Researching The Atomic Revolution, that rad Establishment comic book I want to rip off for my Animated Musical, I ventured into the library of The Society of Illustrators, which turns out to be just around the corner. Who knew? It’s sort of an inker’s Friar’s Club; there’s a gallery on the ground floor, a bar/dining room (which I’d imagine fills up with crusty cartoonists around, oh, 11:00AM), and an eclectic library on the third floor. Alas, no trace of Mr M. Philip Copp or The Atomic Revolution. [At least not there.]
On my corner, then, an entrepreneurial neighborhood scamp from the co-op had set up two Hammacher & Schlemmer-y folding tables, and was doing brisk business in home-baked goods. A couple of years ago, the kid–he’s probably 12 now, with new braces–set up one table in front of my building to sell gum. (Parents buy a case at Cost-co, kid sells the packs individually. It’s like printing money, for a 10-year old. Still, as our now-closed neighborhood fountain pen store proved, you need more than one product; I gave him a couple of books to sell.)
He’s since learned the importance of location–and foot traffic–to a retail operation. And he’s got his schtick down pat; as the neighborhood ladies marvelled at the marble cake (“And is that red velvet? I make that!”), he let it slip that he’d baked it himself last night. That’s right, those kids over on Fifth may be foisting their nanny-cake on the doormen, but on Lex, the law of the retail jungle prevails: it’s every man for himself. By the time his parents brought the Range Rover around for the drive to Southampton, he’d sold out his entire inventory of brownies and (bundt and red velvet) cakes. Lizzie Grubman, if you ever actually open a bakery here, you’ll have some stiff competition.