Sunday, January 20, 2008

Beat The Cold

Gerald can’t get away from the cold. He tries to dodge the wind by pasting himself against a building at the corner of Fulton Street and Broadway. Not much help. Then he edges his way into the sun that’s starting to angle up the block. No difference.

“The sun can’t even beat this,” he finally admits. “I guess I’m not getting any help today.”

Not that he ever expects much. It’s still dark when Gerald leaves his Tremont Avenue apartment lugging an over-stuffed backpack and pulling a cart loaded with a folding table, half-a-dozen large boxes and a plastic tarp.

He takes the D train to West 4th Street and then grabs the A train to Fulton where he has set up every morning for more than 15 years.

“Business is best during the week,” he says. “But I wouldn’t make my rent if I wasn’t selling on the weekends, too.”

He sells mostly hats and scarves and gloves and sweatshirts these days, but T-shirts are his biggest seller in the summer.

“That’s what the tourists want,” Gerald explains. “They all need one that says something about September 11th and they want anything that says Yankees.”

Gerald had to set up down Fulton Street for the World Series parades that passed his corner, but business was still good.

“Those were the best days I’ve ever had,” he says with smile.

He was on his corner the morning of September 11, 2001.

“That was the worst day,” Gerald says. “I don’t like to talk about it, but people ask all the time because I’m right here.”

And he’ll be there today and tomorrow and everyday.

“Through rain and sleet and snow…”

Gerald pauses and then says:

“None of it would be that bad if I could just find a way to beat the cold.”


JoeyBoy said...

Man, you have to be pretty tough to work outside on a day like this.

Donna said...

Brrrrrrrr. It is impossible to stay warm out there.

Henry said...

No one should have to be out working in this.