Friday, August 18, 2006


Merlin Remembered

Above:Merlin at home in the snow
Above :Merlin at home

Wednesday of this last week as I was walking past the Con Edison power substation , I noticed some brightly colored petals ,a candle and a piece of paper ahead of me , at a distance , at the northwest corner of the substation . I had a feeling as I approached the seeming possible memorial , that I knew who the person remembered might be .I felt that it had to be Merlin ... and indeed, when I was close enough to see and read the paper placed at the base of the candle , the memorial was a remembrance of Paul Hogan ,more commonly known among those in the neighborhood as Merlin.

Merlin was a very well known and popular street dweller who lived for some time , in all kinds of weather and year -around , at the northwest corner of the Con Edison substation spending his time reading , eating, drinking , excreting , sleeping and talking to people . Merlin rarely if ever left his spot on the corner for any purpose . Since he couldn't walk very far without pain ,most of the time friends in the neighborhood did his shopping and ran errands for him bringing him food ,magazines, papers, clothing ,bedding and wine .

Merlin left his spot one last time in August of 1996 to go to the hospital where he died 10 years ago on the 16th of the month of August in 1996 .

A wake and vigil of considerable moment, lasting for the better part of 2 weeks , was held in the neighborhood at Merlin's corner . Some nights the sidewalk and street around the memorial were so densely packed with people that it seemed that everyone in the neighborhood and the surrounding communities was attending , crowded together ,all kinds of folks , from all professions and callings , from high and low paying their respects to Merlin . At one point, at the end of the first week, the police came to the site in large numbers with the purpose of ending the vigil and removing the candles ,flowers and considerable clutter that had come to dominate the sidewalk and street at Merlins corner .There was some discord and confusion resulting in several people being arrested with numerous cameras and reporters ,including the New York Times , in attendence . In the end "The People" stood their ground bravely and successfully , the police left the field and the vigil continued another week or so longer . This is how it was 10 years ago in this neighborhood .

Just wanted to let you know that I was browsing around looking for evidence of my uncle Paul Hogan aka Merlin. It's really good to know that he was given a memorial and missed. Take care and thank you.
Paul Hogan was my uncle, and I never knew him, but I can not tell you how much it means to me to see how much people cared about him. Thank you so much.
i used to see merlin every day on my walk to school as a kid, and i remember his memorial very well. it's nice - and very sad - to see these photos.
Paul AKA Merlin was a fun, always made me laugh. A great guy to have as a cousin. I am glad to know he touched so many people. Sorry he is no longer with us.
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