Volume 77 / Number 34 Jan. 23 - 29, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

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Edward L. Graham, 62, the ‘Mayor of E. Fourth St.’

By Tine Kindermann

Edward L. Graham, known to all as Eddie, was homeless, but for the last 13 years the block of E. Fourth St. between Avenues A and B was his home, and the people on the block his family. They fed him. They gave him clothes and invited him for barbecues. And he was friends with everybody — children, dogs — giving out candy on Halloween and decorating the trees on the block, building white picket fences around them and benches to sit on.

Eddie was a talented artist who spent a good deal of time each year making colorful cards with poems he wrote and giving them out for major holidays, as well as making beautiful collages for people’s birthdays. He made hobbyhorses for kids on the block and saved the newspapers for neighbors every day.

Eddie was a veteran who was estranged from his family. But he was very excited about the prospect of getting his own place after all those years on the street, when a social worker made contact with him last fall and started getting him “back into the system.”

Unfortunately, Eddie didn’t live to see his own apartment. He may have been refused entry into the basement he had been spending the last winters in and was forced to sleep in a windy and cold hallway. He came down with pneumonia and an infection and was finally taken by a friend to the hospital, where, after a two-week stay, Eddie died on Sun., Jan. 20, at age 62.

It was his wish to be cremated, and his best friend Charlie and others are now collecting money to make this possible.

His friends are trying to verify Eddie’s veteran’s status in the hope that veteran’s funds can partly pay for his funeral. A memorial service will be held Sat., Jan. 26, at Peter Jarema Funeral Home at 129 E. Seventh St.

Meanwhile, a large memorial shrine is developing by “Eddie’s Tree.”

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