No sign of any bums hanging out in front of Karl Kemp Antiques around noon on Friday–unless, of course, you count the press corps.
“If we can’t find the bum, we’ve got no story,” remarked cameraman Bill, part of a three-person crew filming for the TV tabloid show Inside Edition.
“Listen, we’re gonna find Mr. Greenlee,” countered Kim Rittberg, an associate producer for the program.
The scene outside the antiques shop at 833 Madison Avenue has been the focus of much media attention this week, following store owner Karl Kemp’s $1 million lawsuit and demand for a court order to keep homeless persons from loitering in front of the location–which he claimed was hurting his business.
The Daily News on Friday identified Roger Greenlee, 65, as one of three homeless persons commonly drawn to the warmth of a steam grate located directly in front of Mr. Kemp’s store.
According to the News, one reporter with a thermometer recorded temperatures at the grate reaching 109.9 degrees.
“Oh yeah, I’d sleep on that,” said cameraman Bill, placing his hand over the hot grate.
Ten minutes after the Inside Edition group left, a two-person crew from Channel 11 arrived on the scene. Finding no bums, however, they also departed. “He was here yesterday,” said a Channel 11 reporter. “But he wouldn’t talk.”
Despite Mr. Greenlee’s absence, customer traffic at the antiques shop seemed light at best during the noon hour.
– Chris Shott
UPDATE: At 1:15 p.m., Ms. Rittberg text-messaged The Observer to report that she finally spotted the homeless man on 69th Street, around the corner from the shop.