Our friends at EV Grieve inform us of some sad news about East Village mainstay Bob Arihood. Bob died Friday evening in his East Forth Street apartment after suffering a cardiac arrest. He was 65. For the past five years, Bob was editor, head photographer, lead journalist, and curator of Neither More Nor Less. Bob chronicled the neighborhood like no one else did. A resident since 1972, Bob would record and report the people and places that most outlets simply let flutter away. We weren’t lucky enough to know Bob personally, but we were smart enough to know that if we heard sirens on Avenue A at 2 a.m., Bob would already be there with his camera.
Please take the time to visit his site. Besides being a tireless and curious blogger, Bob was an incredibly talented photographer and videographer. Each page of Neither More Nor Less yields portrait upon portrait of the East Village that is nothing less than absolutely true.
Take this recent passage for example. It’s written about Ray’s, an Avenue A shop that you have probably stopped in for some fries or an ice cream cone. Like he was with most things in the neighborhood, Bob was an expert on Ray’s and its owner:
The East Village , now that Times Square shuts down early , is one of the few areas in the city that stays open all night . Ray’s Candy Store at 113 ave. A remains open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.Ray pays a confiscatory rent because he has to . The landlord can take as much as he does simply because he can . There is no compassion here for the 73 year old beloved nieghborhood figure and the institution that he tends 7 days a week. Much of what is left of the old nieghborhood is anchored to Ray’s . Ray makes money in the summer selling Belgian fries ,hot dogs and ice cream products to late night revelers. In the winter he loses money and thus borrows on his credit cards until the mostly drunken summer horde returns. Ray has some oldtime neighborhood business year around but it is not enough to pay the exhorbitant rent levied on him, thus growing debt in the winter and payback in the summer . Most of the new and transient crowd knows Ray’s not as Ray’s but as “Belgian Fries “.
Fashion obsessed and mostly self absorbed , the drunken worshipers of Dionysus and Narcissus so easily turn a blind eye to the reality around them as they continue their night long revel .Last night , a man sitting in a wheel chair at the corner of 7th street and ave. A , passed out and with a hospital ID bracelet on his wrist, went largely unnoticed and unattended for at least three hours. It’s so easy to just step over or around and not see the unpleasent when you are out having a good time .Inncidentally the man in a wheel chair was alright,weak and dissoriented but mostly just sleeping. Few, very ,very ,very few stopped to do so little as to check to see that he was breathing .
Ray’s will still be open tomorrow, but Bob won’t be there to photograph or write about it. The East Village has undergone seismic changes in the past 30 years and more often than not it has been able to adapt and move on. Bob was there to record those shifts, and while the neighborhood he loved will continue to change after his passing, it won’t be the same.
His friends are planning a memorial. We will update this page with that information when we get it.