Through the eyes of others:
• • •
One of the consequences of the pandemic, seen through the eyes of a Stonington Borough merchant, a woman I know and admire, is the location of the Stonington Summer Farmers Market.
In my limited visits to the area’s farmer’s markets, this one has to be some of the hardiest, although it has broadened the founding principle of farm-to-vendor produce to include a variety of crafts. Still, it’s a long-standing success, drawing hundreds every Saturday morning.
For almost all of its 25 years of existence, the Summer Market was on the green land adjacent to the borough’s fishing docks until the pandemic, due to concerns about social distancing, moved the summer market towards the large parking lot of the Moulin de Velours, home of the winter farmers market and outside the limits and walking convenience of the village.
As my friend the shopkeeper pointed out, this upheaval affected the Saturday morning pedestrian traffic in the borough, a vital infusion of potential customers for the livelihood of the traders and the restaurants and cafes still operating there.
I had never looked at him through his eyes before.
But on a recent Saturday morning, I also looked through the eyes of market vendors. With a few exceptions, they prefer the Velvet Mill for the ease of access for themselves, the availability of bathrooms and shelters in the event of a storm.
The exterior excavations of the Velvet Mill also allow vendors to expand to include handicrafts such as soaps, jewelry, greeting cards, woodworking, dog treats and so on in addition to the range. usual fruits, vegetables, breads, honey, hot sauces, cheeses, meats, fish, baked goods and drinks, although similar crafts, and even a cable TV provider, have also appeared near the fishing docks.
However, asphalt is not grass. The atmosphere is a tangible selling point, and the crushing of a mown field among locals and tourists along the harbor, the walls of lobster pots and the working fishing boats on the docks are a lure that ample parking just can not. In addition, the music, usually provided by the banjo, guitar and violin, is much better enjoyed on the more comfortable green than on a factory pitch.
But for the vendors, a bit like the village merchants, it’s a question of numbers and access.
Parking at the fishing docks, not as plentiful as at the mill, often resulted in a mishmash of cars and traffic jams. Although in the past the fishermen and the market coexisted, there have been complaints of Saturday morning shoppers parking in a way that blocked trucks doing business at the docks.
The fishing docks and buildings managed by the Fishermen’s Association and the surrounding property, including the putting green, are owned by the town, but they are under the jurisdiction of the Stonington Waterfront Commission, which is apparently required to issue a license for the market. summer.
COVID security protocols, such as adequate sanitation and concerns about traffic and parking, provided the commission with enough to deny the permit application for the docks this summer.
The Stonington Village Improvement Association, which oversees the farmers market, intends to find ways over the winter to address the commission’s concerns and apply for a new permit.
Who knows what the policy is. What is good for village merchants may not be good for vendors and fishermen. Yet the summer market was natural on the grass and by the water, not so much on the asphalt and next to a massive brick edifice.
• • •
As Ada Elmer, who lives in Stonington, is my witness, it happened the other day in the Big Y in Stonington.
We were standing by one of the aisles of the supermarket, discussing the continued success of his son-in-law, Adam Young, owner and master baker of the SIFT Bake Shop and Mix Roof Top and Bar in downtown Mystic and Young Buns, a boutique donuts also downtown, and who writes a cookbook.
A guy walked up to me, looked me in the eye and asked, “Weren’t you on ‘Seinfeld’?
Well, I wasn’t Elaine, and certainly not Jerry, and although stout, I still have hair, so not George, and obviously not the long, lanky Kramer.
That left only one suspect: Newman.
I looked at Ada, she turned around and started to laugh.
Vanity is its own punishment, but I suspect we all have a self-image that unfortunately belies the way others see us. But Newman?
Fat, stocky, neckless and devious? Me?
When Ada and I moved with our groceries, she couldn’t stop laughing. I saw her moments later near the checkout lines and she was still laughing. She said I had to write about it.
Wayne Knight, at 5ft 7in and with the girth of a football lineman he was in high school, played Newman, the postman who reared up and conspired with Kramer in mindless schemes on ” Seinfeld “and was Jerry’s perpetual enemy.
He was also, fans of the first “Jurassic Park” movie will remember, the scheming computer programmer who planned to sell dinosaur embryos to aliens but was attacked in a storm on the island and shot dead by cute creatures. but fatal, allowing the embryo without spillage.
New man? I know the ancestry behind my strong Eastern European infrastructure and, yes, I have to admit that the size of my collar is not quite the circumference of an oak barrel. But it pains me now to watch “Seinfeld” clips on YouTube and realize that I’m looking at my lookalike.
That sly Newman chuckle, that mischievous gait, that shameless avarice, that undisguised mass?
Steven Slosberg lives in Stonington and was a longtime journalist and columnist. He can be contacted at [email protected]