God Bless America

It almost sounds like an Onion headline: Upscale Antiques Dealer Sues Homeless Men Who Sleep Outside His Shop

The less fortunate often loiter in front of Karl Kemp and Associates Antiques at 833 Madison Ave., standing on the small grate for heat, but Kemp says they're cooling off his business by blocking the shop window.

His suit is against three John Does and one Jane Doe, but the main target is a scruffy man who was spotted changing his socks on the vent yesterday – obstructing the view of a $26,000 19th-century mahogany Empire bench from Vienna with lion-head details and cream-colored upholstery.

“I have nothing against the man, but I cannot provide a shelter to him,” Kemp told The Post yesterday from his other store on East 10th Street.

“You make a wonderful effort to have an attractive window, people come out from the building next door, they don’t see him and they trip over him,” he said. “It happened twice last August. One lady hurt herself.”
And the poor people are standing between well-heeled customers and hundreds of thousands of dollars of antiques they may buy.

The somewhat surly vagrant is a fixture in the neighborhood, but none of the shop owners knows his name. Wearing three layers of dingy socks, soiled shoes and layers of odorous old clothing, the bearded man was getting some relief from the frigid cold on the grate yesterday.

“Leave me the f- – - alone,” he grumbled. “I don’t want to be f- – -ing involved.”
Later, the same man walked up to Kemp’s store window after closing, at about 6:20 p.m., and placed two bags of miscellaneous garbage on either side of the warm grate. He got down in the fetal position and did not respond to further questioning.

He’s asking for $1 million.

Chris Hayes is the host of All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC.


Join Chris’s email list.