I bumped into Jim Power, aka Mosaic Man, this morning in Tompkins Square Park. He is well known in the E.Vil. who has done all the mosaic tiling on light posts and planter boxes around the neighborhood. He recently lost the squat on St. Marks place where he had been for three years. (Click here for all the gory details).
He's remarkably sanguine about losing his place, saying that it was inevitable. He said he didn't appreciate the tactics that were used by Benjamin Shaoul to evict everyone, but he realized he wasn't a "legitimate" tenant, and so took the $2500 that was offered and left. He also said that up until about four or five months ago, the building was total mayhem, with people coming and going, drinking all night, with rival groups fighting with each other. It sounded like a Lord of the Flies thing.
Now he's bouncing around from place to place. He's about to turn 59, he said, and has a hip problem that prevents him from walking too far; he will lose all his tiling materials if he doesn't find a more permanent place soon.
I also learned that people who live in a building on E. 5th St. -- with legimate, rest-stabilized leases -- are also alleging harassment by Benjamin Shaoul, who recently purchased the building. It's hardly a new story in New York City, but it's always a bit shocking, nonetheless.
The photos below are of one of Mosaic man's lamp post pieces, and his former squat which I took from a safe distance across the street (the demo crew was in the process of removing bicycles that were in the basement).