Saturday, July 15, 2006
Jim celebrates those who serve
At the campsite on Jim's worktable sits a planter . This planter has been in the process of creation for more than a year . It's reason for existing is to celebrate all the members of all the services that serve the people of NYC. I beleive that Jim intends to place the planter somewhere at "Ground Zero" someday when it is finished .As you can see all the varied ,irregular and variously colored tessarae are assembled into a view of downtown NYC. Also included as a major part of the plan are the initials of the various services :New york City Police Dept. ,Port Authority Police , Emergency Medical service , New York City Fire Dept. and even a citation for the St. Marks Place Block Association . But as we all know ,no good deed goes unpunished .
Recently someone has complained about Jim's "tent " to the NYPD. The NYPD 2 days ago told Jim that he must move from St Marks Place by Monday.Someone in this neighborhood , among all those who actually like Jim's presence on the block , has complained of the tent and of supposedly unsanitary conditions . Jim keeps everything around him clean and sanitary and to most on the block, the "tent " is not only not objectionable but a welcome and entertaining addition to the nieghborhood . Most see that Jim in many ways contributes to the betterment of the block .
I do not doubt that there are ordinances prohibiting Jim's encampment on St. Marks Place . I do not doubt the authority of the NYPD to forcibly , if necessary , remove Jim and Jesse and thier encampment from the block. I do find it ,though , more than a little ironic and sad that one of the agencies that Jim has celebrated on his planter will be the agent of his removal from St. Marks Place .
I imagine that Jim will not just submit and leave .I'm sure that he has some unique and innimatable "Power" plan to confuse ,disrupt and complicate his removal from the block. For more current information on this situation go to : www.eastvillagenews.blogspot.com or www.eastvillage.com . I'm sure that there is more to come and that it will most likely be entertaining ,enlightening and good for the human spirit .
Concerning the weekends on ave. A
Every Friday and Saturday night a horde of revelers comes to the East Village and the Lower East Side to consume voraciousy a train load of Booze . The city loves it ;all that tax revenue to collect from bars and restaurants . The landlords love it ;all that exorbitant rent to collect from bars and restaurants . Most in the neighborhood who actually live in the neighborhood wish with all their heart that it would just all go away.
The East Village , now that Times Square shuts down early , is one of the few areas in the city that stays open all night . Ray's Candy Store at 113 ave. A remains open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.Ray pays a confiscatory rent because he has to . The landlord can take as much as he does simply because he can . There is no compassion here for the 73 year old beloved nieghborhood figure and the institution that he tends 7 days a week. Much of what is left of the old nieghborhood is anchored to Ray's . Ray makes money in the summer selling Belgian fries ,hot dogs and ice cream products to late night revelers. In the winter he loses money and thus borrows on his credit cards until the mostly drunken summer horde returns. Ray has some oldtime neighborhood business year around but it is not enough to pay the exhorbitant rent levied on him, thus growing debt in the winter and payback in the summer . Most of the new and transient crowd knows Ray's not as Ray's but as "Belgian Fries ".
Fashion obsessed and mostly self absorbed , the drunken worshipers of Dionysus and Narcissus so easily turn a blind eye to the reality around them as they continue their night long revel .Last night , a man sitting in a wheel chair at the corner of 7th street and ave. A , passed out and with a hospital ID bracelet on his wrist, went largely unnoticed and unattended for at least three hours. It's so easy to just step over or around and not see the unpleasent when you are out having a good time .Inncidentally the man in a wheel chair was alright,weak and dissoriented but mostly just sleeping. Few, very ,very ,very few stopped to do so little as to check to see that he was breathing .
"Alpo" for Jesse Jane
Jim receives much good will from the members of the community around him . Most consider Jim and Jesse Jane valued members of the community. People regularly bring food and other necessities for both Jim and Jesse Jane . Last night Irene stopped by with some "Alpo" for Jesse Jane, a much appreciated gift .
Speaking of pets ,Jim has a new pet and it's green . I am told that it ate 2 baby ants yesterday .
There was the usual Friday night mix of locals and" Bridge and Tunnel" revelers . Jack sat at the new utility bar appearing to host and moderate all the activity ." Outlaw" flexed his biceps ,a regular thing on this blog, and De La Vega put his "Door to Nowhere" on the street .
Friday, July 14, 2006
Sunday afternoon with Shelby and Myles .
Above: House-sitting ,painting and living today
Below: 75 Green Street
Last Sunday I visited Shelby and Myles at the apartment where they are house-sitting until the middle of August . They both are former residents of the Cave at 120 St. Marks Place where they had one small quiet room with northern light in which to live and work . They of course know Jim Power and like Jim have had difficulty finding a permanent place to live and work .
Where they live now is spacious , well endowed with natural light and affords all the necessary comforts of a home. The apartment is large with much wall surface and affords plenty of space to both paint and display paintings . Paintings can be seen everywhere . This paradise east of Tompkins Square Park is to be short lived though since Shelby and Myles will soon be homeless again.
