Saturday, October 1, 2011

[Updated] RIP Bob Arihood

[Photo by Melanie via East Village Corner]

Word is spreading through the neighborhood with the shocking news that Bob Arihood has died. Several of Bob's friends have confirmed this. He apparently suffered a heart attack in his East Fourth Street apartment. We'll have more information when it becomes available.

For the past five years, Bob chronicled the comings and goings of the East Village on Neither More Nor Less. His site was essential viewing every day. He seemed to deem himself a social scientist more than a journalist at times. His work was invaluable for showing the changes in the East Village, starting with the eviction of Jim Power and others from 120 St. Marks's Place.

The neighborhood was better off with his reporting, because no one else did what he did. Documenting 3 a.m. fistfights on Avenue A. Police searches in Tompkins Square Park. Comings and goings on Crusty Row. He captured the absurd, the ugly, the every day that makes the vanishing East Village unique.

The Times featured Bob's short-term retirement from Neither More Nor Less back in June 2010:

His style of reporting was of the old-fashioned shoe-leather sort and his main subjects were the itinerant travelers, street drinkers, punks, poets and sidewalk sleepers that once proliferated in the East Village but these days make up a vanishing tribe.

L.E.S. Jewels, Cowboy Stan, Drunkenstein, Bobby Apocalypse, Swami, the Groper, Outlaw, Loan Shark Bob, Barnacle Bill and the Mosaic Man, among others, all appeared in Mr. Arihood’s blog. Some of those subjects are now dead. Others are in jail. A few have survived and moved on.

While I didn't know Bob personally, we often exchanged emails. He always had a few hunches, theories. He knew that things weren't what they seemed on the surface. He took the time to speculate, investigate. We recently talked about the NYPD scooter patrol that swept through Tompkins Square Park a few Friday evenings ago ... From an email with his unmistakable writing style.

the friday patrol in TSP was a bit strange . The cops had white-shirts going thru the bushes and ground cover .Were they looking for cached weapons ?The officers that I talked to seemed to be instructed on how to present what they were doing .Basically they lied .

In his last email to me, on Sept. 19, we talked about his new-look NMNL, and the video component that he added.

I had to change the template to fit video image window. Screwed up my counter doing that , had to reinstall that . I would have preferred the old look but the video window protruded over the archive . Its always something .

Yeah I know I have to get a smart phone don't I ? Everyone tells me that they can't get hold of me right when they have a whim to talk to me and insist that I get a cell phone at least . .I don't even have a cell phone Grieve ..and I don't want one either but some folks are really pissed so...Perhaps I'll join Jewels on the SNAP program and get my free government phone!

If I can get the video thing so that it doesn't take forever to load I'll do it regularly .I once ran big film cameras and did editing with a moveola or what ever device was available .Built some sound studios and movie theaters and screaning rooms too. I have some old film from 1972 of the EV and especially avenue A.Haven't looked at it in many years .The moving image isn't new to me .Still pictures and moving images are quite different though. It will be a return to something that completely occupied me in my youth here in NYC.

70 comments:

Goggla said...

This is so horrible and sad...my hands shake, I can't believe this.

I met Bob a couple of years ago on the street and he was so encouraging to me - to get out there, take pictures, document, pay attention, get to know the people and neighborhood. I had the pleasure of seeing him often, either at Ray's, in TSP or out and about. I was happy to catch him at a couple of protests on Broadway. There he was facing the crowd, camera in hand as he snapped away at the oncoming shouting masses.

His advice and friendship meant so much to me. I still can't find the right words to say, this is just so shocking. But damn it all, we have lost a monumental treasure. Bob embodied the EV to me and I can't bear to continue living here without him.

Kurt said...

What sad news. Nobody documented the East Village the way he could. R.I.P. Bob.

Anonymous said...

RIP Bob. This brings tears to my eyes. A great loss.

