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Wendell the Garbageman



Photo by Normal Bob

It wasn't until I was scrounging through the photos I've stored since 2003 that the girth of Wendel's wardrobe actually sunk in and it was made clear he had to have a section to himself.


Photos by Normal Bob

I avoided giving this much attention to the Garbageman for years because his presence was so overplayed, pretend, and stinky.

He's not insane but pretends to be. He's got nothing to say, but tries very hard to look like he does.
He's a magnet for newbies to the park who are eager to befriend "weird New York" but have no idea what they're really getting into.


Video by Normal Bob
Have no doubt at all, Wendel stinks. Often you can smell his arrival.


Video by Normal Bob
Okay, time for a fun game! Click the above pic and guess what Wendel is doing.
You've got 30 seconds.
Go!

Photo by Normal Bob
Several years ago (2003/'04) Wendel was known for lying down on the busy sidewalk right in the middle of foot traffic, where he'd try to take up as much room as possible. Anything to make passing by or around him a difficult task. Anything to make sure he was noticed.

Photo by Normal Bob
It's only been in the last 5 years or so that he's become a staple of Union Square. Odds are if you've visited Union Square in the last 5 years, you saw Wendel, tried to snap a picture of him, then got hassled and banished from the park by his ear-pearcing, gurgling screams of irritation.

Photo by Normal Bob
Wendel, much like myself, is in everyone's business at Union Sq.
Much like me if you make eye contact, do anything that draws attention to yourself, or act like you're untouchable by the filth of the park, we are up on your shit, invading your space and doing anything we can to exploit you.




Photo by Skater Bob

In these pictures Wendel is pouting because we're taking his picture and he knows we're not going to pay for it.



Photo by Skater Bob

Most of the time however he'll hassle the hell out of anyone who snaps-n-stiffs, but he sees us every day at Union and knows it ain't worth puttin' up the fight.


Photo by Skater Bob

And the other reason he knows not to bother with us is because he's not crazy at all. He pretends he is, but he's totally regular with really very little to say that's of any interest. I know he doesn't look it, but that's the sad reality of Wendel.







Photo by Normal Bob

Maybe it was when I finally realized how much Wendel and I have in common my eyes opened to his genius.

The consistent dependability on the absolute make-believe wackiness just to get attention.
Only for attention at its most pitiful.
Its most desperate.
Its most shameful.


Photo by Normal Bob

I mean, we've each made Union Square our home, and we each have no hesitation in declaring it publicly... and we should.


Photo by Normal Bob
You know you've found a home & family at the park when Wendel asks you to take his photo for free, which is exactly what he did here.

Now, in return, when I see someone taking his picture without his permission I point and scream out, "Hey Wendel, that guy's taking your picture!" and he makes it worth my while. Try it yourself, and have your camera ready!






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Insults written strangely are describing strangers I have to see every single day and I don't want them to be sure what it means either.
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