The expression “All good things must come to an end” never had as much poignancy as when Eddie Hibbert told us on Friday that he was moving.
We accepted the news with joy; we know wherever Eddie parks his van, milestones are sure to be created, like the onestory building at the B-52 Greene and Grand bus stop that housed his furniture and architectural warehousing business. And all the achievements even prior to his years saving lives as a New York City firefighter.
Against last week’s still life of doors, dressers, desks, mantles, boxed books, newel posts, and tables inside the 222 Greene Avenue comfort zone, now sold and emptied, the community learned of the real local news; observed the master engaging his customers in the art of the deal; zigzagged through the hottest topics of the day –with folks from all over the world and Brooklyn — including the changes, for good or not-so, in the neighborhood.
And now the neighborhood is about to further change, with Eddie at the center of it. We all wanted him and this raw, gritty space to linger a little longer giving that corner a life no one or no place ever did, nor ever will. A soothsayer, this father of two, grandfather of one, friend to thousands over the years, heard just about everything. A counselor, he kept the secrets. A taskmaster, he put people to work who would not otherwise have an opportunity to work. A guru, he gave the naive, a heads up, and the saddened, a hearts up.
He also did a lot for a lot of people who had no clue at all that he was doing anything at all for them.
A highlight for us: the moment Eddie debuted the excellent music performance skills of local resident Robert Taylor. How would we have known Taylor, who Eddie set up on a used piano against the backdrop of a chorus of knob less doors, was a natural born pianist.
Eddie proved that in one space, one place, little miracles – key notes in the scheme of city life — could evolve. All you need is will, genius, vision, wisdom, old-school cool and the ability to make every individual feel special. All you need.
“You stick it out and good things come,” he once told a reporter about his success and his enterprise. We won’t so much miss the man or even feel a sense of loss or forlorn; Eddie accomplished what he set out to do. That’s a rare thing for most folks these days.
D uring noon to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, if you happen to be on the Greene/Grand corner of Clinton Hill, it won’t feel the same.
And here’s why we liked him so: He recognized that everyone had a story, just as he knew a tale was ingrained in every piece of furniture, in every house.
Eddie enriched everyone who was fortunate enough to be in his presence. “I’ll fi x you up. I got you.” And for a long, long while – probably more than we even deserved — we were blessed to have him. Text and photos: Bernice Elizabeth Green