Saturday, April 28, 2007


Friday night on Avenue A : "Coney Island Mike" Makes a Visit ...

Last night "Coney Island Mike" stopped by Ray's . Once a regular on A , now he only visits rarely .
Known also in Coney Island and Mullberry Street , Mike is tonight as much at home on avenue A as he ever was when he was an actual avenue A denizen .

"Coney Island Mike " and "Choice" pose for a picture .

Having his own cell-phone Mike only uses the phone booth as his beer-stash to hide his beer from the cops and perhaps also when necessary as a pissoir : traditional and sensible behavior at Ray's .

In the midst of a typical Friday night crowd on A , for a while Mike waxes pensive ...

Mike has some good luck : a man offers a blue bag to Mike for $3 .The bag contains a large un-opened bottle of Smirnoff Vodka , a large un-opened bottle of sour apple schnapps and some small bottles of Smirnoff "Ice".

For a short while Mike shares his alcoholic bounty with others including Jewels who takes a series of large gulps from the large bottle of vodka .
Considering his good fortune and who should best consume the larger portion of this bargain liquor find , Mike absconds with the blue bag and its contents , disappearing into the night .

Friday, April 27, 2007


Just Back From Hospital

Stanley and one of his 2 dogs just made an appearance on avenue this afternoon . It was the first time we've seen him in some time . For 2 months or so Stanley was at Bellevue for a long rest and a rebuilding of his strength.
Today , a little over-medicated and shakey but certainly healthier and more robust than the last time that we saw him , Stanley was walking one of his dogs , Tiberius , along avenue A . It was good to have him back on the street . Many of us missed him , Stanley having been such a regular and noticeable part of the neighborhood .
Stanley needed the hospital stay because he was just worn-out , not eating well and depressed , mostly by the fact that his landlord was pressuring him : threatening to throw him out of his apartment claiming among other things that he had to remove much of the clutter in his apartment ( see the post titiled "Stanley's Apartment " October 2006 here at NMNL ) and get rid of his dogs . He has lived in his apartment , origianally with his parents , for more than 20 years and for most of those years , at least since his parents passed away, he has had a dog to keep him company .
How many of you readers here have a dog that lives with you as a good friend to keep you company ?Isn't it a bit much to ask that a man must lose his best friend . Isn't it truly heartless and cruel ? But as you must know by now this landlord really wants this apartment ... and to hell with Stanley .
Carmine and some other friends cleaned-out Stanley's place while he was gone and also took care of his dogs. The problem of giving-up his dogs still exists though and it is a very difficult and painful one for Stanley because his dogs are all that he has . It would be a very lonely life and home without them .The people at the city's Department of Adult Protective Services along with MFY legal services have been helping Stanley in these difficult trying times with these matters . For now Stanley still has a home in our neighborhood and he still has a dog .

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Strollers on Avenue A...

Jimmy , known to some as "Broken Jaw Jimmy" , now long dead and Gypsy , who disappeared without a trace from the neighborhood several years ago , had found a wine glass , some beer and a stroller this evening and were out having some fun on avenue A.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


The Burning of "Loan Shark Bob" 's Bicycles...

