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The image at right is not the cast of Misshapes: The Musical! These are actually fresh faces behind the East Village's beloved crusties, a group of street kids who regularly sleep on beds of needles in Tomkins Square park. An ambiguous family of homeless punk anarchists (or young bums, as one might say), the crusties have recently come under scrutiny in light of the EDGY spate of heroin overdoses to plague the East Village and Lower East Side as of late, most recently the death of a young man in the bathroom at the Odessa diner. The Villager hits the street for some reportage:

The self-appointed spokesman for the Tompkins Square crusties, L.E.S. Jewels, who has been quoted in local newspapers for his own overdose experience, said the crusties had nothing to do with the Odessa incidents.

Wait... L.E.S. Jewels? Hey, we know Jewels! From the Times, August 18, 2005:

"I died four times in one day, and I'm still here," said L.E.S. Jewels, a skinny 35-year-old from nowhere in particular. Under his left eye there are four blue tattooed dots. They stood, he said, for the four times he overdosed last week.

An experienced heroin addict and well-versed in the intricacies of steet culture, L.E.S. Jewels is available for comment on a variety of issues. Interested media outlets should contact Rubenstein PR to schedule an interview.

Hobo Punks Said to Have Wandered From Their Roots [The Villager]