Saturday's rain did not stop the Greenhorns—a group of young, idealistic, back-to-basics farmers—from throwing a down-home hoe-down right in the heart of Carroll Gardens, inside and outside the newly reborn Vermont Market and Pharmacy, which look to became even weirder in its second incarnation that it was in its first.
There was a mighty crowd—average age: 24—on the corner of Henry and Sackett, enjoying music, politically correct food and informational literature under the scaffolding (which had been painted green and inscribed with quotes from Walt Whitman for the occasion). I swung by because I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see a goat turned on a bike-powered spit. And because I knew this would be a rare chance to see the inside of the long shuttered pharmacy. So, I got to see the tin ceiling for the first time.
And I got to see the ornate tile floor, which stills bears the name of Longo's Pharmacy, the gun-running shop that was here before the Vermont version showed up.
To see these attractions (and to claim a "free" beer) cost me $5. I was give a bean from the cashier, which I, Jack-and-the-Beanstalk-style, gave to lady in trade for the brewsky. To get a goat sandwich cost another $10. I opted not to get the $5 side salad and ice cream. Whew! Going Green sure costs a lot of green.
Now, I lean liberal in my political and social beliefs. But, I have to say the Greenhorn's new venture was about the most weirdly Hippie-ish happening I've ever encountered. People were sitting on hay bales, for cripes sake. Flowers were worn on various heads as halos. There was elderflower syrup for sale, for, I guess, to put on your pancakes. One could participate in something called a "Silent, Non-Violent Auction." (Is vocal bidding an act of violence?)
Don't get me wrong. I wish these guys well. (No target date on the opening, by the way.) I support most everything their into: local food, natural products, etc. They want to do the right thing, and more power to them! I just couldn't help but put myself in the shoes of the staring old Italian men across the street at the Society of the Citizens of Pozzollo social club, who were probably thinking it was the '60s all over again.
The goats were off the spit by the time I got there, but there was plenty of goat meat and goat ribs around. The little tin-can-chewers were brought down from a farm in Connecticut and there had been two of them. As I said before, the spits were powered by bicycle. Someone excitedly asked the man in charge if that ingenious arrangement has worked all right. He shrugged. "Not really," he said.