Most of Steve Buscemi’s neighbors, on a block off Seventh Avenue, pay no attention to the fact that they live next to a star, or at least claim they could care less.
But Elliot Larkfield walks his dog past Buscemi’s stoop every morning, his iPhone camera ready to document whatever objects the “Boardwalk Empire” star leaves out for passersby to take.
Larkfield, who goes by his pen name, might also feign a lack of interest in his neighbor’s celebrity, but his morning walks have become fodder for his blog, What’s on Steve Buscemi’s Stoop, which dedicates itself to chronicaling the refuse left on the star’s steps.
Once Larkfield snaps a photo of the objects, for example a box of hats, old coffee mugs, cassette tapes, and even a door, he uploads them to his Tumblr account. The postings are irregular—sometimes several times a week, sometimes with weeks between postings—depending on the level of interest in Buscemi’s stoop schwag.
His first post was August 2009—it was a picture of a decapitated doll head that was stuck on the Buscemi’s fence. He now has close to 300 followers on his Twitter account, and nearly 400 on his Tumblr page.
“One day, I was walking my dog past his house and I saw the doll head there so I took a picture. That’s how it all started. Then I realized it needed its own dedicated forum, and that was how the Tumblr was born.”
Larkfield says that the process of documenting Buscemi’s stoop has provided some surprising insight into the man behind such great movies as “Fargo” and “The Big Lebowski.”
“You could go through it and see the process of his mind over the years. Hats from various films he worked on, like ‘The Big Lebowski’ hat, which I keep in my office,” Larkfield said. “That hat and the Iowa Manchester Centennial tie are the two things I have kept. The ceramic coaster with his son’s name on it, was there a riff there? We don’t know. The door was interesting, is he building his Emmy room?”
Most neighbors on Larkfield’s street know about the blog, but many believe the blog is an invasion of privacy—the fact that some pictures clearly depict the star’s address is a tipping point.
Kurt Schamann, has lived in his brownstone for 38 years, and welcomed Buscemi when he moved next door 10 years ago.
“I understand that people get star struck, but at a certain point that star struck-ism gets the better of them,” Schamann said, explaining that his famous neighbor is a normal person and a good neighbor who keeps to himself.
“What the blogger is doing is weird, he’s a stalker. If I was posting pictures of a female actress’ house I’d get arrested for stalking,” Schamann said. “I am looking out for him, I am going to give him a good camera broken.”
We could not reach Buscemi for his own opinion on the blog, but Buscemi’s community is looking out for their neighbor nonetheless.
“He should get friggin’ stomped on. People should be left alone,” said Tommy, a neighbor who preferred to give his first name only. “It’s absolutely an invasion of privacy.”
Erica Reitman, founder of the blog Effed in Park Slope, said the blog was an invasion of privacy, but that doesn’t keep her from reading the “pretty killer, hilarious” site.
“I would go out of my way to ensure that addresses were hidden if this was my blog,” Reitman said, who blogged about the Tumblr account last week.
But, she also suggested Buscemi might do well to have a little fun with his documentarian.
“I'd start putting out pig knuckles, dolls with their eyes X'd out with black magic markers, old issues of TV Guide and all sorts of other crazy stuff. Putting weird [stuff] on my stoop would become my new favorite pastime!”
Larkfield, who has made a career writing books on celebrities and pop culture (“Christopher Walken A-to-Z,” “Secret Lives of Great Authors,” and “The Encyclopedia Shatnerica,” among others), has responded in part to the criticism by posting less frequently. But he also defends his blog as a legitimate, artistic endeavor.
“I do not see it as stalking,” he said. “To me it’s a found art project. My email is linked to the blog, so if he had a problem, he could email and say ‘please stop’ and I would.”
Further, he says he has established his own rules for the blog in order to make sure he maintains the actor’s privacy: he never enters the property, never puts things on the stoop and never manipulates the objects he finds.
Though he has been discouraged by his neighbor’s criticisms—and dissuaded from posting anything for weeks now—ultimately he feels the need to continue to documenting the stoop findings and “stay dedicated” to his art.
“I have a dream of how this blog ends. If Buscemi were to come out on his stoop and let me take a picture of him, I will post that and say ‘What is on Steve Buscemi’s Stoop today: Steve Buscemi. My work here is done,” said Larkfield. “And that is my peace offering to the neighborhood and I would get out of his life.”