Since they lived at the Cave , they have lived several different places including in the street .For a while they lived in SOHO at 75 Green Street, another artist commune . 75 Green Street was started by another former Cave fellow ,Gerry Faust, and is one very large room, a whole floor of a building , that serves as space for artist to work and also for some to live . The rough, undeveloped and unheated space is also a gallery and sometimes a space for very big parties . For some time both young artists painted , displayed and sold paintings right where they also lived on Green Street. But that all ended for them and so they moved on as they will again soon have to do.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Where Jim lives there are no doors to close . No quiet ,secure room of his own . No isolation or sanctuary . People and the noise and confusion that they create and the threat that they may represent are always right there a few feet away . Jim and Jesse Jane sleep on the sidewalk as people drink ,talk ,play music and party- on a few feet from thier beds . This situation never changes ;the presence of the active and threatening world is always right there ready to intrude.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Sidewalk mosaic repair .
As I mentioned in an earlier post on this blog ,Jim sometimes repairs damaged areas in our sidewalks . Pictured above is such a repair that was made on ave. A . Jim embellished the repair with a now defaced mosaic image of the food product of a local food vendor . It just happens that the repair was in front of the premises of a competeting food vendor .
More entertainment at Jim's place
Jim had another entertainer stop by yesterday . He moved around a lot and moved his hands dramatically but he didn't make much music . The electric guitar didn't seem to be turned on and he could hardly be heard singing . But Jim clapped his hands to provide some rhythm as mom looked on and Jesse Jane ...well ,Jesse just didn't seem to be at all moved by the performance .
Saturday night out in front of Ray's Candy Store
Saturday night Noah and Charrish stopped by Ray's at 113 ave A . Noah was an artist/squatter with Jim "Mosaic Man " Power at the "Cave" commune . As can be seen from some pictures taken a year ago, Noah made freeform jewelry and little folded structures from MTA transit cards . At the Cave, Noah also painted a variety of different kinds of paintings . Some of the most interesting paintings were poured and dripped paintings, many of which he sold . One time I asked him if he was a follower of Jackson Pollock . His answer was that he didn't know what I was talking about since he had never heard of Pollock. Noah had apparently independantly discovered much of what Pollock had discovered because the paintings looked very much like Pollock paintings . On Saturday night Noah offered that he was wearing the same paint speckled and splattered trousers that he first wore at the Cave while pouring and dripping paint.
After living in a variety of different places including the street he now has a real apartment on the Lower East Side that he and Charrish share. The rent is luckily for them affordable .
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
The mosaic "chair" at the bus stop
The little fellow sits there all day , all night, gray and hunched .... always midst all the parti colored tesserae, silent and alone . He now sits glued to concrete , part of a mosaic coat on the back of a chair .What is he ? Where did he come from ? What was his purpose ?...I can't answer with certainty, probably just an ornament of little consequence. But still the way he sits so quietly and stares ,hands folded perpetually....
Today he decorates a " mosaic chair" at the bus stop at St Marks Place and ave. A . A chair which did not begin as a chair . The chair was in the beginning a planter with plants and it was made by Jim "Mosaic Man " Power .The mosaic planter's life was short . One night a car swerved out of control ,up onto the sidewalk and into the planter . One side of the planter was crushed and the earth and plants spilled on to the sidewalk .Later Jim cleaned up the mess ,trimmed away some rough edged concrete and thus a chair was made .
The chair is frequently used by tired travelers waiting for the bus . They sit and wait and some make cell phone calls while waiting ,waiting ,waiting...
Jim sometimes strolls with Jesse from his encampment down the street to the "mosaic chair" to read or call ,usually with a large "Monster" energy drink at hand
Monday, July 10, 2006
What a life . Live music at Jim's place .
Saturday night as Jim and Mina listen Lorcan Otway and Greg Dunn play some old Irish tunes at the sidewalk encampment .Lorcan was playing the Irish or Uilleann pipes and Greg was playing the fiddle . Lorcan is a nieghbor of Jim's , living just a short way up St. Marks Place . Greg is visiting NYC from Hull England .Though the music was entirely Irish in origin ,one passing nieghborhood regular was convinced that the tunes were Polish .
Jim and Mina continued to talk for some time after the music ended . Lorcan and Greg had headed uptown to O'Neals to continue the evening playing music ... and perhaps to to have a drop or two . Later as Jim and Mina continued to talk, John Lockwood came by ,pulled out a lounge chair ,unfolded it and made himself at home craneing his head around to look at the camera . John was the first person to be given a key by the owner to the vacant 120 St. Marks Pl. building .That was 5 years or so ago . John later passed that key along to others ,others passed the key along also and the building eventually became the commune known as the " Cave " where Jim had lived for two years until evicted at the end of March 2006 .
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