Old Posts, Sad Signs, and Artifacts

I love when people come across old posts of mine and comment on them or email me about them.

Years ago I posted about this sad sign on Bleecker street. Almost seven years later someone saw it, filled me in on the background of the person named in the sign, and gave me permission to include his email in my post. It was just so great to have that information, to have that glimpse into the life of the person who inspired the sign. And to have my brief post expand like that. It’s like the comments section on my post about Elsie’s Oke Doke Bar.

All of this made me think of the 11th Street Paddington Bear. He sits in an apartment window in the Village, his outfits regularly changing with the seasons. I’d been passing by that bear on my way to and from choir rehearsal for 30 years when I wrote about him in Imperfect Harmony. Then, in early 2012, I walked by and saw this enormously sad sign. The person responsible for the bear, Norma Langworthy, had died.

The bear is still there, though. Someone, her children perhaps, have kept him in the window, and they now change his outfits. A woman who’d read my book tried using Google street view to see him, but it didn’t quite work. So I walked by and took this picture. I’m glad to still see him and I appreciate the effort, but the apartment is empty. I know I’m insane, but I felt bad for the bear, who is now all alone.


Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

2 thoughts on “Old Posts, Sad Signs, and Artifacts

  1. You are not crazy, or if you are, we both are. I have a weird attachment to stuffed animals also. I have tried to figure out where it comes from but still don’t know.

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