Sunday, June 17, 2007
Jim and Jewels
Jim "Mosaic Man" Power, left, and Lower East Side Jewels, two East Village legends who took very different paths to where each is now. This photo was taken in Tompkins Square Park on Sunday, the day Jewels was to be married.
My newly made friend, photographer Bob Arihood, has written in great depth about both men on his blog and for years has chronicled their lives pictorially. I'm indebted to Bob for allowing me to learn more about these men through anecdotes and memories.
Jim has graced the East Village with wonderful mosaics, some of which adorn light standards throughout the neighborhood. On Saturday, I was standing alongside one at Broadway and Eighth Street.
As I was waiting to cross, I saw a dumpy, middle-aged woman eyeing Jim's artwork and then furtively glancing right and left. When she thought nobody was looking, she pulled a black Sharpie marker out of the pocket of her shorts and wrote her name on a white tile embedded in the design.
Well, I was looking.
I told her, "I happen to know the man who made this artwork, and I don't think he would appreciate your defacing it."
"Yes, you're right," the woman said almost automatically, as if she has been caught at this game before. She quickly headed across St. Marks while I crossed the avenue.
What would possess this thoroughly unremarkable streak of paralyzed piss to think that anyone would care that she had been on that spot on Saturday, June 16, 2007, and chose to record the fact for posterity, defacing someone's hard work and life's blood in the process?