As planned, I left work and headed to the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Memorial ceremonies just after noon. I arrived near the Brown building in time to hear several speakers. The speakers were relatives of the victims, government officials, a surivivor of a similar fire in Bangledesh, Danny Glover, Union officials, Fire officials. The only speaker that was poorly received by the audience was our mayor.
The fire ladder was raised to the 6th floor - three floors short of where it needed to be. The names of the victims were read. This was the first year that all 146 names were read thanks to the efforts of researcher Michael Hirsch. It was emotional especially in today's world where worker safety is still a big issue. And, then, that ceremony was over.
I spent a few hours exploring Alphabet City. I basically zig zagged back and forth starting around St Marks to my destination - The Meatball Shop on the Lower East Side. I didn't go any farther east than Avenue C because there are fewer shops and more large apartment complexes between Avenues C and D. Sometimes I was on First Avenue along the path of the double decker buses.
Along the way, I saw where five or six of the victims lived thanks to the Chalk Project. I tried to stand around at each place hoping to start a dialogue with people passing by but the neighborhoods were empty at that hour and few people noticed. The chalk place that my friend Charlene drew (see picture) was down East 7th Street from where my niece Dani, a great photographer in Seattle, used to live. I did have conversations about the day with all sorts of strangers along the way.
I stopped by Middle Collegiate, my favorite church in the neighborhood. Across the street is Moishe's Bakery, a kosher hold out with great hamantaschen, that has been around for forever. I dropped into a few of the community gardens along the way. There are so many in this neighborhood.
On East 4th Street, I went looking for the headquarters of the Lower East Side History project. Didn't find it but remembered just how many amazing off Broadway and off off Broadway theaters are here. La MAMA ETC founder Ellen Stewart was the pioneer in the neighborhood many years ago. My best discovery was the New York Theatre Workshop where Peter and the Starcatcher is playing. I had seen the review, and a friend on FODOR's said it was wonderful, but I didn't think I would have the money or time to see it. Well, it seems they have 20 dollar cash only at the box office for Sunday evening performances and I got one for Easter Sunday evening.
I ran into a guy who calls himself The Mosaic Man who has been a neighborhood fixture for years. Saw some of his handiwork outside of the Two Boots Pizza on Avenue A. There are food chains and there are New York food chains. This one is a good one. I saw some interesting furniture at White Furniture on Avenue A.
I peaked into many small stores and restaurants before crossing Houston Street. One was called Hospital Productions. I asked the person outside if they were the people who brought seniors to the many free performances in the City and he said no, they specialized in vinyl and CDs. I asked if they would be interested in my collection of late 60's and early 70's folk and show music. He said no, they specialized in heavy metal. We both agreed that somewhere in NYC there was probably a storefront that would be interested in my collection.