My friend Heather and I decided to sell our art on the sidewalk in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We each made a series of small, simple fruit paintings.
Arriving in Manhatten on a hot July morning, we unbagged our art and set up along with many other street artists.
To our surprise it was also the same day as the German- American parade. The parade began that morning and passed by only a few feet away.
With all the last minute organizing of the artwork—displays and snacks— I had forgotten my wallet. I was in the middle of NYC with no debit card or cash for the day. I had just my artwork, a few granola bars and a bottle of water. But with Heather there I knew I’d be ok. She’d help me for the day if I needed anything.
Heather rarely eats when she works. She told me that she sometimes works for 5-6 hours without a bite. She never eats at restaurants either. She bravely travels the world, runs her own art school, does not pamper herself in any way typical to the American woman. And as physically strong as she is, she is also a deeply kind, and warm person. A great person to share my time with.
Along with her paintings, Heather brought an old fabric bag. Inside the bag she kept her own provisions for the day and that she would share. She described an assortment of light snacks including some plums.
We discussed ththe heat and the distraction of the parade. We also agreed that we should finish our day in front of the musuem by about 2. As the day wore on we found that the German-American parade that passed by was the center of attention. Heather and I, as well as all the museum goers where amazed at the rich culture that was exhibited. An abundance of food, loud music, vibrant dance and lavish costumes rumbling past.
It was about 90 degrees. So we took turns sitting in the shade away from our make-shift cardboard kiosk. There, I ate my granola bars that had I brought with me. After a few of those breaks in the shade of the museum wall I was out of food.
It became apprent that our spartan, miniature paintings of fruit didn’t have much appeal for the out-of-towners strolling by. Other vendors were doing pretty well selling souvenir-style, glitzy pictures of the NYC skyline.
I began to get quite hungry, but Heather was confident that we should hold out for another hour. “If we don’t make a sale, she said, “then we’ll pack up our art for the day.”
The last food item we had left were the plums. I politely asked if I could have one, but Heather had a great idea. After we finally packed up, we could enjoy the plums even more if we hiked into central park to eat them.
The hour passed by, and the colorful parade continued, but not even one nibble of interest for our paintings. Heather and I were slightly disappointed, but mostly happy that we had this experience of being New York City street vendors. We packed our art and kiosk and found our way into central park.
With my stomach empty and my head hot from the sun, we found a shady lawn and began practicing a few minutes of yoga. After a little while I took the last swig of water and suggested that we eat the plums from the bag.
Advertourous as she is, Heather then remembered that she once found a great hill top in central park that would provide the perfect view while we relaxed and ate the plums. She grabbed her bag by the handles and we started the rest of the hike deeper into central park. With me dragging behind, she cheerfully noted that the plums were asian plums and really quite good.
My own bag became heavier with each step, and my hunger stronger. I had never hiked through central park before and I was surprised at how expansive it was. Deeper into the woods I told Heather that I was really thirsty, and suggested that maybe we could turn back and find a store for some food and water. No need for that though because she said she had hand picked these asian plums herself and they are really so juicy.
We eventually climbed a steep rocky incline off the main path. I was trembling from the hunger and heat. We found a perfect clearing to sit down and she was right about the view. With my gear off my back I rested. I laid back in the overgrown grass and listened as Heather reached into her bag elbow deep. She searched and then shrugged and said “I forgot the plums”. I slowly exhaled and said “that’s ok”.