5. MR. ZERO
Calhoun writes, “He is arguably the first example of an East Village type that endures today: a man selling a colorful myth about his role in the world that’s more fun than the reality.”
Urbain J. Ledoux fed the homeless and indigent in the ‘20s, earning the name Zero by representing himself as “nothing but bread and water.” He got an audience with President Warren G. Harding, who “denied Ledoux’s request to publish a list of those who had profited most from the war.” When Mr. Zero left St. Marks for South America, he owed $7,345 in back rent (a million in 2015 dollars).
Read the whole thing here.