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A Special Serendipitous Meeting

In the Wake of Hurricane Sandy


Many of us who live in lower Manhattan and lost power during Hurricane Sandy, found ourselves leaving our neighborhoods and heading uptown, where there was power. Many stores and restaurants were open, and in some locations, it was business as usual – one would barely notice evidence of a major power blackout. Many photos were taken and articles written about this bizarre bifurcation in Manhattan – in parts of the Village, one needed a flashlight to walk, yet midtown was all aglow and abuzz.

Two days after the hurricane, while on a journey midtown to a pharmacy, I spotted none other than Hovey Burgess.* He too found the blackout conditions quite depressing and was wandering in a world of light to pass time and brighten his day.
Hovey is one of my very earliest customers, going back to the very inception of my business in 1975. He often came to my home (where I ran my business for the first 6 years) with his wife Judy to pick up juggling equipment. Hovey is one of the greatest supporters of his fellow artists and suppliers I have ever met. When I have called him over the years to tell him of some new prop or publication as a point of information, I would often find him at the shop immediately to peruse and purchase. Money was never a consideration – purchasing new juggling-related equipment or books, or attending juggling- or circus-related shows of merit, was always his number one priority. He is well known to often attend numerous performances of the same show. He is the quintessential patron of the arts and, if possible, he is someone that, ideally, you want to have interested in what you do. He was one of my earliest customers and advisors. I owe him a great deal.
And so, that is why it was no ordinary occurrence -  it was a Special Serendipitous Meeting :)

*Note about Hovey: For those who do not know him, Hovey is a circus aficionado, performer, juggler, and educator. For over 30 years, Hovey has taught circus arts at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is the author of the book Circus Techniques. Hovey has a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Pasadena Playhouse College of Theatre Arts.

His skills and work includes clowning, juggling, equilibristic and trapeze work with Circo Dell’Arte, Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus, Electric Circus, Patterson Brothers Circus, and Toledo Zoo Wild Animal Show. He is a former President of the International Jugglers Association.

He taught at American Conservatory Theatre, Juilliard, National Theatre School of Canada, Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Clown College, and Sarah Lawrence College. He was circus choreographer for Robert Altman’s Popeye (Paramount). Hovey is currently a member of Circus Flora, based in St. Louis. In 1999, he was inducted into the People’s Hall of Fame, which honors living cultural treasures and is housed at the Museum of the City of New York.

More on Hurricane Sandy: Yesterday’s Muddy Pants, Seeing Scenes Rarely Seen

2 Responses to A Special Serendipitous Meeting

  1. What a treat for you to see him during the stressful time we all had last week…and what a treat for me to see this most lovely man (who I haven’t seen in years) on your web site! Ah, the little gifts that are sent our way. :-)

  2. I remember him too! That’s the first thing I saw on the internet after 12, yes I said 12, days of darkness and cold. We just got our lights back on last night and internet tonight. So that was a nice treat to see someone from the past. These last 12 days have been truly hard as my house was about 46 degrees. Not a pleasant experience at all. Our shining light was the closeness we felt with all our neighbors who all came together to help each other. Our neighborhood on Long Island truly looks like a war zone. We needed to stay in our house because we have a lot of pets and couldn’t abandon them. At least our house is standing and now warm and bright with light once again. So thank you for such a nice little blast from the past, Brian, I’m glad your website was my first choice upon regaining my internet connection.


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