Many Bostonians know Louie the Tricycle Guy and Boston Common Town Crier Guy and Sidewalk Sam. But how many people outside 128 do? Robert David Sullivan reads a report on people only New Yorkers know and wonders who our local equivalents are.
In addition to the much better known Spare Change guy - there's the guy that sings - "Can anybody spare some change, change, change?" (or something like that).
Also - Copley windsurfing guy.
For those in the Back Bay - "Can you spare a dollar" girl also.
The Candyman - although he's been a bit scarce lately.
That painter of nudes who works in front of Sonsie. He's usually shirtless and in faded cut-offs in the summer months, and very, very tanned. We always refer to him as Gigolo Painter Guy. He has been there forever.
Then there's the Hat Lady, an older woman who always wears a tall, wooly stovepipe-style hat in wild colors. She's easy to spot.
That painter has cracked me up for YEARS. I find it hilarious that he doesn't do street scenes, or anything that's actually within view...nope, he goes outside to paint weirdo abstract nudes. Amazing.
BTW, how is Louie the tricycle guy? I'm not in his territory often these days, but was thinking about him recently.
We call him Fabio the Painter from across the street. Whoever sees him the first time in Spring gets a coffee from everyone else in the office.
Another thing about the painter guy is that he only seems to paint the same 3 or so pictures over and over. He probably sells them somewhere but I dunno where exactly. I've never actually talked to him in all these years of seeing him.
And the Christian pamphleteer guy I see before Sox games and in DTX with the luridly-illustrated "Repent! You Are Going to Hell!" sign.
Also, RIP, Mr. Butch.
Yes, Mr. Butch was the first name that sprang to mind.
Yes, Mr. Bush used to hang out in kenmore square way back when i was going to H.S at Boston Latin Academy when it was on Ipswich Street.
He was my first known regular homeless guy/street person along with my first used clothing store - Bertha Cools. The Rat was still there. this was mid 1980s.
Seconded for Jesus pamphlet guy. I always thought he should start his own website with a social calendar of all the events in the city, because he always seemed to be at EVERY - THING.
That or I go to lots of events that make me a sinner.
It wouldn't be Saturday night in Harvard Square without the screaming preacher guy.
The Orange Line is a much better and happier place if you're so fortunate to be on the same car as him.
Guy on the common who always has the day's weather - and sports - memorized. Never fails to warn people if there is some big weather event coming.
I now get occasional inquiries from colleagues in RTP and Detroit and Seattle about whether he is still around and how he seems to be doing.
There is also the Kite Skater in the Copley Windtunnel Area.
Uggh...can't say I like his schtick. I walk through the Common to hear myself think and to get some respite from the noise of the city, and there that guy is, barking at people like a mad dog.
Rob Potylo... aka Robby Roadsteamer (in a previous life).
Gah, roadsteamer's just not that funny
He's a genius.Hilarious
Wow, that's an understatement. He's not funny at all.
No 2 ways about it...just not good at funny or music
what a loon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjqxTrpz1us
Because they were for whatever reason filtered out of my original post (AAAADDDDAAAAMMMM!!!!)
Not sure if this is the "repent" guy someone mentioned seeing at DTX, but I see him all the time on the Red Line on my way home at night. He wears a sandwich board and goes up and down the car shouting about Jesus and making up songs. He was really on fire on Halloween- lots of shouting about how Halloween is satanic and will kill our kids.
He is not as wll known as you think he is in other parts of the country.
The Mirror Lady is a woman who regularly walks around the Massachusetts Ave/Boylston/Hemenway Sts. area looking over her right shoulder with a mirror and is usually playing with her hair too.
The Fast Shopping Twins (this may actually be only one person who is so fast that he can be in two places at once, but I'll proceed as if it is a set of twins), usually seen separately in supermarkets in the Back Bay/Fenway area or on or near the Orange Line in the Jamaica Plain area or near Mass Ave. These small-framed middle aged men who are twins or closely spaced brothers who look a lot alike. I see them regularly on the Orange Line or rushing from the Orange Line to the Fenway Whole Foods, Prudential Shaw's or Back Bay Trader Joe's. When they do get to the supermarket, watch out! You'll never see someone push a carriage through the aisles so fast.
Somehow they came up in a job interview. They have a brother, who is not the speedster they are. I called him/them Forest Gump because 1. it was the 1990s and 2. they run, or better put speed walk, with their arms straight down.
There's the woman at the corner of Park Street and Tremont who seems to be continuously babbling, occasionally screaming, something vaguely religious (?). Usually seated with piles of stuff that sort of grades into her person. She might be Haitian?
The dread-locked, carriage-pushing trashman of Eastie who is obviously dealing with some serious mental health issues.
