A Hardware Store’s Four-Legged Star

Franklin is classified on Facebook as a public figure in Brooklyn, N.Y. His “likes” include “Babe: Pig in the City” and Crest Hardware and Urban Garden Center, a plug for the store in Williamsburg where he can often be found rooting through mulch. He has blue eyes, the inspiration for his name — as in Frankie Blue Eyes — and mellows out while listening to classic rock.

One recent chilly day, Franklin, a pot-bellied pig, was dressed in a black sweater with a stretched-out neck, his wiggling tail showing his joy at having free rein of the 5,000-square-foot garden at the hardware store. Soon, his world will shrink.

Planting season is nigh, and since Crest Hardware is not just a pig’s pen, limits will be imposed. The agile 1-year-old has learned to jump the two-foot fence surrounding his cozy pig house, so a higher barrier will be installed to keep him from devouring flowers and herbs for sale. His appetite knows no bounds, said Joseph Franquinha, 29, who co-owns both Franklin and the hardware store, on Metropolitan Avenue. “Pigs can literally go blind from eating too much,” he said.

Through a mostly vegan diet — he is allowed the occasional piece of cheese — Franklin maintains a trim weight of 39 pounds. It’s his fan base that’s growing. He can’t trot down the street without being besieged by paparazzi.

“We attempt to take him for walks, but it’s more of a walk and a stop and a walk and a stop because everyone has questions or wants to take a picture,” said Mr. Franquinha, a bearded fellow who is resigned to being known in the neighborhood as Joe, the guy with the pig. His father, Manny, 84, who founded Crest Hardware 50 years ago and knows a thing or two about marketing, suggested posting a sandwich board to announce if Franklin is “in” for visits.

When the sign says Franklin is “out,” it means he’s in the upstairs office taking a nap or at home playing with Liza Shields, 26, Mr. Franquinha’s girlfriend. His long snout unfolds the fresh laundry she’s just stacked on the bed, but she doesn’t mind, having dreamed of owning a piglet since she was 7. When she and Mr. Franquinha discussed moving in together a year and a half ago, she told him, “There’s something you need to understand. I want to get a pig.”

Her boyfriend eventually came around to the idea, and their research on small breeds led them to Spring Woods, a farm in Pennsylvania that specializes in teacup pigs, a size category under 60 pounds.

Franklin is a mix of miniature pot-belly and Juliana, a breed developed in Europe. He has delicate, pointed hooves that make him look as if he’s walking on tiptoes. Like Arnold Ziffel, the pig on “Green Acres,” Franklin grunts, hums, sighs and oofs, apparently chiming in on conversations. His lips form a smile when a carrot is offered, and he will sit or spin around to earn it. He was quick to learn acceptable bathroom habits, Ms. Shields said, having his first and last indoor accident at 1 month old.

“I’m obsessed with Franklin,” confessed Rachel Harrison, 36, who lives around the corner from the hardware store. “He has caused me to purchase way more bark mulch and pots. I’m popping in even when I don’t need anything, just to visit Franklin, and I’ll leave with four new flowers to plant in my backyard. It’s like using the bathroom at Starbucks; you feel like you have to buy a bottle of water on your way out.”

Ms. Harrison, the communications director for a hotel chain, keeps pictures of Franklin on her iPhone and regularly escorts friends to meet him. Franklin shows scant interest in new visitors unless he smells food. “He used to be more curious,” Ms. Harrison observed, “but now he’s so used to the attention, he’s like, ‘Meh.’”

Crest Hardware has long offered more than hammers and hoes, including a resident African gray parrot that wolf-whistles at customers. Each summer, the store hosts Crest Fest, a group art show dedicated to works made with or inspired by hardware. Last year, 300 painters, sculptors, and graphic and mixed media artists submitted works to be displayed among the shelves or dangling from the ceiling, like a chandelier fashioned of electrical cords.

Franklin, who is neutered, has no pig friends (except on Facebook) and prefers the company of dogs that look like him. “Pugs or French bulldogs are usually the only ones where he’ll even remotely acknowledge their existence,” Mr. Franquinha said.

While devotees like Ms. Harrison delight in seeing Franklin’s outfits, he is mostly indifferent to fashion, Mr. Franquinha said, equally happy in a Giants T-shirt, a red hoodie or a dapper baseball cap. Ms. Shields, who designs children’s apparel, modifies outfits meant for dogs. The costumes are also functional because a pig’s skin is sensitive to cold and can be sunburned.

