By Leslie Albrecht
UPPER WEST SIDE — Would you like a hoop skirt with that ice cream cone?
The Parks Department is looking for food carts to sell "top quality cuisine" at Central Park's Cherry Hill, and it's giving preference to vendors with a "Victorian-era" look to their carts, according to a request for proposals released Monday.
The RFP doesn't specify how a modern food vending operation could incorporate elements from the Victorian era, which generally refers to the years 1837 to 1901, when Queen Victoria ruled the United Kingdom. The design of the period, marked by modest clothing and an emphasis on morality, generally revolves around highly ornate embellishments, art nouveau flair, and an emphasis on rich materials like marble, parquet and inlaid wood.
But as for the menu, Parks wants "high quality, yet affordable" foods with some healthy menu choices. Though not all healthy — Parks specifically names gourmet ice cream as a treat it's willing to consider for the five-year vending contract.
Pushcarts and "processing carts" that cook food are welcome, but not food trucks, the RFP states.
The Parks Dept. is also looking for a vendor whose cart has "designs of a premium quality and are inventive [and] interesting" and enhance the Cherry Hill surroundings.
Cherry Hill — a plaza with a Victorian fountain at the center — sits just north of the 72nd Street transverse, west of Bethesda Fountain, a short distance from Strawberry Fields.
The spot gets its name from the circle of cherry trees surrounding the plaza. The fountain was originally designed for passing horses to drink from, according to the RFP.
The area is being restored, and Parks wants to make Cherry Hill into "more of a destination," according to the RFP, which also states that adding a food cart supports the goal enhancing visitors' experiences at Cherry Hill.