ftx central park - june 21, 2006
hello all my friends. greetings from wonderful nyc. last week the french toast & hugs gang took a stroll into central park and set up shop. henry (ftx 38) made a sweet flyer announcing that we would be at the Bethesda fountain and 250 color flyers later we had them attached to the call sheets for both 1st and 2nd unit of spidey 3.
my friend aaron was visiting me so he, bigmez (ftx 37) and myself went out and bought supplies tuesday the 20th at the fairway market on broadway. I’d learned my lesson from our times square extravaganza and stuck with challa bred only. 18 loaves of it in fact. along with 6 or 7 dozen eggs, vanilla extract, cinnamon, maple syrup, vanilla & chocolate whipped cream, powdered sugar and 6 large containers of strawberries plus blueberries & raspberries. all good things.
also new for this time was my grill. I’ve had mine since I went to burningman in 2003 when I made around 1000 pieces of ftx. I noticed a propane leak while finishing up in times square and decided it wouldn’t do to blow up some nice locals before they finished their carbs so I went down to the local k-mart and bought a new coleman stove. It’s a real beauty and sounds like chuck yeager’s x-1 when both burners are lit.
filling up the k-mart bag with all 18 loaves aaron & I wagoned out and met ftx 35 (trudy!), ftx 36 (messrob!), ftx 37 (danny boy!), ftx 38 (henry!) and soon to be ftx 40 (or like I like to call him – ftx 20/20… chris!).
I had finally made a playlist of happy breezy park songs to be played on 36’s player. they were a mix of old r&b and current ambient rock type stuff. (by the next day I had made our first ever ftx soundtrack to which I handed out to the people who showed this day). I had shuffled all of the tunes except for the walk into the park music which started with zz top’s sharp dressed man (to which bigmez hit play once I started to put on my apron). then it went into the jb’s which is funky james brown’s band. the first and most important discovery was the jb song “breakin bread” which is all about frying up tasty bred for your friends (there is even a line that says “I’m going to bring this bread to new york!”). so the gang headed out and bopped our way into sunny central park. that morning aaron read the weather forecast and it was rain, rain and more rain EXCEPT on this beautiful wednesday – its description was a telling “abundant sunshine”.
we made our way past painters setting up in front of a scenic bridge and down paths of grassy greens into bethseda. bethseda is a giant fountain with an angel in the center, a deep moss lake on one side and towering stairs on the other. a group of the crew was already waiting for us and I broke open the brand new stove. gang members sliced the fresh bred and fruit as groups of kids, locals and tourists wandered in and into our gathering. some central park conservancy people came over to tell us between bites that we didn’t have a propane license. but we kept on and they moved on.
I have to credit my crew. the bred was always sliced and ready when I needed it and the toast was handed out quickly before it cooled. ryan (a friend of holly who I just met) showed up with extra supplies and another cooler to go along with ftx39’s (debbie!) cooler. danny and messrob called out to the crowd while henry took 3-d photos between making new sets of batter. and of course trudy became our ambassador of hugs as people melted quicker than my butter into her arms. this gang keeps getting better and reminds me of how much I can’t do it alone.
Japanese & Australian tourists (in an Ireland jacket???) ambled by to have their first ever french toast! dogs played in the fountain behind me and a beautiful white pup named sadie ate some before me. when she finished she turned to the photo of our very own daisy mae (ftx1) and gave her a big tongues up salute. I took chevelle grace photos and determined henry actually got a couple to row in their boat to have lakeside delivery service. and danny boy even got one of the park vendors to eat some (even though I’m sure business was down). my friend scott showed up with his wife and kids mason & devyn. I gave scott a plate bending supersize serving and he didn’t disappoint when he finished it all. in total we went thru about 275 pieces of bred, feeding over 100 people.
I have to say, as usual, I got busy with the cooking and didn’t look up too much. but the soul soothing moments I remember weren’t seen but felt. moments like trudy & angela laughing or mez calling out “free french toast & hugs!”. the hum of people talking between bites and a dog laying at my feet. it was a day of abundant sunshine after all. before he left sean came up to me and told me toast wasn’t a big enough word for what was on his plate.
I’ve thought about that and about all of you. how great all the people in my life are. I can’t help but think that the world isn’t big enough for the beauty that you inspire.
but it’ll do.
i’m coming home. i love you all. –shyam.
check out photos from this day at:
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