Having joined the Vendy Awards planning committee several months ago, I had anxiously looked forward to the "big day." The day when a bevy of popular New York City street vendors would descend upon Flushing at the Queens Museum of Art, the Unisphere ominously in the background, awaiting a crowd of street-meat fans and a collection of glittering judges (sadly, not actually wearing glitter).
Well, yesterday, the "big day" finally arrived with the sound of my alarm going off at 5:30am. Ugh. I am not a morning person. But in the name of the Vendy Awards and the charitable organization they celebrate and support - the Street Vendor Project - which provides vendors with legal representation and much more, I arose.
Hitting Manhattan's Ceci-Cela for early a.m. croissant and coffee for the team with my murse-wearing pal Kyle, we soon ventured forth to Queens en masse in a high-stylin' van. Still, I could hear my bed calling my name all the way from Brooklyn. Hmmm. Maybe I could nap during the trip. Zzzzzz...
Once we parked at the museum, the caffeine started to kick in. Within minutes, we were put to work and then the beloved trucks and carts started pulling in one by one, like debutantes arriving at the ball. It was an amazing sight to see, from spying the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck getting all gay-ed up (see above) to gazing at the unstoppable smile belonging to Freddy, the King of Falafel, as he set up his station (see below).
And then, there was a crisis. The party rental company had dropped off the tents, tables and chairs with no problem, but had forgotten about the all-important serving trays for the Vendy's first-ever VIP table service guests. Unfortunately, the folks at the Queens Museum of Art didn't have trays to lend and they categorically refused to let us rip the priceless canvasses from the wall to create makeshift ones.
What's a Vamp to do? OMG! I suddenly realized that the museum is located in Flushing, and Flushing means only one thing to a Vamp -- CHINATOWN. Surely, there we could find a kitchen supply spot with ample wares and the necessary trays could be purchased lickety-split. I quickly corralled the amiable Dan, another committee member, to join me on the hunt. Why Dan? He had wheels and an ulterior motive: he desperately needed coffee.
We headed to the parking lot, stopped along the way by our main museum rep, who suggested we hit the nearby Western Beef instead of going farther afield. So, we did.
There were no trays there, but joyfully for Dan, this Western Beef outpost laid claim to another outdoor eating favorite, brethren of food carts and trucks -- the food stand.
He finally had his shot of caffeine. But, before we ambled back to the car and headed to Chinatown, we spotted a sign that assured us that all would go well on our quest.
It wasn't exactly a thumbs up or anything, but I decided it was good luck nonetheless.