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BY CLAYTON PATTERSON | Lorcan Otway and his wife, Eugenie Gilmore-Otway, are longtime Lower East Side figures. Lorcan is easily recognizable by his old-school Quaker attire. He and his wife own and run Theatre 80, a classic St. Mark’s Place establishment with a long, New York City underground pedigree, reaching back to he Prohibition era and beyond. This is one of the last authentic, local, family-owned and -operated local business. Lorcan’s family has run the business for decades. In the 1980s, his father screened early American classic movies here.
Locan and his wife are old school. They’ve been around the block, in a good way, for decades. They’ve seen people shot, stabbed, mugged, loved, hugged, married and so on. They’re both educated as lawyers, have fought in many civil rights cases. Gennie still practices.
Lorcan and Gennie believe in principles, civilized social interaction, good manners. On Fri., July 21, Lorcan got a phone call. A phone belonging to one of his employees had been stolen and the caller said he had it. Lorcan asked, What do you want? Reply, $100. Come down, Lorcan told him.
But Lorcan had no intention of paying the money. To do so would be teaching the wrong lesson. Lorcan was not going to call the cops, either.
Three Brooklyn youths showed up. Loran snatched the phone and said, “That’s it. Leave.” A fight ensued.
The struggle spilled outside the door onto the sidewalk. Then Lorcan got grabbed from behind and pushed head first into a Citi Bike in the bike station outside the theater, resulting in a lump above his right eye, another on his temple, abrasions on his forearm and a swollen knee.
Gennie pulled out her own smartphone and took a photo of the assailants. But one of the youths grabbed her camera. Lorcan grabbed it back from him. Gennie was shaken and panicked because of the private nature of her business stored on her phone.
In her agitated state, not realizing that Lorcan now had both phones, she jumped on the youths’ car, thinking that would stop them from driving off. Unfortunately, not. She ended up with her shoulder blade broken in multiple places, a broken ankle, scratches on her face and lots and lots of pain. Lots of pain.
On top of that, there were two ambulance rides, one for Lorcan and one for Gennie. My guess is it would not be the same price as a single patient.
Later, by the grace of a sympathetic, generous, intelligent hospital employee, Gennie got an ambulette ride home from the hospital. They had no insurance, so they could not stay in hospital. Suffering at home, with just a fan to keep cool in the blistering heat.
What started off as a plan to get $100 for a stolen phone ended up with much more serious consequences, as Lorcan resolved not to pay money for stolen property and not to call in the cops. Things escalated all the way up to anywhere from assault to hit and run, maybe even attempted murder. But they have the car’s license number, the phone trace, at least one robber’s photograph, video and whatever else pops up.
Moving forward, they are looking at producing a benefit to help find ways to pay the medical bills. Then, there’s still wages to pay, plus family expenses, and Gennie is also the guardian of Lorcan’s elderly mother. Somehow, hopefully, they’ll pull through this. Lorcan and Gennie are legends on the L.E.S.