It was then that Power commenced his passionate commitment to the neighborhood, and began building, slowly but surely, his trail of mosaic-covered columns. Over the years he’s sourced his tiles from Bella Tile on First Avenue, flea markets, and from people around the neighborhood who save them for him. The project, despite his tribulations, poor health, and extended periods of homelessness, has kept Power optimistic—a veritable factory of ambitious ideas, all directed at the city’s betterment. “Does the joy of this work inspire pleasantries or does it inspire pickpockets? I think the former. The Greeks put mosaics in public housing. Why the hell they’d do that? Because—I believe—as art lifts the spirit it also tranquilizes it,” Power muses. “Spread across the whole city, what effects would this work have? If I had better funding, I could have gone for 100 miles, not 2 miles. But listen, it’s not over.”
Power, Powell, and Goldie have a couple weeks’ work on the Astor Place columns still ahead of them. But after that, despite Power’s need for hip surgery, they plan to forge on. He’s quick to note that only 20 people have donated to his cause in the last two months. Power’s vision is to erect a total of 80 mosaic-cloaked columns around the East Village. And yet, despite woes over funding, Power’s drive hasn’t diminished; just that day he received the encouraging news that he may be chosen to cover the roof of a hip East Village hotel with his signature work.