Jimmy had a good bit of anger and bitter resentment for the local shylock and fence "Loan Shark Bob" . He had enough of both to galvanize him to act against L.S. Bob and get his revenge :on this night he chose to burn L.S. Bob's bicycles which were perpetually chained to the parking meter next to the phone booth outside Ray's Candystore .
Bob was a shylock and fence that most in the Tompkins Square Park neighborhood knew. Bob was to many quite useful , indeed necessary :if you needed that first drink in the morning to stop the shakes or that first bag of dope of the day to end the sickness then you went to Bob and he loaned you the money you needed to get staight for just 100% interest .Most paid him back with interest without complaint later in the day because ...there was always another morning tomorrow .
Some days Bob had a bottle or two of fortified wine or cheap vodka and a paper cup from which he sold dollar shots to those who really needed a drink but just not a whole pint to get their day started straight . I recollect that his enteprise was quite profitable and as well provided a needed service.
One of his most profitable shylocking operations involved exploiting recently de-institutionalized individuals who inevitably ended up downtown in TSP . When Bob found such an individual he right away be-freinded the confused and not-fully competent fellow and shortly ,in a matter of a few days usually, offered him a couple of hundred dollars . Not realizing the consequences that this gift led to our needy friend was , for a time at least ,quite happy with his new friend and his new-found wealth .
When the first check came to Bob's recently de-institutionalized prey , Bob demanded that he be the one to cash the check , charging a fee of $50 and also subtracting the $200 loan and the $200 worth of interest from the value of the check he left the lendee a total of approximately $200 to live on for the rest of the month . Of course no one ever made it through the whole month on just $200 so it was back to Bob in the middle of the month for another loan and .....
Bob had a number of such lendees that he regularly plucked for long periods of time ,usually until they were taken back to an institution of one sort or another . I once saw him at the EAB bank with a huge stack of bills that he was depositing in his bank account . He recieved a Social Security Disability check monthly but that could not possibly account for the size of the "cabbage" in his hand as he stood at the teller's window .
Bob fenced stollen items of all sorts from bicycles to cameras ,anything that he could somehow sell for a profit .Though not a dope dealer , one day I saw him on avenue A trying to sell a bag of heroin that he had somehow come to possess .Other days it was just watches ,bicycles ,cameras etc. that he sold on the avenue . Once in a while when he had a large number of cameras and watches on his hands he took a trip out of town to sell them .
When an individual was not able or simply unwilling to pay what Bob claimed he owed him , Bob engaged another lendee who had sizeable debt with Bob ( for an assumed reduction in this lendee's debt ) to make it clear to this uncooperative and recalcitrant individual that Bob meant bussiness and that he wanted his money .The method for providing the clarity varied but was usually threatening and was occasionally actually violent .
Here is where we come to Jimmy and his caustic act . I recollect that Jimmy claimed that Loan Shark Bob had had some one , probably one of his lendees , cut the tires on Jimmy's bicycle because Bob felt that Jimmy wasn't making a sufficient effort to pay what he owed Bob.
Jimmy set the fire next to the bicycles in a stack of "Village Voice"s that no one wanted and had been stacked next to the phone booth . As the flames grew a man from Leshko's tried to extinguish the fire with several buckets of water but with no success . A police RMP drove up and two cops got out , looked at the fire and recognizing who the bicycles belonged to they started laughing and then drove off as the fire trucks arrived . NYFD extinguished the fire quickly .

Monday, April 23, 2007


Ramy Issac , Architect of Benjamin Shaoul's 120 St. Marks Place Surrenders Self-certification and D-14 Privileges

ABOVE : Squatter Vietnam veterans "Mosaic Man" and "Biker Bill" at 120 St. Marks Place... 2 years ago

ABOVE : Squatter business "Accidental CD s" : Craig , Rachel and Vaca ( the black and white one ) at 120 St Marks Place ... just a bit more than a year ago

ABOVE : 120 St Marks Place today...

Above is the text ( click on text to enlarge ) of the agreement that an architect or engineer must honor when submitting plans under the Department of Building's plan self-certification program .

The link below takes you to the DOB's " Licenses and Renewals "site where it is noted that Ramy Issac has indeed surrendered his self-certification and D-14 privileges along with 3 other architects out of the hundreds , if not thousands , of architects practicing in NYC this year . The pertinent facts of the licenseing and regulation of architects and engineers practicing in NYC can also be found here:

The architect of Benjamin Shaoul's 120 St. Marks Place , Ramy Issac RA # 18258 , has surrendered his self-certification and D-14 privileges but it can hardly be believed that he has done so happily .This an event of some moment and significance and should be noted publicly as such . Without such privileges he can hardly practice architecture competitvely and productively in NYC .

With the just surrendered self-certification privileges he was able to produce a set of self-certified- as- above plans for a client in as little as a week and have construction permits in a matter of a day or two .With his D-14 privilege he could sign -off on completed work without DOB inspection . Now his situation is quite different .