When Ms. Shields and Mr. Franquinha leave Franklin home alone, they tune the television to Animal Planet while he sacks out on the couch. Another program he “likes,” listed on his Facebook page, is “Modern Family.” “Franklin appreciates the unconventional aspect of it,” Mr. Franquinha said. “I don’t know if he’ll ever be evolved enough to Tweet — or oink. We’ll leave it at Facebook at this point.”

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2 Arrests in Death of Man Found in Chelsea Apartment

Two suspects in the death of a Chelsea man found bound and gagged in his apartment two weeks ago were arrested in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday and brought back to New York about 9 p.m. Saturday night, the police said.

They have both been charged with second-degree murder.

The suspects, Edwin Faulkner, 30, and Juan Carlos Martinez-Herrera, 26, were taken into custody after the New York Police Department’s Violent Felony Squad, the Manhattan South Homicide Squad and 10th Precinct detectives traveled to Florida. There, with the help of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, they arrested the two men at about 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

Earlier in the investigation, the police had said they were seeking to question an unidentified man who was caught on camera attempting to use the victim’s bank card at an A.T.M. It appeared that the unidentified man was one of the two suspects arrested in Florida, the police said.

The victim, John Robert Laubach, 57, was found in his fourth-floor apartment, at 212 West 22nd Street, on March 2 by a concerned friend. Duct tape had been used to cover his mouth and to bind his hands and feet, the authorities said. Emergency medical personnel pronounced him dead on arrival.

The apartment had been ransacked, but it appeared there had been no forced entry and that Mr. Laubach might have invited the men in, the police said. Mr. Laubach had been known as a friendly man who would often be seen around his Manhattan neighborhood carrying a pet cockatoo on his shoulder.

The authorities confirmed that both Mr. Faulkner and Mr. Martinez-Herrera had criminal histories.

According to court records, Mr. Faulkner was arrested in New York in 2008 and later convicted of attempted grand larceny in the third degree and given a sentence of one and a half to three years. He was released on parole in November.

He had also been convicted in 2003 of receiving stolen property in Hudson County, N.J., and sentenced to two years’ probation.

Mr. Martinez-Herrera had a criminal record in Florida, the police said.

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Scores Arrested as the Police Clear Zuccotti Park

1:09 a.m. | Updated Scores of Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested on Saturday night as police officers swept Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan and closed it.

Dozens of demonstrators sat down and locked arms as officers moved in about 11:30 p.m. The protesters chanted “we are not afraid” as the police began pulling people from the crowd, one by one, and leading them out of the park in handcuffs.

The operation occurred after hundreds of people had gathered in the financial district to observe the founding of Occupy Wall Street six months ago. Earlier, protesters had embarked upon a winding march, after which police officers made initial arrests of about a dozen people near the park.

By 11:30 p.m., as police officers massed on Broadway, a commander announced that the park was closed. Those inside shouted back that the park was obliged through an agreement with the city to remain open. The commander then announced that anyone who remained inside would be arrested and charged with trespassing.

After clearing the park, police officers and private security guards began placing a ring of metal barricades on the park’s perimeter, as those who had been arrested were placed inside a city bus.

At one point, a woman who appeared to be suffering from seizures flopped on the ground in handcuffs as bystanders shouted for the police to remove the cuffs and provide medical attention.

For several minutes the woman lay on the ground as onlookers made increasingly agonized demands. Eventually, an ambulance arrived and the woman was placed inside.

By 12:20 a.m., a line of police officers pushed against some of the remaining protesters, forcing them south on Broadway, at times swinging batons and shoving people to the ground.

Kobi Skolnick, 30, said that officers pushed him in several directions and that as he tried t0 walk away, he was struck from behind in the neck. “One of the police ran and hit me with a baton,” he said.

At the beginning of the afternoon, as protesters gathered under blue skies while carrying banners and signs, the day was in some ways reminiscent of the first time the Occupy protesters gathered in mid-September.

Just after 1 p.m., brandishing placards with messages like “Take back government from corporations,” the crowd left Zuccotti Park headed south on Broadway, chanting the now familiar slogan “We are the 99 percent.”

When the first protesters set foot in the financial district six months ago, few people imagined what would follow, including a two-month encampment in Lower Manhattan, similar camps in cities across the country and critiques of corporate greed becoming part of the national dialogue.

The movement was mainly quiet during the winter, but organizers said they were aiming for a springtime resurgence.

“It’s just a reminder that we’re here,” Brendan Burke said, as the crowd marched past the New York Stock Exchange. “It’s an opportunity to remind Wall Street that we aren’t going anywhere.”

