At Vigil, Friends Plan to Memorialize Bob Arihood With Mural, Mosaic, and Music

A vigil in honor of Bob Arihood, the East Village photographer who died on Sept. 30, included notable neighborhood characters like Ray Alvarez of Ray’s Candy Store, Jim “Mosaic Man” Power, graffiti artist Chico, L.E.S. Jewels, activist and photojournalist John Penley, and documentarian Clayton Patterson.

Friends first packed into Lucy’s bar on Avenue A at 7 p.m., where Mike Falsetta, Mr. Arihood’s close friend, raised a glass. “To Bob,” he said, to which people cheered, “salud!” and “rest in peace,” and “you will be missed.” Friends and acquaintances of Mr. Arihood shared stories and expressed shock over his death. An hour later, the crowd moved down to Ray’s Candy Store, where about 60 people surrounded the candles and photos of Mr. Arihood placed at the storefront.

Mr. Power, who said he turns 64 on Friday, held up a mosaic he had made yesterday morning in honor of Mr. Arihood. “Look at all these little characters,” he said, pointing to pieces of tile. “They’re like the characters he helped.” In the lower left-hand corner, a headshot of Mr. Arihood was behind glass. Mr. Power said he’ll start a mosaic for his friend on a nearby lamppost. “It will be a tribute to him,” he said.

“He would always tell me, ‘Don’t go to jail, don’t get arrested, don’t get beat up by the cops because they will break your camera,” said Hugh Burckhardt, 21, a local photographer. “He was my mentor. He taught me so much. We would go into these long conversations about how to frame a shot and how to document change.”

L.E.S. Jewels, who, in traditional style, at one point pulled down his pants for the crowd, said, “When I stopped drinking, he gave me money for a bottle in case I was about to have another seizure, going through the withdrawals. Bob was always there for me. He had a big heart. He always had a dollar for me if I needed a coffee when I wasn’t drinking, or if I needed a drink when I was drinking.”

Chico told the crowd he’s planning a mural of Mr. Arihood. Several people mentioned that a concert and poetry readings were in the works in honor of Mr. Arihood for Saturday, from 2-6 p.m. in Tompkins Square Park.

“He had a pet squirrel named Fred. I found that endearing. Fred must have gotten some rat poison,” said Joy Keithline, who knew Mr. Arihood for nearly 30 years. “This little, dying squirrel dragged himself into his storefront, where he lived, and Bob nursed the squirrel back and lived with him for years. He had a squirrel running around. He had this wonderful heart,” she said, tearing up.

At about 8:30 p.m., police arrived, but there were no disturbances. Police stayed until the remainder of the vigil. Before the vigil ended at 9:30 p.m., there was a moment of silence for Mr. Arihood. Some in the crowd headed back to Lucy’s.

“When I needed help, I went to Bob,” said Mr. Alvarez. “He had the answers. I love Bob, and I’m never going to forget him.”