May 2, 2008
Was it Racine or New Orleans Friday night?
It was the second First Friday of the year, and it couldn't have started out on a better note
Sixth Street merchants were smiling -- no, absolutely beaming -- at having gotten their street back again on Thursday, the first phase of this year's construction work completed. Not just on time, but almost a week early.
The afternoon's nasty weather was barely a memory. The streets were dry, the sky was the bluest of blues and the sun was shining. Music came from everywhere: jazz from a pick-up twosome the far end of Sixth, bluesy tunes from Monument Square, heavy metal at the lower end of Main; Irish folk, blues -- even a lone trumpet! -- and who knows what else inbetween. (Would you believe some Civil War soldiers?) Racine was a poor name for downtown; for a while it felt more like New Orleans.
Shoppers and music lovers wandered around, into this store, listening to that music. Mothers with sleepy kids; a dad showing his three-year-old what an orange 1957 (I'm guessing) BelAir hardtop Chevrolet in mint condition looks like. (Very, very sharp!) It wasn't a large crowd at the start, but it was an enthusiastic one.
Unfortunately, it was cut short by a little rain after not quite two hours. The smart browsers went inside to continue enjoying the music. The wimps -- me, in other words -- headed home on the Vespa, hoping to avoid the wife's "I told you it was going to rain."
Some scenes from the evening: