Sunday’s tribute to Ray Collins took place in Shelton Park, a favorite hangout of the singer and Village character who died Dec. 24, and it attracted some 200 people. Some spoke in front of the assemblage about their encounters with Collins. Some were fans of the Mothers of Invention, others simply knew him as a friendly face. Above, organizer Tara Tavi addresses the crowd at the start. With no public service scheduled, Sunday’s was the first chance to gather to remember him. There was a real sense of community.
The event ended with chalk being given to anyone interested, with the urging to write a message for Collins somewhere around the Village where he had been seen. I left one myself in Shelton Park by the table where we had our interview.
I walked around the Village on Monday morning and found messages on the pavement around virtually every bench (and who knew there were so many?)(Ray, I guess) and around his favorite sidewalk table outside Some Crust. A sampling:
“Thanks Ray for always saying hi.” — seen outside Pizza N Such
“This is where I met Ray.” — seen outside Bamboo Tea House
“I met Ray here in 1996.” — seen outside Raku
“Ray Collins is here.” — seen outside Pizza N Such
“Thank you for your friendship.” — seen outside the Library
“Ray was here.” — seen outside Some Crust
“Thank you for visiting me at Trader Joe’s.” — seen at Shelton Park
“A day without Ray is a day without Ray.” — ditto
Sadly, every day from now on will be a day without Ray. But for now, it’s enough that so many have him in their thoughts.