Monday, September 10, 2007
East Village, Sept. 2007
As I was walking in Chelsea Saturday morning, I passed a woman having a stoop sale. (That’s the New York equivalent of a yard sale, for those of us who don’t have yards.) I browsed her stuff and we began chatting. I didn’t really see anything I wanted to buy, but I did take a closer look at a black t-shirt.
It featured four portraits of Liberace, done Andy Warhol-style, with lots of colors. The shirt was from the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas. (Who knew?)
“Oh, that’s a great shirt. It’s five dollars,” said the woman, who proceeded to entertain me with a story of her visit to the Liberace Museum.
When I continued to hesitate, she said, “Tell you what - I’ll give it to you for $3.”
So I bought the Liberace shirt - more to help out this woman’s yard sale than anything else. Because as I walked away, I became more and more certain that I would never wear it. Though I admire Liberace’s ability to be campy before anyone really knew what that meant, I did not want to wear a portrait of him - much less four portraits.
As I continued walking and photographing for the next couple of hours, I carried that silly t-shirt, trying to figure out what to do with it.
Finally, about five hours later, I was on the Upper East Side. I’d walked all through Hell’s Kitchen, spent time reading in Central Park and was now going to the subway to meet a friend in Queens. All in the good company of Liberace.
Then I realized where I could get rid of him. Housing Works has a thrift store on E. 77th Street. So I took the shirt there, and sure enough, was able to donate it.
So all’s well that ends well: The woman sold her shirt and made some money; Housing Works got a donation; and I came away with a good story about a silly impulse buy!