23 Unidentified Modern Eccentrics

Last night, Ryan trailed Gawker's latest research project: the ultimate guide to New York's modern eccentrics. Thanks for all your suggestions in the comments; here are the nominations, 23 of the city's most obviously bizarre characters-including "Elegant" Eliot Offen, the Green Lady, Mr. Purple and the Earth Angel, but not counting the socialites and proto-celebrities who usually clog up these pages. We'll do some digging for photographs over the weekend. Any pointers-names, further description, links or images-would be much appreciated.

  1. The black woman who paints dots on all of her homeless baggage & her clothes—could be modern art...always in the subways
  2. The older woman with large glasses/sunglass and a mini-keyboard playing the "girl from ipanema" - there are usually stuffed animals around
  3. What about that guy, who's always in the parades, who has a multicolored beard and wears women's costumes, and flounces down the street pushing his little dog in a baby carriage with a parrot on his shoulder? he's awesome.
  4. You MUST included "Elegant" Eliot Offen, of leotard-wearing UES fame. Although his amateur status might be in jeopardy due to appearances on Howard Stern, there's nothing quite like seeing a sweaty guy jogging around in women's lingerie.
  5. There once was a wheelchair-bound paraplegic on the UWS who used to decorate his chair colorfully and park himself on streetcorners and ask passers-bye to help him empty his urine collection bag.
  6. My personal favorite is the one I lovingly think of as "The Green Lady", she works in the fashion district as a buyer I think. She must be over 70 years of age, tiny frame, voice like Glenda the Good Witch, and absolutely everything on her from her hair (in two top knots) to her shoes, to her rucksack is bright green. Sweetheart of a woman.
  7. Is Mr. Purple from the Upper West Side still around? I first saw him in 1978 on West 86th St. He wore flowing purple robes and a live boa constrictor wrapped around his neck and waist and he rode a purple bike. He was tall, thin and had long blond hair. He asked my mother out on a date and she actually went.
  8. The Earth Angel is a freak of nature who frequents the 6 train and various buses. He was written up in AM New York in early April. This guy gets on the train - with hair down to his ass - holding a folder in front of his face that he calls his forcefield. He claims to have been sent to Earth to find the angels - which, conveniently, are always hot chicks.
  9. Black Rodney does an outstanding Rodney Dangerfield impression. He even makes up his own Dangerfield-style jokes. If you let him, he'd tell you the story about how Rodney Dangerfield was his biggest inspiration, because one day he watched a whole bunch of Dangerfield movies and was deeply moved.
  10. There is the upper east side jogger freako. He is constantly jogging up and down 2nd avenue wearing what looks like womens see through nude pantyhose, and nothing on underneath. So it's kind of like he's naked, but you cant really make out his privates because they are all pushed down and in from the tights!
  11. OH! How could I forget the BIRDMAN! This guy was definitely written up in the Post a year ago. He run's around manhattan flapping his arms and making bird noises. Apparently he's not completely gone - he's just REALLY into birds.
  12. Have you ever seen Thoth ? He's a street performer who "heals through divine prayformance." Seen around Central Park sometimes, usually in a loingcloth, usually under an arch or bridge somewhere. Has a made up language he sings in, and claism to have a secret underwater world or something that he travels to via a giant turtle.
  13. Muscley-man in suit with tattoo'd face. this dude gets on the subway at wall street most mornings, has a fully shaved and tatted head and face and stretched earlobes... other than that he looks like every other person headed to midtown corporate offices and he even rocks a bow-tie.
  14. How about the guy I see on 6th Ave. near 23rd, has rainbow colored hair often in pigtails, a long beard, usually wears gold/silver dresses or hot pants and tights with sunglasses on. He has a small white dog also dyed rainbow colors. Rainbow man, perhaps?
  15. How could the old dude who salsa dances with the blow up doll not be on this list?! He has been taping that doll to his body for years and I have avoided transfer at Union Square just so I don't have to see adoring tourists cooing over him.
  16. How about the opera singer/religious nut who is usually on 57th on the block just west of Carnegie Hall? (I haven't seen him recently so I hope he is ok!) He was parked there every day when I had my very first job at Hearst in about 1984! We could hear him through the window on the 8th (estimate) floor. He would sing this very dramatic opera and sometimes run at your with a cup. Over the years his performance seems to become more about religion and less about the arts.
  17. My all time favorite was a guy named "Metal Mike" who used to scream "HEY, I"M EVERYBODY'S FAVORITE BUM!" He would hang around the Bowery in the late nineties. One time he gave me his business card. Another time I was on a street corner and his cell phone rang (before I had a cell phone, mind you). He said, "Hey, what's up body? ...Nothing, nothing, just working..."
  18. I like the homeless polka dot lady who paints dots on all of her clothes and anything she may be carrying. She's frequently on the move as I have seen her all over brooklyn and manhattan.
  19. My favorite- the elderly super skinny man who is covered head to toe in tattoos who marches up and down first avenue in a jaunty leather hat and plaid golf shorts.
  20. There's an African-American gentlemen dressed entirely in white (with swastikas on the sleeves, IIRC) who dolorously panhandles in Greenwich Village. I believe he was profiled in Time Out NY not too long ago. He's quite a sight.
  21. The homeless lady who wears only a garbage bag in the summer. The tourists fall for it hook, line and sinker. She can usually be found on 57th Street on a hot summer day.
  22. Stringy, strung-out, weathered, old bike messenger who wears a vest and a top hat and curses loudly, scarily, and copiously at everything that comes into his smack-addled line of sight! A.K.A. Keith Richards on Wheels Guy. There may be a skull and crossbones on his topper.
  23. There is this guy on Broome street who wears a whole garbage bag outfit AND reads the newspaper upside down! He spit at my co-worker one morning....I have to get a picture of him. It's unreal.