Clayton’s Corner: Catching up with LES Collectors, Treasure Hunters, and Vendor Barkers [PHOTOS]

Posted on: December 17th, 2015 at 5:10 am by
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Nathan is a fixture on the corner of East Houston and Orchard Street. He is the eyes and ears of the block. If it happens there, Nathan knows all about it…

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…Jerry Foust is a local artist who lives wherever and paints where he can. A true do-or-die artist. I first met Jerry in the mid-2000s when he was a part of an art collective that took over 120 St. Mark’s Place. The building later became known as the Cave. Jim “Mosaic Man” Power was the most famous artist in residence. The real-estate man with one of the worst reputations on the LES, Ben Shaoul (aka Magnum Real Estate), bought the building and evicted everyone. It’s a regular habit of Jerry is to get 86’ed from the Clockwork bar on Essex Street…

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…A street treasure hunter. Self explanatory…

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…Sax player on the corner of Houston and 1st Avenue…

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…Angel is another local fixture, sporting the sandwich board advertising the Leather Gallery. The store recently downsized, and sells imported Italian leather garments. However, they’re calling it quits – for good – in the coming weeks…

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…Irving pulls in the customers that Angel steers down the block. He is a true gentleman who loves his job and the people he talks to. Does not matter if a person is a customer or not, it is Irving’s policy to treat everyone like a respected guest. He gives advise, history lessons, and a positive message…

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…Albert and his wife. The garden at 16 East 2nd Street is Albert’s Garden. It is now closed for the season. During open season Albert usually is there on Friday afternoon. I met them at Brickman’s hardware…

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…Chinese Bottle collector. I have photographed many of the bottle ladies and a few of the men. I have regulars I give the returnable bottles to. Always pleasant, always nice, always clean. I admire how hard they work. I photographed one who was 15 years old at the time, and still collects while attending Hunter College to be a nurse. She collects with her mother.

A few years ago, in the early AM, one elderly collector was almost sexually attacked. A local resident returning from work heard the scream and broke up the ugly situation. The local person called me, I got in contact with Alice O’Malley, and we badgered the cops to do something. Eventually we got the whole treatment- a van with a loudspeaker and so on. The ending came when Alice heard a noise in her hallway. Turns out this pervert was a serial, early in the AM rapist, and Alice caught him attacking someone in her hallway. Clear headed and on the ball, she got a description and had the person arrested. She went to court and sealed the sex offenders fate. Alice immediately became a neighborhood hero…

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