During the Giuliani administration the size of the DOB was radically reduced and the self-certification program was instituted to expedite the inspection ,vetting and approval of submitted plans with a smaller staff of examiners .At least that is what the Giuliani administration claimed . In reality self-certification and D-14 privileges made it possible , along with a smaller DOB staff to interfere less with developers building buildings , to build many , many more buildings per year . No longer did the client of an architect have to spend money on an expiditer to spend months to "walk "his architects plans through the approval process at the DOB .

Now Mr. Issac will have to wait however long for the DOB to approve any plans that he submitts for approval and he will also have to wait for the DOB to inspect and sign-off on completed construction work .Clearly Mr. Issac can not now possibly compete effectively as an architect in NYC .

Though Mr. Issac is reported to have surrendered his privileges voluntarily and though we do not know with any definite detail why he would do so , especialy considering the difficult consequences of practicing without these privileges ; we can say that there is as a matter of course when an architect has his or her privileges taken from him or her by process of law , unlike when he or she surrenders them voluntarily , a public record of fact created that notes all charges of malfeasance , malfaction , malpractice and incompetence that were presented against him or her . We can also suppose that such a public record of charges ...and revoked-by-process-of-law privileges , would possibly catch the attention of the NY State Board of Regents , which is responsible for issueing and revoking professional licenses , and possibly result in proceedings against such an architect that could result in the revoking of his or her license .It is also possible to suppose that those who might wish to press criminal charges such as fraud and negligence or seek recourse in civil law proceedings against such an architect would find this public record interesting and possibly very useful to obtaining their ends .

We have spent considerable time here at NMNL documenting the progress of the construction of 120 St Marks Place , a building of which Mr. Issac was the architect of record .As can be seen from the record for this building here at NMNL and at the DOB profile for the building , Mr. Issac and Mr. Shaoul have had many problems at 120 St. Marks Place , the most serious of which was the failure of Mr. Issac's plans for the building to pass an audit by the DOB. In addition to this audit failure there were also problems during the process of co-ordination between Mr. Issac and the DOB to produce a set of lawful , workable plans that actually represented what was actually being built at 120 St. Marks Place ( see " Emblematic Bad Faith " here at NMNL) . There were also numerous stop work orders for the building ,many of which were ignored by Mr. Shaoul and his workers. There were also several violations for not having work permits and violations for working beyond the scope of plans or of a permit . There have also been some problems with Mr. Issac being able to produce a set of plans that conform to the zoning resolutions for the location of the building .
Because of the numerous complaints against Benjamin Shaoul and his building projects in her district ,Council Person Rosie Mendez has also spent a considerable amount of staff time attempting to get the DOB to revoke Mr. Issac's self-certification privileges and also to restrain and limit Mr. Shaoul's construction activities in her district .

The fact of Mr. Issac being the architect of record can be easily confirmed by going to the DOB building profile for 120 St Marks Place at and clicking on the " Jobs / Filings" category . This fact can also be confirmed by looking at the title boxes on the drawings shown in the post here at NMNL titled " Emblematic Bad Faith ".

Mr. Issac is also the architect of several of Benjamin Shaouls other building projects including 515 E. 5th st. , 514 and 516 E 6th st. and 349 E 10th St. .For an idea of how these projects have been handled check the DOB building profile of each of these buildings .

To learn more about 120 St Marks Place and it's owner Benjamin Shaoul , look at the posts here at NMNL titled as below as well as any other posts on NMNL concerning work beyond the scope of drawings , working without permits or violations of stop work orders :

"Some Aspects of a Civil Agreement ", Aug. 2006

"A Stop Work Order that Stops Nothing-1,2 and 3"Aug and Sept. 2006

"Emblematic Bad Faith ",Nov. 2006

"Construction Accident at 120 St. Marks Place"Oct. 2006

"Sorry ...Not Good Enough "Nov.2006

For something more on the the history of Benjamin Shaoul , his company Magnum Management and 120 St Marks Place in the media simply "Google"or "Yahoo" him .

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Starlings in Love in Tompkins Square Park .... For a Minute or So.

ABOVE ; The plaint : a love song
ABOVE : Love's song requited ...

ABOVE : Canoodling : The touching of beaks

ABOVE : The consummation


Saturday Night at 7A Cafe

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