Great Moments In Greenpoint Hospitality: Mr. Tambourine Man

Yesterday some of you might have noticed that New York Shitty was offline for a considerable period of time. Apparently the host for this site had a problem at one of its data centers and, well, you get the idea. Ordinarily this would infuriate yours truly to no end— but not this time. Given the lovely weather I was not the least bit inclined to sit in front of a monitor. My site’s dysfunction and my own were in perfect synchronicity. Thus, I opted to go for a walk.

What started as an ostensible shopping foray for socks (which have been disappearing at an alarming rate of late) ended up with a little value-added in the way of a tambourine and travel guide for Greece (as seen above). How did this happen, you ask? I will tell you.

On March 16th I wrote (in this post about an ad hoc art exhibition on Noble Street):

…In any case the creator of these works is a seriously nice fellow. So much so I feel compelled to warn my fellow Greenpointers: if you demonstrate too much interest you may very well find yourself walking home with one. For free! That’s what happened to me back in 2008.

During yesterday’s peregrinations I spied a new work of art gracing Noble Street…

and being a lover of sunflowers and hearts I paused to get a closer shot. That’s when I caught the attention of this work’s creator, Yusef, (who happened to be wearing the above-depicted tambourine on his head). After applauding him on his fashion sense a discussion ensued.

First, he told me about his latest series of paintings which are of sunflowers. I concurred that sunflowers are quite wonderful (because they are). He then suggested I take the sunflower he had affixed to nearby street sign (at left) and wear it in my hair. I demurred, stating that I much preferred it in its current location (because I do). That’s when he removed the tambourine from his head and offered it to me. Upon discerning it was not a good fit (too big) I opted to use it in a more conventional manner: shake it with my hand. After having had my share of fun with this item, I attempted to give it back to Yusef. He would not hear of it. He said (and I quote):

I’ll probably be drunk soon anyway and I should probably not have it. Besides, I have twelve more at home.

He then proceeded to give me a Greek travel guide, told me to call him from Greece when I went there and concluded our discussion by shouting at nearby companion to watch his work while he went to acquire some cognac.

Does the story end here? No gentle readers, it does not. Now jump forward to 7:30 p.m.

That’s when I spied this festively clad fellow guarding a cup of coffee at a public pay phone on Manhattan Avenue. The owner of both noticed my shutter-bugging and came over. This was, of course, Yusef. It took him a moment to recognize me, but recognize me he did. He applauded my husband on his fashion sense and offered to share the contents of this cup (which was most assuredly NOT coffee) with us. We politely declined. Nonetheless, we were touched by the offer.

I have said it many times before and I will say it again: Greenpointers have an incomparable generosity of spirit— or would that be spirits? This is a large part of the reason I live here. And while a Garden Spotter may not give you the proverbial (or literal) shirt off his (or her) back, you might find yourself walking home with a tambourine and travel guide for Greece.

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