Per the Times:
There are few certainties in this changeable city. But on Avenue A and Sixth Street, a place that has been convulsed by change in recent years, one thing has remained constant through the riots and real-estate booms: Merlin, a 41-year-old homeless man who uses only one name, has made the intersection's southeast corner his residence for eight years. Neither blizzards nor blistering heat have routed him from atop a set of wooden pallets in front of a Con Edison substation.
"People move in and out of the neighborhood, but I never budge," he said last week, lounging beneath a pair of tattered umbrellas, his only guard against the sting of the sun. A stroke has left him partly paralyzed, and frostbite cost him several toes three winters ago.
To strangers, he is but another intrusion on the East Village's gritty streetscape, a reason to avert their eyes. But to many local residents, he is a cherished asset: a timekeeper, a message center, a town crier and a source of good, solid conversation. "Merlin is a social hub," said Tatiana Bliss, 25, a local artist. "If you're looking for someone, Merlin probably knows where they are. If you want to leave something for a friend, he'll make sure they get it. He makes this crazy city feel like a small town."
[Thanks to EV Grieve reader Anna for the photos]