The Broadway Flea Market!

Woke up this morning at 9:05AM to the soothing sounds of NPR.  Waking up relatively early to meet your friend in mid-town always sounds like a better idea the night before than it does the morning of. And yet, this will be a full day, so it's best to tackle the Broadway Flea Market early.

A few words on the Broadway Flea Market... this is an amazing annual event organized by "Broadway Cares" to raise money to fight Aids.  It takes place in Times Square and all of Broadway unites to raise funds by selling books, programs, historical costume and set renderings, etc.  Most of the major shows will have booths which sell items representing their show, and there's an auction for some of the bigger ticket items.

One thing I am still learning when it comes to getting ANYWHERE in New York- give yourself twenty minutes more time than you think you might need.  I'd made plans to meet my friend Leslie at Juniors in New York, and unwittingly set my app to guide me toward a closed location at Grand Central Station, which of course, made me a good twenty minutes late.  Luckily, she was a little late to, so it all kind of evened out.  
Leslie brought her constant companion Lolly Lardpop, the five year old candy addict.  If you are not familiar with Lolly, or her podcast...

Our first stop was to meet Laura Ware, who was helping her friend, the extremely talented artist Justin "Squigs" Robertson to man his booth.  
Justin's portrait of Holland Taylor as Ann Richards

(Justin, Fill Milano, Laura, Lolly, Me)

Next we roamed the flea market, pawed through books and photos and costume renderings, and had a couple star sightings including Bryan Batt of "Mad Men", the hottest police officer known to man (literally scorching) and Seth Rudetsky.

I will say, as exciting as it was, it got overwhelming very quickly as it was completely packed with eager fans, and therefor, it was often difficult to get to the things at the booths.  Luckily time passed quickly, and before we knew it, it was time to meet Chita Rivera.  That's right, Chita.  Leslie is friends with her, and we were able to meet up with her for a moment after she finished signing autographs.  While we waited we talked with her daughter Rosie ( a gem of a real gem of  a lady) and got to meet Jim Caruso who was hosting this portion of the Flea Market.  Due to high demand, Chita signed well beyond the time she was booked to be there, and when she came down the stairs  she was unbelievably charming, soulful, authentic and warm.  There are some people that simply radiate kindness wherever they go, and she is certainly one of them.  It was a true pleasure to meet her.  

After meeting Chita, fatigue started to set in, and I had another event to go to, so I parted ways with Leslie and Lolly and headed off  to Brooklyn and the "Atlantic Antic".  The Antic is a giant street festival in its 41st year, celebrating Brooklyn.  My new place of employment "The New York Transit Museum" had several antique buses featured.  I didn't have to work the festival, but I definitely wanted to view the buses and support my new work mates.

It was well worth it, as Atlantic Avenue was packed tight with revelers, food and music.  In truth, I wanted to eat everything.  There was fried chicken with waffles, Mexican Corn, doughnuts, kettle corn, jerk chicken... I felt like that rat from "Charlotte's Web" who stalks the fair at night just gorging himself.  I DID limit myself and settled upon something tempting that I'd never had before.  It was called an Arepa (melted mozzarella sandwiched between two sweet corn cakes) and it was the perfect combo of savory and sweet.  I could have eaten seven.  I didn't.  Instead I distracted myself by listening to the Cuban Jazz and the Carribean music.  Eventually I did have something else, a banana cupcake with chocolate hazelnut frosting from Mahalo New York Bakery, and  oh my Jesus, it was so moist and delicious.  

On the way home from the festivities I passed a couple of ladies photographing the moon and was drawn in by it for a bit.  It's funny, because I hadn't realized tonight was the night of the SUPER MOON.  The moon would be closer than ever for one night only, and it would be eclipsed, and around eleven o'clock easter it would appear blood red in the sky.  It was quite a talking point on the way home, and for someone new to the neighborhood it was a welcome excuse to meet and chat with folks on the street, and tok, not about weather or crime or directions, but about this natural but somewhat astounding natural event.  

And now, much later, it's time for me to flop down on my air mattress and recharge.   Til' tomorrow!

Joe Hartman