Steven Hirsch

Jeremiah Moss said...

thank you for posting this tribute. we were also email correspondents, and he often wrote to me when he felt discouraged, when he felt like blogging had little meaning, when he felt under-appreciated. i urged him to publish a book of his photos, but he said he could not imagine anyone would want to buy that. i'm not sure he ever really knew how important and wonderful his work was--and still is.

Bob, your work lives on and you will be remembered for all you've done for the neighborhood as one of its greatest documentarians. i hope you have some peace.

Anonymous said...

oh my god. this is so sad and terrible. he was a really great guy, and his reporting meant so much to this neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Arihood maintained a link between the real east village and the haters, putting it right back at them on NMNL. He made sure that Markey Bena was appropriately represented when he was bludgeoned. And he was cool with Jewels and presented Ray and his stuff and on and on.

Misery.
RIP Arihood

Vivienne Gucwa said...

Oh my goodness. I am completely wrecked over this. The last time I talked with him was at the beginning of summer at an event we both attended. We talked for a few hours. I told him that if anyone deserved a documentary made about them it was him and I stand by that. He was a sweet man with a huge heart and a complex soul which can be found in his photography; a true legend of our time. Really upsetting to hear this news. I feel like a huge piece of the East Village's soul has died too.

Vince Rosalia said...

The last thing I expected to see when pulling up EV Grieve today. Shocking and sad news. RIP Bob.

BabyDave said...

Oh, my goodness. The man was clearly a tremendous asset to a community he felt passionately about. His contribution to neighborhood dialogue seems near-impossible to replace.
Everyone please carry on in his honor.

Andrew Marks said...

Very sad news... Bob was a great guy. He will be missed.

onemorefoldedsunset said...

Very, very sad. Can't imagine TSP without him being there to record its nights & days. RIP.

Cary Conover said...

So shocking, so sad. Bob will be missed.

HopHead said...

I had a premonition something was going to happen to him, he was too good to be true at his craft. I did not know Bob but thru emails,but when Bob was hospitalized in December, I mentioned to him that just in case something should happen to him he should have some kind of beneficiary to his great work so it would not be lost should anything happened to him or the place he stored his work. Bob will not be replaced, he had something special,always being at the right place and capturing a story in his shots.This is a great loss to us all.Part of the city just vanished. Sleep well sweet prince.

Eden Bee said...

Bob was a very good friend of mine. I am in shock. He was the person who encouraged me to start a blog and write about what I do all week. RIp.

Melanie said...

RIP Bob..I can't believe this. Bob inspired me to blog and get back into street photography. This is very sad and the East Village will not be the same. I emailed him and spoke via email a little over a week ago.You are missed already.

Jocelyn said...

This is the worst news in a world currently awash in horrible news. Why, why, why? The city needs Bob Arihood and his honest, super skilled photographs and news updates more than ever. A huge loss for all of us.

Dave on 7th said...

This sad and shocking news. I've known Bob for longer than I can say. Probably 15 years. He was the only person
who did what he did. Not just here, but probably
anywhere. Through his photos and blog he gave a name
to the nameless. He forced us to look at what we couldn't
or wouldn't look at on our own. He was always a bit of an enigma to me, like any great photo-documentarian. He was knowledgable and compassionate and he will be missed.

Jefferson said...

"At bottom every man knows well enough that he is a unique being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is, ever be put together a second time." - Nietzsche

Goodbye, youngster.

Marty Wombacher said...

I can't fucking believe this! Bob was such a great guy and a great documentarian of the East Village. R.I.P. Bob, we're all going to miss you, your photos, your writing and your smile.

rob said...

Jim told me this morning in TSP, at the old Slavic corner, one of Bob's favorite haunts. I saw Bob last Saturday at Liberty Plaza Occupy Wall Street. He had videotaped the arrests that day on 12th Street. We speculated on the city's tactics -- we had been following the General Assembly meetings at TSP for about a month, not without a degree of skepticism. He expected the police to clear the plaza that night and create a mess of violence and media attention.

