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November 2019
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Proud Warrior of The Plants

Proud Warrior of The Plants, originally uploaded by elefanterosado.

We met Demba somewhere in midtown Manhattan as we were meandering toward Penn Station.

He is the young, handsome and incredibly gracious custodian of a plant shop which is housed (somewhat incongruously) inside a former nightclub, complete with bar, crude florescent lights and mirrors.

He allowed us to wander freely and set up our equipment as though we had made a prior appointment, which we hadn’t. Meanwhile, he chatted politely on the phone in Italian. He is from Senegal, but is fluent Italian, French, Spanish and English.

Later, he found outlets for the rough journeyman carpenter’s lights so we could take pictures.

It was around that time that we realized that the best possible subject was standing right in front of us. I paused before marshaling the nerve to ask him if he would mind wrapping Ray’s scarf around his neck like a Senegalese bushman.

Not only did he acquiesce, but he knew exactly how to wrap & snug it up, taking care so the tag wouldn’t show.

And then posed like a professional fashion model for shot after shot.

We scuttled out of there shortly before his boss screeched up to the curb in a loud, tricked-out pickup bearing a huge potted plant.

Apparently the boss isn’t as gracious as his employee. He probably wouldn’t have appreciated our using his plant shop-cum-nightclub as a photo studio.

But what he doesn’t know surely won’t hurt him.

Somewhere in Midtown. New York, NY.