Snow closes busy Cross St. Market BLIZZARD '93 Customers braved weather to shop

March 14, 1993|By Ann LoLordo | Ann LoLordo,Staff Writer

Steve Bongiovani arrived at the Cross Street Market in South Baltimore yesterday morning at 7:30 ready for a full day's work at his fruit and vegetable stall. He put out string beans, fresh greens, celery hearts and romaine lettuce, arranged the mushrooms and strawberries, and straightened the bins of apples and oranges.

But within two hours, he and the dozen or so businessmen busy waiting on market customers were told to close by noon -- orders from the mayor of Baltimore.

"I'd have stayed in bed if I'd known that," groused Mr. Bongiovani, a third-generation market man who drove the snow-slick roads from Ellicott City to open his stall.

"We're trying to make a living. All the people who live in the area walk here."

That's exactly why Peter Grosser and Bonnie King braved the sleet and snow -- it was only a couple of blocks to the market from their Otterbein home. Bundled up in parkas and boots, a pack strapped to Ms. King's back, the couple surveyed the greens.

"My daughter called and said she was going to come Sunday because she felt cabin-bound," said Ms. King, whose daughter is holed up in Hampden. "So I figured I better come down and get some food. Boy, am I glad I live downtown."

"All we have to do is find a liquor store and we'll be all set," added Mr. Grosser.

Despite the stormy weather, the market seemed like spring. The flower stalls bloomed with purple crocuses and sunny, yellow daffodils, St. Patrick's Day carnations and pots of primroses blazing like burgundy velvet.

Customers eyed stalks of pussy willows and bunches of yellow roses, eager for a sweetheart's hand.

Chuck Stephens couldn't pass up the chance to brighten a gloomy day.

"Flowers for my lovely wife," he said, with a mixed bouquet clutched in the crook of his arm. "They'll get me out of trouble."

Mona Lesane walked to the market with her 9-year-old son, William, "just to come out in the snow."

Although they live two blocks from the Cross Street Market, the Nugent sisters, Jennifer and Kate, thought it best to drive there. Why?

"It's too miserable out," said Kate, who is 19.

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