And of course the older, karaoke crooner of 70s hits on the Blue Line platform at Govt Center, but maybe buskers should be their own category?
I have not seen her for weeks, after seeing her everyday for 5 years. Does anyone know what happened to her?
I'm not sure if it was for medical or mental-health reasons, but either way, it's probably a good thing. I didn't see them take her away, but I did see some official looking people packaging up her possessions, hopefully to bring them to her wherever she winds up.
Now, if they would only take "Watertown Guy" away, it would make Downtown Crossing a much better working environment.
There was a guy, Bullet, who was a courier and would wear Winnie the Pooh helmets and such. I think he was hit by a car recently-ish, and partially brain damaged, so he's either no longer a courier or he is, but on his feet only. Anyone know him? How's he doing?
I've heard stories about him from friends who work downtown - he got hit or crashed, no one's really sure which as far as I know. Either way he got really banged up and his bike was finished as well, so he's working as a walker nowadays.
This thread seems to be mostly about local characters seen on the street or on the T. The original article was broader than that. Famous Bostonians unknown outside the city would, IMO, include people like Frank Avruch, Dale Dorman, Ernie Boch, Chet & Natalie, et al.
Boch AND Boch, Jr.
Does New York boast a father-son duo?
Oh, and Dana Hersey. What the hell.
Great one, Scratchie.
If we wish to get into kiddie show hosts, on a slightly lower level we had Major Mudd and Willie Whistle, also.
We should probably include some non-media/non-street people as well, e.g. politicians like Dapper O'Neil and Chuck Turner.
Remember "Miss Jean" from Romper Room?
Indeed , and how about , ' Je m'applelle Monique DuPont ' on channel 2 , the french lessons from the tv . Sacrebleu , mes enfants .
Ny has The Donald and junior , also John Gotti and junior.....
Think the equivelant of Ray and Greg Kelly, the latter being more famous due to The Soup.
I'm surprised no one beat me to the punch on these goobers.
The original article seems pretty much like this thread: people whom you'd see on the streets or the subway in NYC only after living there a while.
Bernie and Phyl (too regional?)
Meghna Chakrabarti (too specialized?)
Dave Maynard (RIP), Althea Garrison, Jerry Ellis, Bernie & Phyl, the Tatelman's (of Jordan's [no longer confused with Jordan Marsh]), Chuck Stewart, Greg Kite, & Arnie 'Woo Woo' Ginsburg.
Now there's a dinner party.
He's the only one who came to mind that others haven't mentioned. Sadly, he passed away in 2009.
There's an older black guy who walks around DTX with a sign around his neck yelling and preaching. Usually see him around Macy's or on the Orange Line platforms.
It'll get all pruney.
Thats what I call him as he's the guy who looks much like the famous actor. The moustache stands out. Chances are you either saw him riding the T or scavenging through all the college campuses (Northeastern, MIT, Harvard, BU, you name it). No mistake about him: He always wears a winter hat and SHORTS all the time, even when its only 5 degrees outside.
Willie Whistle was a ghastly memory I had successfully suppressed for decades.
How about the scourge of all things problematical at the BPL?
As for the NYC list, (Adam should have warned us to have eyebleach ready), it's a stretch to say that some of these people are only known in NYC:
4. Sandy Kenyon
10. The Naked Cowboy
15. Jimmy McMillan
19. Mike Francesa
20. Reverend Billy
23. Curtis Sliwa
And I'm sure I've seen this guy somewhere, maybe as a "before" in a late night hair transplant ad:
31. This crazy guy who yells a lot in midtown
Oh wait, those are people who are inexplicably famous as being from Boston in spite of having no other redeeming talents.
lenny clarke is an icon. take that back.
Wait, I know Lenny didn't post that because it wasn't in ALL CAPS!
Little Joe Cook
Altho not as famous as Little Joe Cook and the Cantab ( long live the Kid , Larry F ) , the was a hot dog shack in the Zone , corner of Washington & Lagrange , Dirty John's I believe it was called, and up the street a bit on Dover , Harry the Greek. And of course , there was Princess Cheyenne , might as well include Izzy Ott too!
THE Ron Newman?
1) Melvin, the homeless guy who sleeps in the alcove in Kenmore Square next to City Convenience and always has an impeccably neat sign asking for change. His alcove has gotten increasingly decorated over the years.
2) Too Many Coats Guy. Often seen near Fenway Park and the Kenmore Dunkin, he is constantly wearing a bazillion coats, even in the summertime.
3) Bernie, the BU Bum. Years ago, he wandered around the BU campus looking like a super-scruffy professor and sleeping next to the heat vent on the School of Theology. Now, he often stands on the street next to the Packard's Corner T stop by that real estate agency. He wears a tweed coat.
