He is Detective Rick Lee, 51, who became an internet sensation as the nattily attired plain clothes detective assigned to patrol the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in Manhattan in 2011.
On Friday, the Hipster Cop became a hipster civilian, as Detective Lee officially retired fromthe department after a 25-year career.
While he may become plain old Mr. Lee, he expects that his nickname will not be retired along with him.
Even after his fame subsided after the 2011 protests ended, Mr. Lee has been regularly recognized, usually by younger people who tend to follow social media.
“It’s definitely the Twitter, Facebook crowd, people who live their lives online.” Continuereading the main story Mr. Lee gained the hipster moniker on blogs and social media for his debonair style in the middle of the chaotic weeks of protests, mostly around a makeshift camp set up in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan.
Detective Lee developed his fashion sense when he was a teenager.
A slim man with a shaggy-chic hairstyle and cool-nerd eyeglasses, Mr. Lee stood out at Zuccotti Park, which was then dominated by demonstrators in casual or rumpled clothingand police officers in blue uniforms.
“How I dressed knocked a lot of walls down, and people found me more approachable,” said Mr. Lee, who as a plainclothes detective followed a longstanding department traditionof sharply dressed detectives but “Updated it” with certain twists, he said.
Detective Lee rose to prominence at Zuccotti Park, where he served as an affable but firm intermediary between Occupy Wall Street protesters and police officials.
Credit Robert Stolarik for The New York Times He said he always found the term hipster, inits contemporary meaning, imprecisely applied to him, as if lumping him in with “Beardeddudes in Williamsburg with flannel shirts and construction boots.” But in the classic sense ofthe term, it did apply because “a hipster in its purest form is someone who dresses out ofthe norm,” added Mr. Lee, who lives on Staten Island.
In the weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, Mr. Lee worked atground zero with officials from the city’s Office of the Medical Examiner identifying and processing recovered human remains.
Credit Dave Sanders for The New York Times Regarding the demonstrators, Mr. Lee said, “I became friends with a lot of them, just seeing them every day.” Often his message was “Let’s work this out before the guys with the hats and bats come in,” he recalled.
Mr. Lee, who is single, said he would use his retirement to enjoy his Shetland sheepdog, his two nieces and a nephew.
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