Volume 80, Number 20 | October 14 - 20, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Photos by Clayton Patterson
Black lips and a black soul
Drag queen Peter, above, gave night crawlers a thrill at Avenue A’s Pyramid Club during its 1980’s heyday. Meanwhile, Daniel Rakowitz, below, gave the neighborhood a chill as the notorious “Butcher of Tompkins Square.” Rakowitz was mainly known for walking around with a chicken on his shoulder, until he became a Satanist, murdered his dancer roommate in 1989, and boiled her remains into soup, which he then doled out to the park homeless. The Texas native was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Held at the maximum-security Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center on Wards Island, he periodically comes up for review to assess whether he still suffers from a dangerous mental disorder. This June, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. announced that State Supreme Court had upheld an application — supported by Vance — by the state Office of Mental Health commissioner to keep Rakowitz at Kirby Forensic. “This decision continues to protect the residents of New York,” Vance said. “Two decades after the brutal murder and dismemberment of Monika Beerle, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office remains committed to keeping Daniel Rakowitz in a secure psychiatric facility.” Rakowitz can seek transfer to a less secure hospital or full release again in January 2012.