Jim Power, better known around the East Village as the “Mosaic Man,” was on hand for the reinstallation of another of his ceramic-encrusted lampposts along Astor Place this morning, the third of seven poles that will eventually return to the redesigned blocks around Cooper Square. Power, 69, observed from his mosaic-laden motorized scooter as staff from the Village Alliance positioned the lamppost near the Astor Place subway entrance, pausing to chat with neighborhood friends and curious passersby.
When the Astor Alive! Festival kicks off Friday, there’ll be a workshop on how to make spinning cubes, a parade featuring the lil’ cubes, and a “cube sticker slam.” But it looks like one thing will be missing: the actual Astor Place cube. The Village Alliance, which is throwing the fest to celebrate the redesign of Astor Place and Cooper Square, had expected the Alamo to make a triumphant return in time for the fest. But today a spokesperson at the city’s Department of Design and Construction tells us that “due to unforeseen logistical issues the scheduled return of the Alamo has been postponed.”
Jim Power, working out his makeshift studio at the 6th Street Community Center, is busy getting ready to leave his mark on the new Astor Place Plaza, using the same creations he’s been planting around the East Village for the last 30 years: mosaics. With the help of his assistant, Julie Powell, he’s scraping, chiseling, and tiling new poles. The product of all this work is something that he and the rest of the East Village are quite used to seeing at this point, so much so that Power’s earned the nickname “Mosaic Man” for the dozens of colorful, chipped tile pieces he’s congealed together, then cemented onto light posts over the years.