Anthony Bourdain never lost his taste for the L.E.S.

Anthony Bourdain, left, with Clayton Patterson in April outside the front door of Patterson’s Essex St. home / Outlaw Art Gallery. Photo by Elsa Rensaa

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | The death of Anthony Bourdain is hitting home on the Lower East Side and in the East Village, where the celebrity chef-turned-TV host had only just recently been filming for his “Parts Unknown.”

In a devastating shock to those who knew him and to his millions of fans, Bourdain, 61, hung himself last Fri., June 8, in a hotel room in Alsace, in northern France, where he was filming a segment for his popular CNN show.

Bourdain was born in New York City, but grew up just over the George Washington Bridge, in Leonia, N.J. In April, he returned to his former stomping grounds, the Lower East Side and East Village, where he used to party and hang out in the 1970s and ’80s when he was still a chef laboring in relative obscurity. After work, the hard-living Bourdain would score heroin and cocaine there and rock out to hard-core punk bands.

He was candid about his past substance abuse. In “Remembering Anthony Bourdain,” a special about him that aired on CNN Sunday night, he is shown recounting how, at one point in his life, the first thing he would focus on after waking up each morning was getting drugs.

Eventually, though, he was able to kick.

“I looked in the mirror and saw someone worth saving,” he said.

Among the local spots Bourdain visited in his recent return to the ’hood were Ray’s Candy Store, at E. Seventh St. and Avenue A — where he reportedly had an egg cream and either beignets or fried Oreos, and was joined by Harley Flanagan of the Cro-Mags — C-Squat and MoRUS (the Museum of Reclaimed Open Space), both on Avenue C between E. Ninth and 10th Sts.; Veselka restaurant, on Second Ave. at E. Ninth St.; and John’s of E. 12th St. Italian restaurant, just east of Second Ave.

Anthony Bourdain two months ago at Ray’s Candy Store, on Avenue A, with Ray Alvarez, center, and Harley Flanagan of the Cro-Mags. Photo courtesy Harley Flanagan

He also spent a couple of hours interviewing Clayton Patterson, who has documented the Lower East Side for three decades through photography, video and books. They got two plastic chairs from inside Patterson’s place, at 161 Essex St., near Stanton St., and set them up on the sidewalk in front of his famed art-and-graffiti-covered front door. They didn’t eat anything, which Patterson said was just as well, so they could concentrate on their talk.

“He wanted to do it in front of the door,” Patterson said. “He called me ‘The Godfather of Lower East Side Documentary.’ He knew a lot about me, I was surprised. He also talked about music, hard-core music, everybody he knew — the Cro-Mags, the Bad Brains. We talked about my dope-bag book, street gangs, the police riot” in Tompkins Square Park in 1988.

Back when the Lower East Side was an open-air drug market in the ’80s, Patterson used to collect the empty heroin glassine baggies discarded on the streets after junkies shot up. The dealers sold different “brands” of dope, with the baggies bearing their various name stamps.

“I showed him the real bags,” Patterson said. “ ‘Toilet’ — ‘Toilet’ was a really famous dope bag on the Lower East Side. That was one of the ones he asked for first, and I showed it to him. He knew ‘357.’ ‘DOA’ was another bag… . ‘Express.’ ”

A memorial to Bourdain has grown on the gate of the closed Les Halles restaurant, on John St. in Lower Manhattan. The restaurant went bankrupt nearly a year ago. Photo by Milo Hess

“I gave him a street gang book,” he added, referring to Jose Quiles’s a.k.a. Cochise’s memoir about leading the last street gang on the Lower East Side that “flew colors,” as in, wore their gang name — Satan’s Sinners Nomads — on the backs of their jackets.

Patterson said Bourdain’s crew had initially reached out to him asking for interesting people to interview.

“His people asked me to connect him to the Lower East Side,” Patterson said. “So, I thought I would connect him to the Lower East Side that was kind of the roots, the regular people, not the hip celebrities. It’s kind of cross-section of the Lower East Side.”

Patterson recommended Jim Power, “The Mosaic Man,” whose tile-encrusted light poles beautify the East Village landscape; Pablo Vargas, of Stanton Tailor Shop; Spencer Fujimoto, a local skateboarder / jewelry maker; El Castillo de Jagua, the Dominican restaurant at 113 Rivington St. — “They had a very good experience with him” Patterson noted. “He was friendly with everybody, posed for photos with the waitresses” — photographer Alex Harsley, of the 4th Street Photo Gallery; and Overthrow boxing gym, in the former Yippie headquarters building at 9 Bleecker St.

“Joey [Goodwin] and Power Malu came over from Overthrow to meet him,” he said. “I think his crew went over there to film.”

Patterson said Bourdain also met with Dick Manitoba, the lead singer of the Dictators punk band, who took him to a White Castle — obviously, not in the neighborhood, since there aren’t any there — indie filmmaker Jim Jarmusch; and also, reportedly, performer Lydia Lunch, too.

“He did just about everybody I liked,” Patterson said. “He did my kind of people.”

Part of the memorial at the shuttered Les Halles restaurant. Photo by Milo Hess

The documentarian also directed him to filmmaker Dan Levin, who did a biopic, “Captured,” about Patterson. Patterson said that “Parts Unknown” will use footage from the film, as well as images from his photo archive.

Eater reported that Bourdain met with local artists Joe Coleman and Amos Poe, too.

Patterson noted that, given how many people Bourdain interviewed in the neighborhood, it would probably take more than a single one-hour segment to show it all.

The future of “Parts Unknown” is itself unknown, at the moment, though. According to The Wrap, the show airs between eight and 11 segments per season. Sunday night, Bourdain’s segment on Berlin aired — the sixth show of Season 11. The blog reported that, according to “a channel insider,” a replacement host for him is currently being sought.