Bob was the most interesting conversationalist in the Lower East Side, knowledgeable on so many fronts, whether the history of the Napoleonic occupation of Egypt to the technological novelties of the Cooper Square construction. He used to work as a construction or architectural engineer, on which his knowledge was deep, and he maintained an interest in several sciences well beyond engineering. An extraordinarily compassionate man towards ordinary folk, he reviled the corporate money-makers and protected the people around him that he documented. He was so much more than just a great photographer.

He admired your work, Grieve. He considered you an authentic and trusted voice of this place. He spoke often about it, and Jeremiah's too.

Anonymous said...

This is terrible, a devastating loss to the neighborhood and to photographic art. NMNL was amazing and essential reading for everyone who cares about the true East Village. I had no idea Bob was so young, judging from the top photo here.

My heart goes out to Mr. Arihood's family, friends, and loved ones. This is a very sad day. RIP Bob. You represented the neighborhood better than anyone, and may you rest in peace.

Shawn Chittle said...

Lindsay (SingleLindsReflex.com) and I bawling our eyes out

Anonymous said...

I didn't know Bob but I recently became a fan of his blog. He was so good at capturing moments and presenting a vivid realistic picture of what goes on around here. We've lost one of the great eyes of the city. RIP Bob.

Hey19 said...

This is really sad, I only knew his blog, but he seemed like a good, genuine guy. And young, Tragic.

VH McKenzie said...

This just took my breath away.

No words.......

eric.g said...

very very sad news. A huge loss for our community and his friends.

My condolences to all his family and friends.

aiyana knauer said...

fuck. bob was the thing i always looked forward to when i walked up and down avenue a. he was an invaluable member of the community. he will be forever missed - he is irreplacable.

Juicy Lucy Juice Bar said...

Terrible news. Bob was a long time customer and friend to us @ Juicy Lucy's, he will be greatly missed. He fought the good fight and was one of the last true gentlemen. Rest in peace sweet Bob. Thank you for representing.

esquared said...

I recently took a picture of a couple of guys playing lacrosse at TSP and somewhere in that pic was Bob photographing a burrow or the roots of a tree. Who knew that that'd be the last I see him.

This is sad. TSP and the EV just died with him. Only the good ones die young. Rest in peace, Bob.

Anonymous said...

I am shocked and saddened by this news. His site was part of my daily routine...there is a hole left in the east village now.

mosaic man nyc said...

another writer and documentarian,nypd p.o.beirne(the Fighting 9th)informed me around 7am disbelief is now turning into shock.......no man knows the moment nor the hour........the sky has gotten darker.....bob keep on sending us images and reports from the universe and enjoy your ride...its paid in full with all the love of the good old lower east side...jessie jane and jim power. thank you for all your help when we needed it rest in peace...memorial in planning at THEATRE 80 will inform everyone

NYCDreamin said...

Been reading Neither More Nor Less for at least the past 3 years or so...didn't know Bob personally but he seemed like a really cool guy and I will really miss reading his East Village updates each morning as I'm eating my breakfast...R.I.P.

Bobby Williams said...

I just heard the news. I feel as though theres a hole in my heart.Bob will be greatly missed.He was truly one of those people who come along once in a lifetime. Good bye old pal. Bobby Williams.

Ray's Candy Store said...

When I heard the news, I stopped breathing. My tears come down like rain. We miss him so much. It feels like the Statue of Liberty is missing. I hope he is in Heaven. I will be sad for a long time. Goodbye old friend. Ray

Elisabeth Diekmann said...

Wow, the last couple of days I have been feeling so strange - my heart ached and I felt a strange heaviness - now I know why. Another unique soul who was drawn to the E.V. and who cared to share it, save it, caress it. Bob, I will miss running into you outside of Key Food, as you heading home, off the impenitent streets. You always had a few moments to share your thoughts on the day, or the deeds, or the destiny of this place. Thanks....Lis

blue glass said...

really sad
such great photos

Steph said...

spoke to him only once, saw many times & he left a deep impression. What a deeply tremendous loss

Rocky Raccoon said...

