James Reynolds Jr. has been called a lot of names. He was Jimmy to his grandmother and Junior to the rest of the family. In school the other kids tagged him Bern, which was short for Bernie Williams his favorite Yankee.
Most people in the Bronx just call him J.R. these days, but in Manhattan he’s known as Mr. Quick.
Some say he sells more designer handbags than anyone else in New York City.
“I just know the flow of the crowds around here,” Mr. Quick explained. “The key is being fast on the setup and the getaway. That’s how I earned my name.”
Mr. Quick moves everything on a small cart. When he locates a good spot the handbags are scooped up and arranged over old bed sheets on the sidewalk.
“People flock like pigeons to popcorn if you hit it right,” Mr. Quick said. “But you don’t want to draw too much attention. That brings the cops and then you’re out of business.”
So Mr. Quick has rules if you want to buy his French-designed handbags that are made in New York.
“The small bags are $20 and the big bags are $40,” he explained to a group outside the Winter Garden Theatre last night. “I don’t make change and don’t even think of asking for a receipt. Take it or leave it.”
Most of them took it.
Mr. Quick pocketed the cash and packed the leftovers. He was headed up Broadway when a woman shouted:
“Stop. Please wait.”
Mr. Quick kept walking, but the woman caught him near 54th Street.
“I just want to buy a bag,” she said. “But our tour bus is leaving so I need to make it quick.”
“That’s my name,” he said.