Sunday, July 13, 2008

Le Quatorze Juillet dans la rue Soixantième

O.K., so it's only the thirteenth, not "le quatorze," but there is a Bastille Day street festival on East 60th Street between Lexington and Fifth Avenues, passing, not surprisingly, right in front of the French Institute. And people are having a Great Time! Sure, not everything is French; I saw one stand selling knockwurst in addition to French délices, and there were also Belgian waffles (or, as they spell it, wafel), though I suppose that's close enough. There's even someone playing an accordion! Shades of the Funny Face era. Good spirits abound; it's hot out, but not unbearable, and people seem in a merry mood.

The happy crowds on East 6oth are much more enthusiastic than the dutiful strollers at another nearby street festival, on Madison Avenue between 42nd and 57th Streets. This is the type of project that drives me nuts most weekends, three seasons of the year. They all sell the same T-shirts, souvlaki, sunglasses, tube socks, and suchlike. I hope that the City gets a decent fee for permission to sell stuff at these fairs because they are a huge nuisance to us residents who try to get somewhere. It's of some help that Time Out New York publishes a list of street fairs and festivals each week so that one can plan one's moves. Taking the subway helps, though I don't like to go down there in the hot weather. But anyway, the Bastille Day celebration is fun, even if we already had our own fireworks on a somewhat rainy Fourth.

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