Real-life super heroes prowl New York streets helping the homeless

BY Simone Weichselbaum


Spiderman has his web and Superman has X-ray vision, but New York‘s real life superheroes just have some sandwiches – and a whole lotta heart.

Costumed street watchers “Life,” “Dark Guardian” and a slew of other comic-bookish men and women patrol the city chatting up people of the night.

Even though cops argue superheroes belong in the movies and not on the streets, “Life” and his odd-looking crew hand out food to the homeless and assure the mentally ill they still matter in a town famous for its arrogance.

“I am selfish, it makes me feel good” said Chaim “Life” Lazaros, 24, a Columbia University film student who co-founded Superheroes Anonymous – a support network that started off as folks connecting on MySpace.

At midnight Thursday, a dozen of the New York contingent will celebrate the group’s second anniversary by taking a plane down to New Orleans.

Big Easy Mayor Ray Nagin will dub Oct. 13 “Day of the Superheroes,” inviting similar-minded caped crusaders from across the U.S. to promote peace and love, a mayoral spokeswoman said.

Still, New York cops weren’t too thrilled to hear about men in tights walking around looking for trouble.

An officer who recently went on patrol with “Life” in Morningside Heights watched as thankful homeless took snacks from the superhero but worried that the masked man couldn’t protect himself, or anyone, from real danger.

“A lot of people were laughing at him,” the officer said. “His only real weapon is a cell phone with 911 on speed dial.”

Batman didn’t need Gotham’s Finest for back up, and real life superheroes argue they have the right to watch the streets without ticking off cops, too.

“They should be happy we are out there,” said Chris “Dark Guardian” Pollak, 24, a Staten Island martial arts teacher by day.

“We expect people to report crime to the police and not put themselves in jeopardy,” NYPD spokesman Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said.

“We are not doing their job. We are helping them do their job,” he said.

Fans agree: A homeless woman sleeping on a Riverside Drive bench early Tuesday woke up to a pile of snacks left by “Life” and his posse.

“They are going to be blessed,” she said.

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