Yet the East Village is still a mosaic of languages, cultures, classes, and professions. You can have a borscht, sushi, tapas, tacos, and fondue on the same block. Hell’s Angels still have their New York headquarters here. They seem like nice guys. Community gardens tended by urban farmers speaking a babel of languages abound. Graffiti and garbage still festoon the tenement-lined streets, though now in a movie set kind of way.
A local icon of this urban mosaic is, well, the Mosaic Man — Jim Powers. ( http://www.mosaicmanstrail.com.) Since 1988, Jim’s been covering random objects in the neighborhood — light poles, garbage cans, benches, garbage cans, doors, you name it — with shards of glass, bottles, dishes, an other broken stuff. Just when you think you’ve seen enough brick and asphalt and gum-covered sidewalk, a glimmering, shimmering little surprise will pop out in an unexpected place. Little bursts of Barcelona to put a pep in your step. These are stations on Jim’s famous Mosaic Trail.
The Mosaic Man epitomizes the East Village’s old school DIY ethos, but he’s not a holdover. He’s a through-line that represents our neighborhood’s past, present, and future.
Like the hammer that only sees nails, I see mediation metaphors in everything. Mediator help people take the jagged, broken shards of their relationships and help reshape them into something different, maybe something better. We take what’s been damaged in the past, and provide a safe space to help put things back together in a new way, looking toward the future.