Don't forget the Comm Ave Running Man - wears a weighted vest and runs up and down Comm Ave; stops at corners and bows to all 4 directions. Even in snow storms, he's out there!
Is a pretty nice dude. Very pleasant to talk to and seems generally happy. I used to bring him fruit and rolls from the dining hall when I went to BU.
How about the newspaper guy between DTX/Financial District and South Station? "I've only 4 left and would like to sell them all by 5:20!" He's the one who makes the duck quacking noise.
Is duck quack guy in Harvard square sometimes? Over the summer I was hilariously quacked at by a panhandler. Pitch perfect.
Daniel Drinkwater (Red Sox fan and Businessman)
That just proves my point, I'm from New York! Actually, it doesn't prove anything, I just hate being wrong. I was almost wrong twice in one comment, I always thought that it was DD wearing the yellow headphones.
...let us not forget the brave and intrepid Shelby Scott!
And while I'm having WBZ-TV flashbacks, anyone else grow up on the early news with "Jack Chase and meteorologist Don Kent"? Not to mention the fabulous musical commercial for Nivea that frequently ran during the program: "From your fingers to your toes, you've got just one set of permanent clothes..." But that, I suppose, is way off-topic :-)
And Big Brother Bob Emery , toasting Ike with a glass of milk
There's always JonMon aka Johnny Monsarrat.
Mary Lou Lord, though she has been holding court up in Beverly as of late, I'm assume she's good for a gig at Park St or Harvard Square stations every now and then.
Not to pick nits, but I think Mary Lou is fairly well-known outside Boston, at least in indie/DIY music circles.
Who's the guy at Harvard singing French Creole songs?
aka the guy who sits in the second row at Fenway, right behind the plate, wearing yellow headphones regardless of the game.
Drives my wife and kid nuts when I put on a home game and announce whether a) Headphone Guy is there and b) If he's wearing the same jacket he always seems to wear. Bonus annoyance points when I make some comment about how he never smiles.
Also, that glass-replacement guy, Drinkwater.
Sitting in the bar at the 99 on Route 1 in Saugus one night watching the game and I mentioned the "Giant Glass guy" always behind the plate. The bartender said that he usually comes in here on the way home after the game - especially if he cuts out early. Yeah yeah whatever. Shortly thereafter my eyes drop down from the screen above the bar and there he is across the bar from me. I almost choked on my popcorn.
Hector, the homeless guy in army fatigues who likes to pretend that he's machine-gunning in battle, etc., in front of the corner store at Mass. Ave and Marlborough Streets. He will stop doing it and act normal if he sees that he's freaking someone out. He's actually quite friendly and helpful when he isn't killing imaginary enemies.
Pretty unnerving when I first saw him...then realized he's harmless.
What the... I live about 100 feet from that store and have never seen the dude.
There's a middle aged guy on a GMC Denali black & yellow road bike with matching spandex which is always blasting around town with a boom box. I've literally seen him everywhere year round.
Couple beers, no beers.
That's what I called him anyway - used to wear some type of nautical skipper hat - kind of like Judge Smails in caddyshack when launching his little sailboat that scratches Rodney Dangerfield's anchor - and he would wear a fur coat. Used to see him around the Back Bay a lot, but alas, I'm guessing the Captain has gone on to that great sailboat in the sky.
Oh - and our most famous locally only famous person - Tom Menino - I know he's famous around here - but most people outside of New England and even Mass don't know his name unless they have a connection to Boston.
my bros and sisters were on that show back in the day.
Dawn - the woman who recited the daIly lottery number on television.
What about pigeon lady? Though I haven't seen her around in awhile.
I was going to add who I call "The Flower Lady"...I've seen her near Tremont/Park Streets but more often in front of Teriyaki House on Boylston near Hemenway St. Always asking people to buy a flower...one day she gave a flower to me and my friend and then put her hand out for money, my friend gave her as much change as she could (and we're not talking pennies! like a good amount!) and she plucked the flowers right back out of her hands. I walk right on by whenever I hear her raspy voice now...
Why would a New Hampshire guy be on the only famous in Boston list?
The beehive hair-do / layers of cakey makeup lady of greater Inman Square. Used to see her regularly at Foodmaster.
playing the one-stringed instrument with a bow; various Red Line stops.
"It takes team work to make the dream work" & "Have a Five Star Day" - Red line (now Orange Line) T Driver
Also the Red Line Driver who sounds like James Earl Jones
Rip one-armed-pushup man
"I doubt it!"
I'm told he is now a salesman at the Jordan's Furniture in Avon.
Scooterdude, the guy who hangs around the Copley area and uses plastic sheeting as a sail for his scooter.
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