In several respects, the march on Saturday was similar to the inaugural one. The crowd was on the small side but spirited and marched past the bronze sculpture of a bull at Bowling Green, which had served as a mustering spot for the first march. The marchers were accompanied by police officers on foot and on scooters who at one point blocked access to Wall Street, just as they did on Sept. 17.

And, as they did that day, the marchers made sudden turns that appeared to surprise the police and walked along Wall Street for at least a brief time.

At one point, several demonstrators stood on the steep steps of Federal Hall and chanted “1-2-3-4, I declare class war.”

Later, members of the group ignored orders from the police to remain on sidewalks and flowed onto parts of Exchange Place and Beaver Street. Later, on Broad Street, a deputy inspector turned to a sergeant and said, “We got to start collaring some.”

For the next 30 minutes or so, things remained calm as marchers stuck to the sidewalks and entered Zuccotti Park.

But then, just after 2 p.m., police officers began telling a large group of protesters that they could not stand on the sidewalk on a stretch of Liberty Street. Officers pushed the crowd until more than 100 protesters on the sidewalk were pressed against a wall that borders the park.

Then the police began grabbing and arresting people, taking into custody at least half a dozen. Officers surged into the crowd, dragging protesters toward the street, as people yelled objections.

“They were grabbing people randomly,” Zachary Kamel said, adding that his girlfriend, Lauren DiGoia, had been arrested while dancing on the sidewalk.

One sergeant grabbed a woman wearing a green shirt by the bottom of her throat and shoved her head against the hood of a car. A moment later, another officer approached and forcefully pressed her head against the car before placing her into the back of a police truck.

Over the next few hours, protesters conducted meetings inside Zuccotti Park and held a dance party fueled by a saxophone and a battery of drums. Sporadic moments of tension also arose.

At one point, the police arrested a handful of protesters on Cedar Street near Trinity Place. A few moments later, near Cedar Street and Broadway, a police captain pushed a man by the shoulders for almost a block, then released him when a crowd loudly demanded to know whether the man was under arrest.

The man, Charlie Gonzalez, 31, said that the captain had told him he was not permitted to stand on the sidewalk.

About an hour later, the same captain pushed another man several hundred feet east down Cedar Street, about a block from Zuccotti Park, and briefly detained him there.

That man, Yoni Miller, 19, said he was counting officers standing in rows near Broadway when the captain forced him to walk around a corner onto Cedar Street, then asked him if he was a terrorist or was planning any crimes.

Paul Moore, 25, said that he was videotaping the encounter when the captain asked him for identification and began pushing him away, telling him he was not permitted to document what was happening.

After nightfall, the number of people inside the park swelled to more than 500.

About 10 p.m., some of those in the park began a regimen of running and dancing that they called “spring training,” which they said was meant to prepare for coming demonstrations.

At 10:30, protesters sprung up a green tarp, folded over a piece of rope suspended from two trees near the center of Zuccotti Park. Security and police officers looked on from the perimeter.

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Arrests as Occupy Wall Street Protesters Mark Six-Month Anniversary

As hundreds of people gathered in the financial district on Saturday to mark the six-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, protesters embarked upon a winding march and police officers made about a dozen arrests near Zuccotti Park.

At the beginning of the afternoon, as protesters gathered under blue skies while carrying banners and signs, the day was in some ways reminiscent of the first time the Occupy protesters gathered in mid-September.

Just after 1 p.m., brandishing placards with messages like “Take back government from corporations,” the crowd left Zuccotti Park headed south on Broadway, chanting the now familiar slogan: “We are the 99 percent.”

When the first protesters set foot in the financial district six months ago, few people imagined what would follow, including a two-month encampment in Lower Manhattan, similar camps in cities across the country and critiques of corporate greed becoming part of the national dialogue.

The movement was mainly quiet during the winter, but organizers said they were aiming for a springtime resurgence.

“It’s just a reminder that we’re here,” Brendan Burke said, as the crowd marched past the New York Stock Exchange. “It’s an opportunity to remind Wall Street that we aren’t going anywhere.”

In several respects, the march on Saturday was similar to the inaugural one. The crowd was on the small side but spirited and marched past the bronze sculpture of a bull at Bowling Green, which had served as a mustering spot for the first march. The marchers were accompanied by police officers on foot and on scooters who at one point blocked access to Wall Street, just as they did on Sept. 17.

And, as they did that day, the marchers made sudden turns that appeared to surprise the police and walked along Wall Street for at least a brief time.

