“Let me show you something,” says Legend. “Babies are so cool.” He takes the bottle away for a second and touches Xavier’s dimpled chin. Xavier’s mouth magically pops open. “When they feel pressure there, they think it’s the bottle or the nipple,” Legend says as he reinserts the bottle.
We watch the baby feed for a moment. “This makes me think of my twins, Romeo and Caesar.” This catches me by surprise; Legend hadn’t mentioned he had children before.
“They’re 6. They live in Sheepshead Bay, but I don’t see them that much. Soon, I can start training them, if their mom lets me.”
He tells me the Spartans are in a state of flux. The NYPD precinct captain came out this week and reiterated that any more sparring would result in arrests. “We’ll move to Tompkins Square or somewhere else,” insists Legend. “Or get a permit.” But Union Square will always be base camp, he maintains. “We’re always going to be here. We’re always going to be the Union Square Spartans.”
I ask him about the supposed interest of ESPN in making some sort of deal with the Spartans. Legend ducks the question, but I find out later from Science that that was just a freelance promoter/huckster passing through the square and talking big. They never heard from him again. Still, Legend insists, other things are happening. He says a Staten Island fight club called the Greens saw video of the Spartans and have invited them out to Staten Island for a battle. “I watched some of those dudes fight,” Legend says. “They suck. We can take them all. This is just the start. This time next year, we’re going to have two gyms. One for training, one for us just to hang out.”
It’s not at all clear where they’d get the money, but that’s only one of the Spartans’ problems. In a few weeks, Legend will get picked up by the police for passing out on a Union Square bench and be hauled down to Centre Street on vagrancy charges. In the course of trying to find him again, I will find out that his real name is Glen Williams.
Tonight, Legend laughs when Xavier spits up on him and then hands the baby off to Strawberry. He looks out at Union Square. It’s the same scene as most nights. A man walks around with a sign that reads FREE HUGS, a New Orleans Dixieland band plays out of tune, and cabbies ride their horns. Legend gives a little wince.
“I love it here, but man, if we could get out, that would be great, too.”