Sunday, May 18, 2008


There's a saying in the minor leagues about wearing many hats. Or getting your hands dirty. Or...wearing dirty hats. Something like that. Basically, what it means is that you do a little bit of everything. You do your own job, plus help with some others -- pull the tarp when it rains, answer the phones when they're ringing off the hook, hang pictures on the walls when they're barren, and do just about anything else that comes up.

On Sunday, fans got another glimpse of that at the 5th Avenue Fair in Park Slope, when Steve Cohen -- reigning NYPL Executive of the Year, mind you -- put on one of his many hats and became a barker for the Cyclones booth.

After a slightly more subdued morning in his absence, the afternoon saw Steve hit the scene like the team's namesake, whipping the crowd (and himself) into a frenzy.

"Who needs a Cyclones schedule?" "Cyclones schedules here!" "Get your tickets while you can!" "They're going fast!" "Brooklyn's favorite team is here!"

Soon, other booths were answering his chants. Passersby were spontaneously breaking into choruses of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame." Steve hasn't been this sharp since that week three years ago when he only ate fruit! He brought his A-game, "live from the Catskills," Shecky Greene material, and he had the audience in the palm of his hand.

And then the rains came.

Basically, the crowd dispersed and the booth vendors were generally less happy (and more wet), but Steve wouldn't let up.

"It never rains on Coney Island!" (When pressed by a disbelieving fan, he conceded that it had rained on Coney once. Once. In June of 1937. But not since, and never again, if he had his way.) "Come see the Cyclones, where the sun always shines!"

And it only got better (worse?) from there. Now he was going bi-lingual. "Get your schedules...calendars...(how do you say schedules in Spanish?)...calendariooooooooo!"

The folks from the musical Wicked looked on in horror as he proclaimed that the headline song from their show was "The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow," and then started to sing the words. When told that that was more likely from Annie, he broke into "Memories." Nope, still not right. So he made up his own song that consisted of one word -- "wicked" -- set to the tune of the Spy Hunter theme song and also included a "Back to Basics" dance (reminiscent of Carlton Banks).

Just about then, the rain got even heavier, Steve's cab showed up to whisk him away, and the 5th Avenue Fair became a lot less interesting.

Next up, the 7th Ave fair...make sure you stop by our booth to see what Steve has cooked up next. And don't forget to get your tickets now to see the Cyclones in Coney Island...where the sun's been shining since 1937.

-- Dave

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