Moscot Family Orchard And Delancey St
At least a year before I was able to begin this painting, I had planned it in my mind. The corner of Delancey and Orchard fascinated me. The tops of the buildings seemed to walk like steps into the sky, Orchard Street looked like a crown and Delancey Street teemed with life.
But in order to get the angle which I wanted, I had to sit in a spot which was like a furnace. There was no shade and no protection and after a short time of work my head and eyes would seem to swim.
On the corner right across from Cohen’s is a Blimpy sandwich shop. Its owner is Martin Pereyra and he is one of the kindest people I met. He let me have a place under the awning in front of his store, and suddenly I was in what seemed like an oasis. Cool shade outside and food and coffee and air conditioning inside...what more could you ask of life! My new spot was not only protected from the sun, but the sidewalk was wide and the exhaust fumes seldom reached me. The view from my new corner was superb and at times I felt as if I were in a box seat at the theater. People who went in and out of Blimpy would stop to talk.“Why you paint this? Why you don’t find a park? Why you paint those dirty buildings” “She wants to. So let her paint what she wants to!”“Oh look, she’s painting Moscot’s!”“Please lady would you watch my bike while you’re sitting there?”My habit has never been to work on one painting from beginning to end, but to work on two or three canvases at the same time. It keeps my thoughts and decisions more flexible and helps me to see problems much clearer. At that time I was also working on a tremendous canvas of the Brooklyn Meat Market on Atlantic Avenue and South Elliott Place. It was there that I met Jerry Adonesis again. I had first met him on Orchard Street about two years ago. He is the blue uniformed security guard in back of the police barricade in the middle of the painting.Whenever I begin a new canvas, I have to brace myself mentally for criticism. When I block out shapes and fill them with raw color, the canvas looks like a vast hodgepodge of confusion. The Brooklyn canvas looked frightening. People who gathered to watch weren’t always polite.“My God, what’s that?”
“That’s a window?” But Jerry was now working across the street from the meat market and because of him I had no problems. He had seen my finished work and was great at explaining what I was about to do. It made working so easy. Angelo Genis sells ices at the corner of Orchard and Delancey Streets. He came home from Greece in 1969, worked at waxing floors in the National City Bank, and went to school at night. His father had an accident and Angelo stopped school and began to work on two jobs. When his father was better, Angelo felt that it was too late for him to go back to school. He was 21 when he began to work in his own business on Orchard Street. He sells ices in summer, pretzels and peanuts in winter, and both in between. Jimmy sells hot dogs on the left side of the street. He’s from South Carolina and we’ve known each other since I first started to paint on Orchard Street. His umbrella is the greatest shape and color for most of my compositions, and he’s been in more of my paintings than anyone else on the street. Next to Moscot’s, carrying a suitcase, I painted Kathy Olsen. Kathy had never been to Orchard Street. We’ve been friends for years and one day she came to visit me when I was painting, and I put her next to Moscot’s. Weeks later she called. “We were driving into the city and suddenly I saw the Moscot sign. There was the spot I stood on in the painting. I couldn’t get over the fact that it was really there!” I know what she means. I have the same feeling. To me this area is magic and whenever I set up my canvas, I marvel at the fact that all of this exists for me to paint.