The mysterious case of the disappearing tamales (Image courtesy of Tamale Factory)

This week we received a touching missive from a reader in distress, bringing to our attention a curious Greenpoint mystery. It wasn’t something we were able to solve, so we have decided to print the letter in full, in the hope that someone can help provide us with some answers.

“Dear Greenpointers,

I am a 19 year resident of Greenpoint. In the past eight or nine years I’ve been lucky enough to have been blessed with the most wonderful, succulent, authentic tamales that ever graced this coast – Monday to Friday, rain or shine – at the India Street G line entrance.  No tamales compared…not at any restaurant nearby, not even in Manhattan – and other ‘competing’ tamale vendors in the neighborhood didn’t even come close.

The tamales were served every morning until about 8:20am by a man named Miguel and his spouse (or lady friend), and were sold from a large pot nestled into a shopping cart that sat next to a large container of steaming sweet and cinnamon-y Arroz Con Leche. They ranged from Chicken Mole, Puerco con Salsa Verde, Jamon con Queso, Sweet Cheese and sometimes a sweet tamale with raisins. These tamales weren’t dry and boring. They were juicy; and bursting forth with flavor!  People from every culture and walk of life would gather quickly, get their tamales and go, and every day the tamales would sell out rapidly. 

Miguel also sold these delicious bundles of happiness in McCarren Park every Sunday. He made hundreds upon hundreds of people’s lives and stomachs happy. He also worked at Acapulco, the Mexican diner on Manhattan Ave & Clay St. We’d see him working hard in the back on weekend mornings and, when we ordered take out at night, it would be him delivering food to us. It seemed like Miguel was always relentlessly working; and we really respected him for this.


But suddenly, one day, Miguel was gone. Gone from India Street – and gone from Acapulco.

We were used to Miguel occasionally disappearing for a month or so (perhaps taking a break, going back home, etc.) but now he has been gone for MONTHS. We feel doomed (and worried).

The woman who sells tamales outside the Huron Street laundry has now strategically taken over this space on weekends knowing it was a hotspot (and that people are jonesing) – but unfortunately her wares just don’t compare.

We’ve asked around and gotten various answers ranging from “I don’t know”, or “his mother got tired”, to delivery men at the restaurant vaguely saying he’s not here anymore or even that he now works at a different restaurant (he doesn’t – we checked).

We want to know if Miguel is okay (we fear something bad may have happened)– but also wonder if he’s ever coming back! Maybe he’s moved on to a better situation in life and doesn’t have to work as hard…but so many out there in the neighborhood are wondering what happened and why he disappeared overnight.

In desperation, I’ve reached put out to  Can anyone help to solve the mystery?

Vanessa, Greenpoint.”

If anybody reading this has an idea of what may have happened to Miguel and his beloved tamale cart, please let us know!

Join the Conversation


  1. Please do not take me for an uptight pedantic type but the word missal refers to a book that explains all that is said and sung in the Catholic Mass for the entire year according to the season. The proper word is missive or if you still want to impress epistle that comes from the letters in the New Testament.

  2. I think the last I saw him was back in early June. I was wondering the same thing … as a Latina it’s hard to find some authentic DIY deliciousness in this part of Brooklyn and I loved talking to him every morning on the way to work. I hope he’s well and happy. He was so lovely and very kind. He gave me a few extra tamales when I told him our gas wasn’t working this past winter. My neighbors haven’t seen him for months either. 🙁

    1. I agree LJ – Wish he’d come back too & hope that he’s okay. He definitely hasn’t been back even though an earlier comment said he was recently back! Definitely not back!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *