You can always find bottles.
That observation comes from a man who juggled wine bottles at the intersection of East Houston and Chrystie on Saturday.
Richard would have been juggling traffic cones, like he was in this video from Bowery Boogie, but they were stolen overnight.
I’ve had lights stolen off my bicycle on 41st Street. My wallet was cleaned out at gunpoint in New Orleans. Car stereo was pried loose in Chicago. Such thefts made sense; the items had value.
But traffic cones stashed next to a subway stop? From a guy with cracked lips, hands hard like crumpled cardboard, collecting a buck here and there, wearing a worn red hat, a dirty red shirt and pants spotted purple with droplets from the glass corpses of a city’s night?
Of course. This is New York. The law: If it isn’t locked down, it’s going to get taken.
But that fact of urban life didn’t stop Richard. Like he said, you can always find bottles. Trash, in all of its metaphorical senses â€” trash people, trash behavior, trash values â€” piles up wherever we human beings gather.
Luckily, someone always comes along and makes art out of it. Here’s Richard performing his to the Flaming Lips:
Richard told me he came from 71st Street. I don’t know the significance of this. He said he was trying to return to Los Angeles. Unprompted, he explained to me the difference between rich old performers and poor old performers: The rich ones had good agents.
I gave him a dollar. So did my friend. Someone in a car placed something in his hat. Maybe it was a buck.
Thanks for the reminder, Richard.