At one point, several demonstrators stood on the steep steps of Federal Hall and chanted: “1-2-3-4, I declare class war.”

Later, members of the group ignored directives from the police to remain on sidewalks and flowed onto parts of Exchange Place and Beaver Street. Later, on Broad Street, a deputy inspector turned to a sergeant and said: “We got to start collaring some.”

For the next 30 minutes or so, things remained calm as marchers stuck to the sidewalks and entered Zuccotti Park.

But then, just after 2 p.m., police officers began telling a large group of protesters that they could not stand on the sidewalk on a stretch of Liberty Street. Officers pushed the crowd until more than 100 protesters on the sidewalk were pressed against a wall that borders the park.

Then the police began grabbing and arresting people, taking into custody at least half a dozen. Officers surged into the crowd, dragging protesters toward the street, as people yelled objections.

“They were grabbing people randomly,” Zachary Kamel said, adding that his girlfriend, Lauren DiGoia, had been arrested while dancing on the sidewalk.

One sergeant grabbed a woman wearing a green shirt by the bottom of her throat and shoved her head against the hood of a car. A moment later, another officer approached and forcefully pressed her head against the car before placing her into the back of a police truck.

Over the next few hours, protesters conducted meetings inside Zuccotti Park and held a dance party fueled by a saxophone and a battery of drums. Sporadic moments of tension also arose.

At one point, the police arrested a handful of protesters on Cedar Street near Trinity Place. A few moments later, near Cedar Street and Broadway, a police captain pushed a man by the shoulders for almost a block, then released him when a crowd loudly demanded to know whether the man was under arrest.

The man, Charlie Gonzalez, 31, said that the captain had told him he was not permitted to stand on the sidewalk.

About an hour later, the same captain pushed another man several hundred feet east down Cedar Street, about a block from Zuccotti Park, and briefly detained him there.

That man, Yoni Miller, 19, said he was counting officers standing in rows near Broadway when the captain forced him to walk around a corner onto Cedar Street, then asked him if he was a terrorist or was planning any crimes.

Paul Moore, 25, said that he followed and was videotaping the encounter when the captain asked him for identification and began pushing him away, telling him he was not permitted to document what was happening.

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Staten Island Man Is Fatally Stabbed While Celebrating His Engagement

Antonio Lacertosa had wanted to see what was going on when an argument broke out outside a restaurant on Staten Island where he and his fiancée were celebrating their recent engagement with friends and relatives early Saturday, one of his sisters said.

But just after the 27-year-old bridegroom-to-be stepped outside, a man with a knife suddenly emerged from the restaurant and plunged the weapon into Mr. Lacertosa’s torso, fatally wounding him.

“He had everything,” Antonia Lacertosa, 29, said of her slain brother as people gathered at the family’s home in the Princes Bay neighborhood on Saturday afternoon. “He would have made a great father.”

It was just after 2 a.m., the police said, when the violence erupted outside the España Restaurant, at 833 Annadale Road. Details about what led to the killing and how it unfolded were still being gathered by investigators.

A law enforcement official, citing preliminary accounts, said it appeared that Mr. Lacertosa had gone outside the restaurant, where he got into a confrontation with a man who was possibly an employee of the restaurant.

That man then “goes back into the place and gets a knife and stabs him,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was continuing.

Ms. Lacertosa said that her brother, a union bricklayer who was one of eight children, was not part of the initial argument, which she described as “a couple of words thrown back and forth.”

It was not known what the argument was about, the police said. The engagement party had apparently shifted to the restaurant after beginning at another spot.

“All I know is that after it was said and done, he walked outside and that is when he was stabbed,” said Ms. Lacertosa, who added that she had left the restaurant a few minutes before the killing, though some of her other siblings as well as her brother’s fiancée were still present.

A man “came outside and started talking loud and then hit my older brother,” she said. “Then a group of people got rowdy.” When that was over, she said, Mr. Lacertosa went outside and “what happened had ended and the guy came out of the kitchen and stabbed him.”

Paramedics took Mr. Lacertosa to Staten Island University Hospital, where the police said he was declared dead.

By late Saturday afternoon, detectives from the Main Street station house in Tottenville had not made an arrest in the case. Ms. Lacertosa said she believed a manager of España was assisting the police. No one answered the phone at the restaurant on Saturday evening.

“No one would ever say anything bad about my brother. He was the greatest,” she said, noting that he was to be married in the coming year.

“He was a great brother, son, uncle, friend,” she said. “He was big, and muscular, but he was a teddy bear.”

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