… and maybe as strange.
I loved the lyrics of this Ryan Adams song, from Damn Sam, even before I moved to New York. I’d never seen a New York fruit stand, but imagined they must be quite chaotic, and definitely strange. I pictured the riotous fruit stands of Toronto’s Chinatown, filled with urgent hands feeling for the ripest fruits in a collection of spiky, slightly ominous looking produce.
There are many fruit stands in New York’s Chinatown that match this image, but those near me, in the Upper East Side, convey a different impression. What they seem, more than chaotic, is out of place. They are a sudden and absurd explosion of color on an otherwise dismal street corner. Especially now, heaped high with fruits from Mexico, while New York remains wintry and grey. They are also the epitome of New York’s efficiency. I love that pretty much no matter where you are in the city, if you have a quarter, you can have a banana (a godsend when returning from hot sweaty runs on summer days.) I love that even if you forget that you’d like to buy some bananas (or berries, or tomatoes, or carrots etc…), you will likely pass 3 of these stands before walking two blocks, to remind you. And I love how for a city not known for produce, or freshness, or farming, there sits fruits and vegetables at every street corner.
As I walked home this evening I saw this truck, and it conveyed for me in a single image, all that was strange to me in the New York fruit stand. A display of fresh fruit and veggies, worthy Sunday afternoon farmer’s market, against a graffiti clad backdrop, in a city night image.