One Hour. No Plans. Just Market—Part 3
On the second day of a new year, we hit the streets for the third installment of our day-in-the-life trilogy (and on a much chillier day than the last time we thought this would be a good idea). It was quiet on Market this afternoon – clearly, many were still sleeping off the revelries of the holiday season. But look close enough, and there’s always something happening …
The Grand is dark tonight, but deep inside the offices on the fourth floor, there’s a light shining from the First State Ballet Theatre costume shop. Executive Director Kristina Kambalov is here, needle in hand.
Kristina: “We have two student competitions in January that we’re preparing for. The company is off on break, so it’s student time. These were our snowflakes, and now they’re becoming a paquita costume with a simple added overlay. Or you put feathers on it, and it becomes a swan. You can make a white tutu into anything you want, just by putting something different on the top. Theatrical miracles. So that’s what’s going on up here.”
Outside the grand, a young man named Branden Fletcher stands with his clipboard, collecting signatures to get Bernie on the ballot in Delaware.
Branden: “I’ve been collecting signatures for about two weeks now. It’s been kind of challenging, because this is Biden territory, but we’re looking to get 500 signatures to confirm his ballot status. We’re hosting an event at the Starbucks next week …”
Passerby (on phone): “Hold on. I’m gonna call you right back. … Is Bernie Sanders going to be down here?!?”
Branden: “Not yet, but soon, hopefully. Would you like to sign our petition?”
While he signs … why Bernie, Branden?
Branden: “Because he’s fought for his entire life on the right side of history. Right now, my parents can’t afford their prescription pills. That’s the main reason why I decided I can’t just sit down this race. I have to be in it and fight for not only my family and my community, but everyone else who’s struggling.”
Inside Wright & Simon, Leonard Simon is fitting attorney
Don Isken into a very distinctive paid of skeleton-pumpkin pants.
Don: “My kids bought these for Christmas. They said I could wear them on Halloween. But the size … I said, you bought me clown pants! This is what you think of me! I think they’re a hoot.”
How old are your kids?
Don: “My kids are 30 and 21.”
They have a sense of humor.
Don: “And my credit card.”
Leonard: “Can I go to work please?!?”
Don: “You know he’s going to rush out and buy a pair of these tomorrow.”
Leonard: “All right Don, you can get out of those.”
Don: “I’ve been coming here 40 years. That’s when I started working. Back then, you had to wear a suit to work every day. And Leonard was just a young pup.”
It’s quiet today inside Rodney Square, but work continues on the construction. Near King Street, you can see the guts of what will soon be a half-moon shaped water fountain, flat to the ground so kids can run between the jets of water that shoot out from below.
John Rago, deputy chief of staff for Mayor Mike Purzycki, tells us that between now and early May, the square will see the installation of an underground stormwater conservation project to help water the trees, new decorative lighting and granite curbing, and a whole new landscaping job on the central lawn. Watch this space in months to come.
It’s quiet between lunch and dinner service inside the Green Room of the Hotel du Pont, on one of its final days before a new restaurant opens this spring with Chef Tyler Akin at the helm. (Tyler is the Wilmington native and former Zahav chef who went on to open Stock and Res Ipsa in Philadelphia.) Hotel du Pont’s General Manager Greg Kavanagh has been talking to patrons about the changes to come.
Greg: “Yeah, I was here on New Year's Eve when we all sang Auld Lang Syne. And initially, we had people who were very concerned that we were making drastic changes. But once they've been reassured that the historic and architectural elements of the room are not going to be destroyed or removed – or even changed that much – I think they’re now looking forward to the next new chapter.”
“The Hotel du Pont is literally and figuratively the heart of Wilmington. We're not touching the oak wood paneling. We're not touching the plastered ceilings. The gold chandeliers are all staying in place. The format, the menu, and the look will all be different, but it will still be recognizable as the place that's been here all these years. We're Wilmington's living room. So maybe we become Wilmington's dining room once again.”
This post appears courtesy of New Market Wilm—get a new downtown post delivererd right to yout INbox each week!
Filed Under: Living In Wilmington