By Alan Madlane
Do you like tea?
If so, or if you are tea-curious, Lynn Blasey of the city’s Arts and Cultural Commission has a get-together for you.
On the first Saturday of the month, she and some of her friends host a tea party for the community. We’ll let her explain.
The Review: This is a nice idea. How, and why, did you come up with it, and how long have you been doing it? And why tea?
Lynn Blasey: I love opportunities to bring people together. This past May, a couple of my friends had a pop-up tea party on Belle Isle for another friend’s birthday; when we posted pictures, our Hamtramck friends were sad that they hadn’t been invited.
In college, I hosted a weekly coffee night (for free) in my dorm room that attracted students from across Michigan State’s huge campus.
The interest in our tea party seemed like a great opportunity to do something similar with my coffee night in Hamtramck, so I sat down with a couple of friends, and we decided that the first Saturday of each month was a good place to start.
We chose Zussman Park because of its central location, and tea because it’s a universal beverage and easy to transport.
The Review: How long have you been doing it? And how has it been received so far?
Blasey: June 4 was our first tea, with an attendance of around six people, including someone who was in town visiting from California.
Knowing that July 2 was a holiday weekend, I didn’t expect a huge turnout, but was pleasantly surprised to have five people show up, three of whom weren’t at the June tea.
The Review: Has the weather been cooperative? If not, is there an alternate plan? Is there any shelter in Zussman Park?
Blasey: The weather has been cooperative. I’m exploring options to move the event indoors when fall and winter hit, and the weather becomes less reliable.
Although I’d like to keep it free, we might rotate between the local coffee shops to support their businesses in the winter months; I haven’t decided yet.
Right now, if it rains, tea is canceled, as there is no shelter at Zussman Park… I prefer to have it outdoors for accessibility and visibility as frequently as possible, and — as long as my schedule permits — I’d like to keep this going. As long as there is also community interest.
The Review: Is there any recourse for people who show up without any tea? What about without any hot water?
I know you don’t want to encourage it, but maybe someone might be just passing by Zussman, and suddenly decide to stop and partake of getting to know their neighbors?
Blasey: I bring plenty of hot water, extra teacups, and teas to share. I definitely encourage passers-by to stop and join us before continuing on their way.
The Review: Have any of Hamtramck’s politicos stopped by? Or any other celebrities? Is this the new place to be?
Blasey: Councilwoman (Amanda) Jaczkowski is a regular (she was also who the original tea party at Belle Isle was celebrating).
Former councilwoman (Carrie Beth) Lasley and former council candidate (Justin) Jessop attended the June tea, and sent their regrets for July’s. I expect them to return in August, schedules and weather permitting.
We’ve also enjoyed the company of a couple of Hamtramck school teachers so far, in addition to residents.
The Review: What if people want coffee? Or milk? Or a little, ah, something extra in their hot water?
Blasey: People are welcome to bring their own tea, or preferred (non-alcoholic) beverages and condiments.
I do have a small sugar container, but haven’t provided milk or cream yet simply because I have only had powder at home — and that’s boring. Lol.
The Review: Feel free to add anything else that you would like!
Blasey: I’d just like everyone to know that they’re welcome to join us.
As the event becomes more popular, we can expand from using one picnic table to using multiple ones, and I always bring a blanket to sit on for more seating as well. My intent is to provide an informal opportunity for neighbors to come together and get to know one another.
The Review: Well, thank you so much!
Blasey: Thank you for taking interest in our tea gatherings.
Interested? Text, or call, Lynn Blasey: (586) 804-7247.
Posted July 29, 2022