May 20, 2017

How do I know it’s spring in NYC? Well, the pollen, the tulips and the leafing trees are a dead giveaway, but mostly I know it’s spring because the fruit vendor across the street is back again.

fruit venderThis fruit vendor disappears around the end or middle of November when the weather starts to get really cold. Their prices are good. The fruit is usually quite fresh and tasty. Most mornings they are set up by at least 8:00. They catch the workers heading to the bus stops, and the occasional parent shuttling kids off to school. Throughout the remainder of the day the fruit vendor’s customers are gleaned from the sidewalk traffic. Joggers stop to purchase a banana, mothers strolling with toddlers take a few minutes to let the little one decide which fruit they want to munch before taking their afternoon nap.SETTING UPBeing a sidewalk fruit vendor means that the business must be set up every morning and then taken down again in the evening. It’s an arduous task that I observe every day, and every day it is the same. The products are carried from the truck to the sidewalk. Then the cart is offloaded by the husband and wife team. The fruit is arranged on the cart with everything having its designated location. Plastic containers of berries, the most perishable of the fruit, are stacked in the front. Bananas are placed on the side of the cart with apples, oranges and mangoes arranged in almost the same place every day.

hot dog venderOn another corner, across the street from the fruit stand, is a hotdog vendor. She is a one woman operation and her stand is pretty much set up year-round. Even in the freezing temperatures of winter she pulls her wagon out onto the street from a truck, turns on the propane stove to heat the hotdogs and she’s ready fro business. Her cart is divided with hot and refrigeration. She has cold drinks, chips and a few of the local kid’s favorite candies.

A BUSY DAYSome days it appears as though she is hosting a gathering. One of the women who regularly collects cans and bottles in the neighborhood, frequently stops by to have a bite to eat and to pass the time with the hotdog lady. Many times during the day a small lunch or an early dinner crowd will gather for a snack and to chit-chat. Taxi cab drivers stop for a quick meal on the run, and when the schools let out at 3:00 lots of people hang around the hotdog lady drinking a soda and eating a hotdog with mustard.

DEEP INTO SUMMERThough there is usually no socializing at the fruit stand, the owner is a very sweet, friendly woman. She keeps her stand very orderly and is constantly fiddling with the arrangements of her goods. One of her main concerns is keeping the direct sun from hitting the fruit.

SUDENT RAIN STORMThen there are those summer days when the weather is totally unpredictable, when the rain, the wind and the torrents of rushing water forces vendors to take cover. The fruit vendor’s truck is usually parked nearby, though not always this close, but is a good place to duck-in-out of the really nasty weather.

RAINY DAY VIEWThe hotdog lady is always prepared for bad weather. If the wind is really strong she pushes her hotdog stand next to the corner building. Though if it’s simply raining, she attaches a plastic tarp to her umbrella and carries on with business as usual. Even in a downpour a taxi will stop for a quick snack. She gladly accommodates her customers and sometimes there will be two, perhaps three of her regulars huddled with her under the tarp.

SHADOWSIn the morning before the hotdog lady has unloaded her stand, the early morning summer sun shines along the quiet street, casting a lovely warm light along the sidewalk. It’s a peaceful scene, a scene that beckons a street vendor, a hungry passerby, a lonely member of our society, come sit for a while, this is our village, tell me how is your day.


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9 Responses to AT LAST, SPRING IN NYC

  1. Susan Bernhardt on May 20, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Margaret, were you hungry when you wrote this post? 🙂

    When we have been in NYC, we always buy produce at stands and it is always fresh.

    When we bought hotdogs outside of The Met, the vendor must have known I wasn’t from NYC because when I ordered my hotdog with ketchup and mustard, she showed me what her ketchup looked like and I told her to just put mustard on it instead.

    • Pushing Time on May 20, 2017 at 4:42 pm

      Hi Susan, Actually the hotdog vendor is just downstairs from our apartment building. She is very clean, totally aware that her customers are predominantly locals. Her reputation is totally dependent on return customers. We know that many of the hotdog stands in NYC are not up to a respectable cleanliness. But they are convenient and people still use them. We’ll have to hook-up next time you visit NYC!!

      • Susan Bernhardt on January 10, 2019 at 2:00 pm

        I enjoyed this post as much as the first time. So wonderful to hear about and have a peek at life on the UWS. <3

  2. Sharon on May 20, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    Thanks for sharing a view from your home! ❤️

    • Pushing Time on May 21, 2017 at 6:56 am

      Hi Sharon, It was so nice to have you make a virtual visit to my part of NYC!! Perhaps someday you’ll make a personal visit to NYC! There’s plenty to see outside of my neighborhood. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Nalo on May 21, 2017 at 4:22 am

    Very nice story on your main street !!

    • Pushing Time on May 21, 2017 at 6:58 am

      Hi Nalo, I’m glad you enjoyed the visit to my part of NYC. Thanks fro stopping by and leaving a lovely comment!

  4. Toddi on May 23, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    The smell of hot dogs throughout the day must make you hungry. It is like pop corn at the movies. Great shots from your window over looking New York. Makes me want to jump on a plain and visit you.

    • Pushing Time on May 23, 2017 at 7:00 pm

      Hi Toddi, We don’t get the smell of hotdogs from the vendors food cart. Though some mornings we do get an early whiff of garlic from the Mexican restaurant across the street as they get ready for an early Sunday Brunch. Well, I’m up for a visit, so jump on any kind of transportation and definitely come for a visit. There is plenty to see and experience!! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

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