Asked if Bourdain seemed down in any way — or, on the other hand, together and real, as he usually appeared on his show — Patterson said, the latter.

“Yeah, [he was] totally on it,” he said of the globetrotting gourmand. “I certainly felt privileged to be talking to him. He was very accessible, not arrogant. He was one of those people, you felt you had known him for a long time. He’s a very good conversationalist, he put me at ease. It was just a very easy-flowing conversation.

Fans and curious passersby have been checking out the growing memorial outside Les Halles. Photo by Milo Hess

“He was my kind of guy. For me, it was a big loss,” he reflected on Bourdain’s death. “Not that we were pals or would go out together.”

Showing Bourdain’s reach and influence, when the TV star’s Web site posted a photo of him with Patterson, it instantly registered a huge number of views.

“When he put up the picture of me and him, it got over 52,300 likes on Instagram or Twitter,” Patterson recalled, “in like one f—ing day.”

Just days before Bourdain’s death, the celebrity handbag designer Kate Spade committed suicide.

The East Village’s squatter community is also grieving over a spate of suicides. Last year, Erin O’Connor, a longtime East Village squatter, hung herself at age 50 in her former squat on E. Sixth St. Two weeks before that, a woman named Emily killed herself at C-Squat. Just two weeks ago, Sequoia, O’Connor’s son, killed himself in the apartment he inherited from his mother.

Like many others, musician and blogger Eden Brower, who formerly lived at C-Squat, was distraught over the onslaught of terrible news.

“F—,” she tweeted, “#anthonybordain was just at C squat in April filming his new show. Nice guy and ex punk rocker. He also hung in Tompkins and visited @RaysCandyStore. This sucks. Everyone please stop killing yourselves.”

Sunday night, CNN aired a special on Anthony Bourdain. Photo by Lincoln Anderson

In response, a community mental-health workshop dubbed “A Celebration of Dangerous Gifts” will be held Sat., June 16, at 242 E. Second St., from noon to 8 p.m. The event, sponsored by the Institute for the Development of Human Arts aims to use art, music, spoken word and more to recast “madness and creativity” in a more nurturing and positive light.

Meanwhile, a makeshift memorial to Bourdain has been growing at the now-shuttered Les Halles restaurant, at 15 John St., in Lower Manhattan, where he formerly worked as a chef.

In the “Remembering Anthony Bourdain” CNN special segment, he is shown saying he’s not a journalist, but a storyteller, and maybe even an “essayist.” Bourdain’s 2000 book “Kitchen Confidential,” about the sordid goings-on in upscale restaurants, was a bestseller, and launched him on the way to celebrity.

But CNN anchor Don Lemon said of him, “He was a better journalist than many of us, because he was a natural. He was a storyteller.”

A shot of the closing credits of Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” segment on Berlin, which aired Sunday night. The show featured music by alternative rockers the Brian Jonestown Massacre, and prominently featured the Berlin arts scene. Photo by Lincoln Anderson

In his show, Bourdain would sometimes put himself in dangerous situations — such as in places like Libya and Myanmar — as well as interview individuals who were fiercely outspoken government critics. In one notable instance, a few weeks after he interviewed Russian dissident Boris Nemtsov, who was a leading opponent of Vladimir Putin, Nemtsov was assasinated. CNN’s Anderson Cooper said Bourdain would “interestingly” often find himself “in the epicenter” of these tense international scenarios.

Another colleague noted that while Bourdain was featured so prominently in the public eye, he actually was an introvert.

As “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter put it, Bourdain “was this larger-than-life handsome man who traveled the world,” and people enjoyed having him take them along for the ride.

Another CNN’er recalled that it wasn’t Bourdain who reached out to then-President Barack Obama to be on his show — but actually the other way around. The two were filmed congenially conversing over cheap noodles and beers in Vietnam during Obama’s final year in office. Obama noted how the basic yet powerful concept of Bourdain’s show — travel and appreciating the food and customs of other cultures — shows “how we are all alike.”

To Randy Credico, the stand-up comic-turned-journalist who has been linked — wrongly, he insists — to Roger Stone in the “Russiagate” probe, Bourdain unquestionably was a journalist.

“He was the most progressive guy on network news,” Credico said. “He slipped it in. I watch him all the time. He had 7 million followers on Twitter, and his personality was bigger than life.”

Pier 57, at W. 16th St. on the Chelsea waterfront — shown in a design rendering, sporting a planned landscaped roof, above — was going to feature a jumbo “hawkers”-style vendors market led by Anthony Bourdain, but the plan ultimately didn’t pan out.

In addition, though his heart may have been on the Lower East Side, Bourdain was, until recently, poised to have a major impact on the West Side waterfront. In what would have been a new venture for him, he was, until late last year, set to lead the creation of a huge food-vendors’ market at Pier 57, at W. 16th St. in Hudson River Park. However, a plan was never formally submitted for approval to the Hudson River Park Trust, the state-city authority that runs the 4-mile-long waterfront park.

According to the Trust, “At its originally proposed scale, the public marketplace was deemed by RXR / YW [the entities redeveloping the pier] to be financially unfeasible,” though few details were given at the time explaining why.

Prior to the Trust approving the current lease for Pier 57 in 2016, RXR / YW brought in Google as an “office subtenant,” in lieu of some of the marketplace space. According to the Trust, Google will have an initial 15-year sublease.

The Trust is currently considering a further reduction of the marketplace requested by RXR / YW “because of the difficulty in marketing a market of that size.” If, following what is known as a “Significant Action process,” the change to the Pier 57 project is ultimately approved, RXR / YW will pay the Trust $1 million more in rent per year than the previous plan — which definitely sounds like one reason it’s more “feasible.”

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