That's when he discovered that someone had tipped over the same Buddha, knocking off the same head he glued back 10 months ago. Yesterday afternoon, inside his colorful shop decorated with Moroccan muskets and wooden New Guinea wedding canoes and a collection of Oriental rugs, Kravetz could only shake his head in disbelief as he looked at the statue.
"I just don't understand it," said Kravetz, who with his khakis and his white hair pulled into a ponytail looks every bit the exotic art collector. ''It's really frustrating. I'll tell you. Before this is all over I'm going to have the only epoxy Buddha in the world."
There are other pieces in his eclectic shop that are more attractive - such as the Thai spirit houses - and more interesting - like those gourds from New Guinea that are used as athletic supporters, but Kravetz said the Buddha is a favorite of his store's customers.
"I put it out there to brighten up the street, and it works," he said. ''People are always talking about it. Kids come by and sit on it. Tourists take pictures of it."
And somebody keeps breaking it. Kravetz said he plans to glue the head on - again - as well as an arm that broke off, when the weather improves.
Until then, he'll just hold on to the statue's disconnected head and keep sadly shaking his own.
NO MEZZALUNA OR KATO HERE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH
O.J. Boycott. Day 18.
Just another reminder that it's been over two weeks and we still haven't mentioned it.
IN PORT RICHMOND, TRUMP
JOINS THE BILLBOARD GAME
Shaq is coming down. The Donald is going up.
That famous - or is it infamous? - billboard along I-95 near Allegheny Avenue is changing. One year after the 60-foot likeness of Shaquille O'Neal
went up to sell Reeboks, the Orlando Magic's star is coming down. Crews were at work yesterday at the site atop the Diamond Furniture Building.
In his place will rise a billboard advertising Trump casinos in Atlantic City. Stay tuned to see if it will match the size and drama of the Shaq ad.
For years, the prime spot in Port Richmond had the Marlboro man, but he was taken down this time last year after neighborhood groups complained that the billboard was within 500 feet of a school. The Philip Morris Co. has a policy of keeping billboards advertising cigarettes away from schools.
A little history here: When the company that wanted to erect the billboard
applied to the city for permission, it said it would be 20 by 60 feet - a common size in the billboard industry. What they neglected to say was that it would be 60 feet tall and 20 feet wide, not the other way around.
MAYBE THIS ISN'T JUST
ANOTHER TRASHY CONTEST
You know all about this city's heritage: Philadelphia, birthplace of liberty. Philadelphia, birthplace of brotherhood. Philadelphia, birthplace of trash collecting . . . ?
One of the city's lesser-known (and most odoriferous) claims to fame is the first usage of municipal street cleaners, instituted by Ben Franklin in 1757. Well, we had the first, but what about the best? Ruffies garbage bags is sponsoring a sanitation worker of the year award to find out. The winner will go home with $10,000.
You can enter your favorite sanitation worker by sending an entry request to Ruffies Sanitation Worker of the Year Award, P.O. Box 1816, New York, N.Y. 10011.