Last night, there was a heartfelt gathering outside Ray's Candy Store to remember Bob Arihood, the avid chronicler of East Village characters who died of a heart attack in his East 4th Street home last week. Local resident and reporter Lilly O'Donnell was in attendance, and wrote about what Arihood's passing means to her and the neighborhood:
At last night’s informal memorial for Bob Arihood, long-time East Village photographer and Avenue A fixture, there was a sense that one more piece of “the old neighborhood” was gone. "I hope this is not a wake for the East Village itself,” said Eddie Dunn, who has lived in the neighborhood for half a century. “He represented something that’s disappearing.”
But the crowd that gathered in front of Ray’s Candy Store on Avenue A proved that there is still community in the East Village, no matter how much people like to say otherwise. Arihood could be found standing outside of Ray’s with his camera at all times of day or night, in the liquidating summer heat or ankle-deep in snow. There was a general consensus among the crowd that it would take a long time to get used to walking by that spot and not seeing him there. Ray, the owner of Ray’s Candy Store, compared his death to the Statue of Liberty disappearing.
Jim Power, better known as The Mosaic Man, said that in the next few weeks he’ll tile the light pole on the corner of Avenue A and 7th Street with Arihood’s name as a tribute. Power was a frequent subject of Arihood’s, and the first on his blog, Neither More Nor Less (http://neithermorenorless.blogspot.com). The blog chronicled everything that happened in and around Tompkins Square Park. Many at the memorial credited Arihood with paying attention to the people that everyone else ignored, creating a record of them.
He gave as much attention to images of random afternoons as he did to monitoring increased police presence in the park, though the latter was of particular personal importance to him after a police beating during the '88 riots in Tompkin’s Square left him with back pain for the rest of his life.
Many other local bloggers were in attendance, and several spoke of being inspired and encouraged by Arihood to document what they saw. E.V. Grieve has compiled some of their tributes to him. (As of 6:30 a.m. today, the candles were still lit.) But even more than his photographs or his blog, people at the memorial talked about how easy he was to have a conversation with. “Around him people would gather to share the latest news, gossip, compare cameras,” said Chris Flash, editor and publisher of local underground newspaper The Shadow. "You could talk to Bob about anything."
Bowery Boogie was also there to document and remember Arihood, and has video from the memorial. He writes, "In a sign that the East Village certainly has changed for the worse, Shadow editor Chris Flash could barely utter a sentence before the 5-0 was on our backs to clear the sidewalk. Fitting, eh?"