There was a loud pop on Chambers Street this afternoon. Heads turned and eyes darted, but all they saw was Johnny Blevins pretending not to hear anything as he hustled to catch the 2 train.
“I don’t want any trouble,” he said heading down the stairs. “I’m not breaking any laws, but that doesn’t mean some cop won’t hassle me.”
Blevins is delivering balloons. He has three dozen gathered in two huge plastic bags that barely fit into the subway entrance. They are mixed blue and white and each has a New York Yankee logo.
“They’re for a party uptown,” he explained. “I think it’s a birthday, but I’m not sure. It’s hard to keep them all straight.
“We used to get Yankee requests mostly during the summer,” Blevins continued, “but now it seems like we get them all the time. This is my second batch today.”
He makes at least a dozen deliveries on a normal Saturday.
“This is party day,” Blevins said. “We have other decorations, but balloons are the biggest seller.
“Delivering them isn’t as easy as it sounds,” he continued. “They are as light as air, but it’s hard to get them around without an incident.
“The train is the toughest part,” Blevins went on. “I may get one that’s half empty here, but a thousand people will be trying to squeeze on at Times Square. I got pushed off once. Then a lady popped half my balloons with her hairpin another time. It can get pretty crazy out here.”
So the balloon he lost back on Chambers Street is the least of his problems.
“We include an extra balloon per dozen so I could lose two more and still be even,” Blevins explained. “I don’t think there will be much more trouble though.”
He laughed to himself.
“But in this business you never know.”