When Rocky heard the news he just wanted to curl up into a ball and stay in his den - as how could TSP be the same without Bob wandering around with his camera talking with everyone about everything. Then Rocky poked his head out and saw people in the park despite the rain, same as they always are and knew Bob was there somewhere, maybe we just couldn't see him. The EV was a better place because Bob was part of it and the EV will miss Bob very, very much.

shmnyc said...

This is terrible news. I'm sorry to hear it.

Cookiepuss said...

Bob you will be dearly missed. R.I.P.

~evilsugar25 said...

aw, sad. RIP Bob. another link to the old EV gone. i hope someone curates a show of his work, including the footage he mentions.

my condolences to friends, family... and all of us.

Mario Tama said...

Rest in Peace Bob.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Bob for all the late nights you put in letting us know what happened in the neighborhood. Your work was always REALLY appreciated.

Brad Davis said...

Rest in Peace, Bob. Thank you for sharing yourself -- life -- with us. What you shared will always live.

Jill said...

I am shocked and sad. He's been a fixture of this neighborhood forever. His photos were striking and there is one in particular I go back to every now and then because it haunts me. When I first started my blog he somehow knew who I was and we had a bonding moment over it. When he stopped posting his photos for that short time there was an emptiness and now it is permanent. I hope he knew how much he was appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Not only was Arihood one of the best photographers of the EV, he was one of the best working photographers period. I spend a good part of my work time looking through photo archives and digging through various photographers careers. For me, Arihood ranks near the top of contemporary photographers. There's very little slack in his work. His compositions always serve his narrative concerns and his narratives are complex, documentary, curious, and spot on.

Ahhhhgghhhh, it's so sad to know that there's no more of his work to look forward to. I assumed that everyone thought the same about his work that it was only a matter of time before his career took off, his scope widened a bit, and we'd all say "I remember when he used to take photos of the hawks, of all kinds, in TSP."

Uncle Waltie said...

I never had the privilege of meeting the man, but always loved his pictures. He was one of the few people left who actually understood what this neighborhood used to be all about. His departure leaves a big void.

Anonymous said...

awful news. i admired and respected his work so much. r.i.p. to a real beating heart; you won't be forgotten.

No Police State Girl said...

geez. i never really met him though i read his blog about the neighborhood. it is heartbreaking to hear how time and change affects life.

Sarah said...

RIP Bob. This is really sad news. His photographs are amazing.

John M said...

Aw, shit. This is really awful.

erin said...

the last thing bob said to me last sunday with the daily news between us, was i got THAT on video. i was working at rays and he came in to get his tums. THAT, was the front page picture of the young woman with her hands and legs tided behind her back with three cops over her. he was dedicated to documentation and i am grateful someone did so. bob was a good man and im sad he had to leave us so abruptly. we will miss him.one of a kind.

Anonymous said...

Thank you to all the EVG regulars for expressing our collective sadness at this terrible loss.

RIP

jOff wilsOn said...

Bob will surely be missed, Many thanks to Bob and E.V.Grieve for keeping the public aware of the truth.

Anonymous said...

This breaks my heart.

Anonymous said...

May the four winds blow you home you will be missed your friends in WALES ....

Lindsay said...

I just can't believe it. New York City has lost such an amazing person. I am glad we all have memories to keep his spirit alive. His photos will live to tell stories for generations. I am so grateful to have known Bob, he was a dear friend and a great source of inspiration. His friendship is irreplaceable. The city won't be the same without him and he will be missed so very much. I miss you Bob.

Anonymous said...

Gasp! I am shocked and saddened at this news!

While I never knew you Bob, I enjoyed your beautiful pictures and stories.

