The Chess Hustler
I’ve avoided writing a story on the Washington Square chess hustlers because they are almost too obvious. Many of them are homeless, or borderline homeless. But they are the smartest homeless people in the world. A lot of them are drug addicts. They are all eccentric. When you walk by the chessboards, they call out to you, trying to convince you to “take a shot.” The starting wager is $2 a game. I’ve never played. But I imagine, like all hustlers, they let you win the $2 game. They probably even let you win the next $2 game. Then, reluctantly, they allow you to raise the wager to $20. That’s when they beat you in 90 seconds.
There is a circle of musicians that gather in Washington Square Park on warm, sunny days. Their talents vary widely. Some of them play guitar quite well. Some not so well. Others struggle just to keep beat with the tambourine. But everyone has a great time– especially when the sun is shining. I normally drop in for a song or two. I become part of the group, dance with the music, and make encouraging eye contact with the other members. Even without an instrument, I feel that I outrank some of the weaker tambourine players.
Keng Lye - Alive without Breath (2013) - Hyperrealistic sea animals created using acrylics and epoxy resin, layer by layer
By Coming Soon
Just a few selections from Hong Yi’s “31 days of creativity with food!”
She’ll be starting a whole new 30 day project soon, and you can see more at her Instagram @redhongyi.