"Shoot if you must at this old gray head, but spare your country's flags," says street peddler Tommy O., glancing around 34th Street at all the fellow hawkers. I've known the wiry and wily Tommy since the late '70s, and for an old gray head who'll quote you Shakespeare at will, Barbara Frietchie has to be one of his more mundane references. Not inappropriate, though, what with Stars and Stripes blinding midtown on this gorgeous Sunday, nearly two weeks post-9-11. Since flag sellers seem to outnumber tourists, the 68-year-old Tommy has his own small bundle stashed away in his change apron, betting instead for a rush on patriotic buttons. "My wholesaler wanted 50 cents," he says, standing before rows of God Bless America badges neatly laid out across a portable, folding board. "I said, 'What? These are from the Gulf War.' She said, 'OK, will you pay 35?' and I figured, what the hell, the things have... More >>>
By Photo: Andrew Portnoy
Words to sell by: "Price to me, 11 cents. Price to the world, $1."