Thank you for seeking the truth and beauty in all people and things. Rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

NO!!! I can't believe this!!! Bob!! A spiritually gifted person. I will miss you.

cecilia

Anonymous said...

I admire the way that he shared what he saw and what he knew without editorializing or trying to tell people what to think.

Anonymous said...

I've lived in the East Village for many decades now; sadly, I never had the pleasure of meeting Bob in person, but I knew and valued his work through The Villager (now The East Villager). Any photo he took was going to tell you something, and he kept his finger on the pulse of the East Village and the larger social issues of what I think of as the "real NYC".

I don't know what we'll do without him now, but I hope SOMEONE will publish his photos as a book - Bob's talent & dedication deserve that.

We are all the poorer for his passing. RIP.

Anonymous said...

I remember a night sometime in the late 90s, a slightly menacing guy with no shirt on and a cow mask, maybe his name was Randy... can't remember. Bob probably would have. He got a nice shot of the guy dancing around. What you can't see is what the guy was yelling: "Free Moo-mia!"

The pic is somewhere in that apartment; I saw the proofs.

Monika said...

Me again. If you're at Lucy's tonight, please take care of Michael. He can't possibly be ok. Make sure he gets home safely.

Monika said...

PS Please don't tell him I posted here. But if you're reading, Michael, say hi to George for me.

Anonymous said...

When I was 6 weeks old, back in 1969, my parents took me to Happy Hollow Park (in Lafayette, Indiana) for a picnic with Bob and some of their other friends. I've always known Bob. He was one of the most talented, brilliant, generous, knowledgeable, and lovely people I've ever known. He rescued a squirrel and they roomed together for a few years. When I lived in the East Village in the 90's, I loved knowing that I could walk around the corner and find him outside Ray's pretty much every night. He walked every inch of the city, and he had a glorious appetite (for food and life). He was a friend, a counselor, a sage. He documented high life, low life, all of it. He used to show us his prints and there were literally thousands of them that rivaled any photographic work sold in galleries, printed in art books, or shown on the front pages of the best newspapers. We always told him he should do a show, that he should put together a book, but he really just loved documenting the life around him. My sense was that he was a kind of purist about his art--that he didn't want to exploit the people around him. So many of the people he documented were his friends, people he cared about and loved. Bob, you will be missed. No one can fill your shoes. Tompkins Square Park should be renamed Arihood Park. --Jamie Hickner, from Oregon

Anonymous said...

I can't explain why Bob's passing has clouded my week. I knew him mostly via the internet. It's like another piece of what I love about our little neighborhood is gone, and I am incredibly sad. I beg the people with access to his work to gather and publish it. The photo's, journals, etc are beyond priceless. Rest easy, EV brother- as much as you would be embarrassed, we really loved you and cherish all you did.

YogiFish said...

Rest inPeace Brother Bob. I was always great to hang out with you late at night. Bob was faster than he looked. Once he heard something over the police scanner..zoom..he was gone to get those pictures.

He not only took the pictures, but cared about the people and brought the stories of their lives alive with his words.

He must have known his time was close. He said to me last that he was going to give it all up and move on. i asked him where too..he just said hopefully some where higher up and not to hot. He said he'd had enough of seeing how sad life could be.

Thanks for sharing your time on earth with us Bob..I appreciate your perspective.

T.E.V.B. said...

Such sad news. Just learning about it now (been out of the country past month).

Rest in peace, Bob. One of the few who paid true attention to the East Village.

kelli king said...

Such a sad sad sad loss. I'll be forever grateful I stumbled into his blog. His pictures are poetry.

Anonymous said...

I live in rural Michigan and I've never been to NYC but I've followed Bob's blog for a few years now. I feel like I know this neighborhood just from going to his blog. I loved following the life stories of these people from reading Bob's blog and was hoping to for several years to come. I can't believe Bob is dead. It really stinks.
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