West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77 / Number 27 - December 05 - 11, 2007

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OUR LADY OF POMPEI


Scene

By Lorcan Otway

On Bond St. these days can be heard the sound of chipping stone, steady, rhythmical. Kenichi Hiratsuka is hunched over on the sidewalk, a number of hammers and chisels laid out beside him. Tony Goldman, owner of 25 Bond St., commissioned him to fill the sidewalk with his trademark whorl and zigzag patterns.

Hiratsuka’s carvings first began to appear on East Village sidewalks 10 years ago. One was in front of the iconic restaurant Dojo on St. Mark’s Pl. Some of his earlier works are now gone.

“Everyone is free to find whatever they imagine in my work, a dog, a cat,” Hiratsuka said. “What do you see today? It is about intentionality and accident.”

Old friends drop by to watch him work. For 18 years he had a studio on 11th St. He moved Upstate to Andes, three hours northwest of New York City. He currently has a show of his sculpture in Brattleboro, Vt., running through Dec. 21.

“Moving stones, carving stones, cleaning up the mess — that’s my life,” Hiratsuka gently groused, shaking his head. That might be the drudgery of life as an artist, but the result is a small escape from the monotonous sameness of New York’s sidewalks.


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