline health department. They might get a kick out of the "where are the toilets" query. With regards to the insinuation that food trucks could have the potential to lower property values - do you have evidence of this, or just conjecture? It must be a strange community that you live in where only property owners are allowed to have valid opinions on local economic growth.
John Kirriemuir March 11, 2012 at 01:18 PM
MoonBeamWatcher - the considered and polite piece by Nicole is deserving of more consideration than your foul-mouthed dictatorial reply. It seems strange telling someone who claims to be over 70 years to grow up, but if you cannot debate in a civil and adult fashion, then your argument - no matter what it is - lacks credibility.
Ugiveme aheadache March 11, 2012 at 03:42 PM
The ad-hominem attacks on the author of this piece suggests that perhaps she should have more mouth. Brava to Nicole! And thank you, Ms. Whiner for letting me know that I am not wanted in your neighborhood... I'll take my money somewhere else.
Grahame Turner March 11, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Your opening comment certainly crosses a line. Everyone on this site has a right to voice an opinion, and you have no right to say that someone does not--I checked the terms and conditions, and it's not in there. While you do raise a valid point or two, you have not gone about it in the right way. This is something I have mentioned to you in the past: the problem is not your rambling content, it is your tone. If I give you benefit of the doubt, I assume you are attempting to be snarky and sarcastic, however because sarcasm doesn't transfer into text, and because we don't know you--or even your name--your comments tend to come across as unnecessarily mean. This unpleasantness is unacceptable, and I am left feeling that I have given you benefit of the doubt for too long. Consider this a final warning. Another attack on a user, and I will revoke your commenting privileges. You are free to disagree, but you must be respectful--at over 70, I should not have to remind you of this.
MoonBeamWatcher March 12, 2012 at 03:46 AM
Nicole Fonsh, you are a very newbe to the little People's Republic. Brookline is LOADED with transients, it is known that 4 out of 10 citizens have not lived in town for the past 10 years and will not in another 10. Opinions are like orfaces everyone has one, other ideas are always welcome, but this born in Brookline Oldster of over 70 yrs can tell you and all the other yuppies that the rents are murder in our town! Just how many carnations must be sold to pay the rent? Same goes for the electricity, heat, AC, water and sewer which is all in addition to RENT with neat little clauses that increase any and all creative trash and sewer charges! Then our "Leaders" Meter Fee time extension which has driven customers to Allston! Add in the added cost of cleaning up the trucks food packaging after their clients dine on our benches! I fully give credit to the death of the Fruit and Vegetable stand that was in Coolidge Corner for almost as long as Irvings to the Farmers Market! Just how often does one purchase vegetables? One store out of business for the sake of out of town farms! I say run a bus to the Brookline Alendale Farm! Hope this keeps focus on the MESSAGE to Ms. Fonsh and is a tad less Snarky!
Grahame Turner March 13, 2012 at 02:49 AM
I appreciate the effort, but I'm afraid that the damage has been done. Once you say something, you can't really unsay it. To best avoid this situation in future, re-read what you're about to post before you post it--ideally, aloud--and if in doubt, rephrase it.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »