Saturday, January 29, 2005

Park Slope Snapshot: Homeless Man

Smartmom is fascinated by the "homeless" man who stands in front of the Ace Grocery Store on the corner of Berkeley Place and Seventh Avenue. A tall, black man - maybe 50 years old - with a long, wrinkled face and a patient smile, he always says, "Can you spare something for me. I'd really appreciate it," in a soft voice, exerting no pressure at all.

He has been doing this for years. He doesn't hold a cup, never holds out his hand. He always smiles even when he gets nothing.

In an interview in Park Slope Paper, he said that he needs to earn twenty dollars a day in order to eat, and stay in a residential hotel in deeper Brooklyn where he keeps his things. He said he'd spent some time in the Brooklyn House of Detention; he was wrongly accused of a neighborhood rape. He got out after six months. He likes jazz music from the fifties: Theolonius Monk in particular. His albums and his portable record player were stolen years ago.

Smartmom gave him five dollars the other night on her way back from running in the park. "Wow, you're generous," said her neighbor, Ed. "Now I won't have to pay him for another few days," she replied.

She's usually in too big a rush, racing to whatever is the next thing she needs to do.

6 Comments:

At 5:41 AM, Blogger red eft said...

Do you remember the guy who looked like William S. Burroughs? I don't know if he is still there. May have been the same grocer. He sat on a plastic carton and asked for money so slowly and politely you'd be halfway down the block before the request was out of his mouth. He was there as far back as the early 90s.

 
At 9:50 PM, Blogger patricia said...

hi
does anyone know rick bodah?
he lived on berkley place either between 7th and 8th avenue
or 6th and 7th avenue
trying to find him for a reunion...
his mom's name was violet ...
if so
please contact me at ptrimarco1@aol.com
i am the writer of 7th avenue in the 60's
i am also trying to locate the man is is doing a movie about the crash of 61 i was there...it passed by my window....
please help

 
At 12:55 PM, Blogger AQUAJET9000 said...

I know who you're talking about....the black man on berkley and 7th.

Yes he is very polite. Many of them are polite. Like the various men who regularly stand outside Met Food on 7th adn 2nd St.

But I don't donate to them.
Why? Because they are not contributing to the neighborhood.

I have considered giving them a broom and dustpan and suggested they see if sweeping up the sidewalks has an effect on their intake. Do you think that's unkind or unfair? I would donate to someone doing this.

btw I regularly donate to musicians on the subway platforms...I appreciate their contributions and want to help them out.

To me it's all about being of use and contributing to society no matter how small and not expecting something for nothing.

 
At 10:26 PM, Blogger 7TH AVENUE PATTY said...

I AM LOOKING FOR RICK BODAH. PLEASE, IF ANYBODY KNOWS HIM PLEASE LET ME KNOW. HE HUNG OUT WITH VINNY QUIGLEY AT QUIGLEY'S BAR ON 7TH AVENUE BETWEEN UNION STREET AND PRESIDENT.
CLARK WILLIAMS, JOEY BARBELLA, AND NEIL LEHANE WERE HIS BUDDYS.
WE DATED FOR AWHILE THEN LOST TRACT OF EACH OTHER FOR YEARS I JUST WANT TO SAY HI AND SEE IF HE'S OK
I REALLY CARED FOR HIM.
I AM 61 NOW AND HE'S ABOUT THE SAME..........JUST HOPING

THANKS

 
At 10:29 PM, Blogger 7TH AVENUE PATTY said...

ABOUT RICK BODAH
HE NEEDS TO KNOW I LIVED AT 125 7TH AVENUE BET CARROLL STREET AND PRESIDENT STREET
CORNER HOUSE WITH TWO ENTRANCES
TOP FLOOR

THANKS

 
At 5:10 PM, Blogger Kristin Barbella said...

This is Joey Barbella from 835 President. I remember you, but don't know about Bodah.

 

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