The lure of the street vendors’ voices, that’s my siren song. I have always loved groping my way through piled up counters, not knowing what lies underneath. The days of Kleins on 14th Street, Alexander’s on Third Avenue, Filenes on Broadway, B. Altman on Fifth Avenue are now gone. Internet shopping is the new norm when all you can feel is the keyboard and the texture of the product is only visual. The sensual pleasure of the hunt is a bygone entity only available in your imagination.
But there is hope for me. I live in Manhattan’s Yorkville sector where practically every corner is a virtual treasure trove of exotic, alias pashmina scarves, knockoff designer bags ( I have an in with a Third Avenue vendor who has the best buys), costume jewelry from all over the world,
$3 sweaters with labels intact so I know the manufacturer, summertime straw hats and winter woolens.
In-season fresh fruits and veggies are artfully displayed on carts. Luscious papaya, melons, berries vie for position alongside cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, beans. I could go on describing what awaits the eye but I’m getting too excited. Take me to the most exclusive shop, sit me down on a plush couch, bring the champagne flute and have models parade for my personal pleasure and this is what happens. The drink makes me sleepy, the clothes shown are not really me and I get bored. I want to leave but I’m stuck in my own quicksand and can’t get out.
I don’t know when my street shopping craze started but I don’t like sales people hovering around me, fixing hems to line up with my one lopsided hip, breathing down my neck to adjust shoulders to conform to my protruding breastbone. Sometime when I’m in a regular dressing with a three-way mirror I see what my expensive hairdresser did to the back of my head and I see the extra bulge around my waist and tummy that was as flat as a surf board.
I know why I want to shop on the street. There I’m alone with my hand on the product deciding whether to buy. The cost is minimal and I can even flirt with the vendor to bring the price down if possible. You may ask what kind of life do I lead that being street wise is exciting. Am I like the character in the book “Diary of a Madwoman” who finds every day a bore? Absolutely not. But I would be desolate if street shopping would suddenly disappear so I won’t think about it today. Right now I need a colorful wrap for a black top. I’m pretty sure I know the vendor where I can find one. If I cancel my psychiatrist’s appointment for tomorrow I can shop the streets.