I'll be honest. I don't remember Tom, an African-American gentleman with a moustache and a baseball cap and apparently a very ingratiating manner, who sat every day outside the deli at 236 Court Street in Cobble Hill. But a lot of other people do.
Tom died recently—the circumstances are unclear—and an impromptu memorial has sprung up on the sidewalk where he used to hold court. There are flowers, candles, a couple pictures of Tom and a piece of paper, taped to the metal newsbox on which Tom would sit. On this are written many touching remembrances of the man. Many notes mention his smile and his assuring "presence." One man told me Tom would always watch his bike whenever he went in the deli. He didn't know much about Tom's origins, or where he slept at night.