Stand-up job: Locals balance eggs to honor Spring Equinox - Brooklyn Paper

Stand-up job: Locals balance eggs to honor Spring Equinox

Perfect balance: Julie DeLaurier balances an egg at — wait for it — an egg-balancing event at Grand Army Plaza.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

They did one shell of a job!

A group of merrymakers flocked to Grand Army Plaza on Tuesday for a crack at a hard-boiled challenge — balancing 360 eggs upright atop the rough-hewn stone surrounding the oval’s Bailey Fountain.

But the egg-cersize in equilibrium did not ruffle the feathers of the steady-handed Brooklynites, who managed to stand all 30-dozen eggs straight up on their fat sides, according to the organizer who egged participants on.

“We did it!” said Donna “Mama Donna” Henes, a self-proclaimed urban shaman who hosts esoteric events throughout the city. “We stood up all 360.”

Henes hatched the idea for the egg-balancing event more than four decades ago, and cooks it up each year to coincide with the Spring Equinox — the first day of the season, when the day is roughly equal in length to the night. She’s staged the egg-stravaganza, which borrows from a popular Chinese tradition of balancing eggs to achieve good luck, at Grand Army Plaza for the last 20 years.

The shaman kicked off the event by corralling her colony of balancers into a circle and encouraging them to shed any emotional baggage before embarking on their egg-cellent adventure.

“I ask people to shake off everything they don’t want to bring into the new season — depression, fear, stress, any bad feelings — so that we can start with a new beginning,” she said.

And although Henes’s springtime blessing may sound like a bunch of new-age nonsense, one Park Sloper insisted it was no yoke, and that it inspired a sense of calm among the amateur acrobats.

“It was amazingly harmonious, which is another nice treat,” said Julie DeLaurier.

The flock of locals received some unexpected assistance with their equilibrial endeavor from students at a Fort Greene private school, Henes said, who appeared unsolicited to lend a hand after she unsuccessfully attempted to poach other helpers from a nearby public learning house. The Trilok School youngsters proved to have an egg-ceptionally deft touch when it came to the balancing act, according to the shaman.

“Every five minutes they’d run over shouting, ‘I stood up 13,’ or, ‘I stood up 15,” she said. “It was great!”

And after all 360 eggs achieved complete balance, the group carefully recollected the specimens before bringing them to the nearby Chips soup kitchen on Fourth Avenue, where they were used to prepare an eggs-quisitely spiritual dish for needy Kings Countians, Henes said.

“They have a sacred omelet once a year,” she said.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
What an egghead: Urban Shaman Donna “Mama Donna” Henes organized an egg-balancing event at Grand Army Plaza to celebrate the Spring Equinox on March 20.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

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