Sunday afternoon on Bogart Street couldn’t be nicer; it’s not too hot and the fresh air feels good. He tightens his grip on a silver fork and lifts a big, heavy hammer. Bono’s emotional “Did I disappoint you?” cuts through the air – his car speakers are blasting U2. Jeweler Alan Crosby finishes making a silver ring, and proceeds to craft a necklace, bending the fork’s prongs.
Street vendors have become a sine qua non of Bogart Street. When you get off the Morgan L you’re bound to find vinyls, paintings, clothing, and a ton of mesmerizing, likely useless but definitely captivating, junk. Alan Crosby’s silverware jewelry is dramatic and fascinating. Unless you already know what they’re made of, it is almost impossible to see the utensils in the mysterious symbols and shapes holding colorful glass spheres. Alan has a unique ability to take ordinary, unromantic, every day objects and turn them into fantastical, gracious and magical amulets.
“I was in Iraq for a year,” Alan says and immediately pulls up his t-shirt to show me were he was shot on his stomach. “Twice,” he adds. “But jewelry I’ve been making for 20 years,” he smiles. “It all started when my ex-girlfriend asked me to make a dragon ring for her,” Alan continues. “I took a silver spoon and made it, and I kept on doing it.” No wonder he is known in New York as the Spoon Guy.
Alan Crosby, originally from Florida, has been living on Central Ave in Bushwick for a good six years. He has sold his jewelry on Bedford Ave, in various coffee shops, and now regularly on Bogart St. A couple of days per week he works in a yoga ashram in Manhattan. “I do cooking, cleaning, whatever is needed, although I’m not much of a yoga guy,” he laughs heartily but explains that the spiritual aspect of yoga means a lot to him.
Holding the ring he just made in his big tattooed hand, Alan adds it to the display table while a couple of young people stop by and admire his work. Alan smiles, radiating inner peace and unbending optimism.