Empire State Building killer Jeffrey Johnson was a man of strict routine who drew fantasy pictures of fast cars and sexy women as he stewed silently about losing his job about two years ago at Hazan Import Corp.
Every morning, he put on a tan suit with brown shoes and stepped out of the apartment he had sublet since 2009 in a co-op at 214 E. 82nd St.
“He’d come down, say, ‘Hello, Bill,’ and go to McDonald’s,” recounted his super, Guillermo Suarez.
“About 20 minutes to a half-hour later, he’d come back with a McDonald’s bag, and of course his newspaper,” Suarez said. “He’d go upstairs and I wouldn’t see him for the rest of the day.”
Even yesterday, it was the same routine — but with one difference. “He didn’t come back,” Suarez said.
Johnson, 58, was so quiet, no one could say why he feuded with Steve Ercolino, a former Hazan colleague.
And he was such a neat freak, he vacuumed his apartment daily, said neighbors.
But within his tidy, self-structured life, Johnson’s imagination ran wild.
He filled a Web site with elaborate, curvy fantasy paintings of aircraft, cars, motorcycles and sexy babes that might have been drawn by a talented high-school boy.
One picture of a woman next to a motorcycle is accompanied by an essay extolling her beauty.
“Wearing an emerald green ‘old-man tank top’ over skin-tight jeans, she dressed and moved with confident assurance . . . Her blond tresses fell just below the taut line of her shoulders and was being teased by a sea breeze.”
His colors, he wrote, were inspired by Florida sunsets he came to know in the armed services.
With a picture of a Coast Guard rescue helicopter, Johnson wrote of how much he admired the aviation electrician who helped maintain it.
“He never saluted officers, shined his boots, or stood . . . inspections,” Johnson wrote.
“What he did was tirelessly work at being a better aviation electrician and crewman. Relentlessly focused on how to get the job done in the best way, he never slacked off.”
He also painted a fighter jet. “Having an F-4 to play with would be the ultimate fantasy in my life,” he wrote. “Even doing pre-flights [inspections] would be a rush.”
He fantasized about using the jet for aerial photography or courier work.
Johnson drew Ford Mustangs, ’57 Chevys and other cars he recalled from his childhood and teen years.
He also drew a three-masted pirate ship with a buxom woman in front.
It has this caption: “Wading into the warm summer ocean along Sarasota Bay, she glanced back at me before confidently swimming out to the pirate ship.”
Johnson learned much of his style between 1978 and 1980 at the Ringling College of Art and Design, an art school in Sarasota, Fla., which was founded by circus magnate John Ringling and offers four-year fine-arts degrees.
His Web site mentions a friend named Lisa and includes her colorful paintings of sunsets and scenery in California and Hawaii.
But neighbors said he shared his apartment with a cat and no one else.
“He was so lonely. I’d never see him with anybody,” said Gisela Castella, who’s lived in the building since the 1960s.
Johnson set up the Web site last October.
He said printouts of his pictures were for sale and offered elaborate instructions on how to apply them to T-shirts.
But oddly, the Web site doesn’t offer visitors any direct way to pay for them.
And to potential employers, the site evidently wasn’t working as a calling card for his talents — he was still out of work.
A neighbor who said she works in the fashion and design industry said she’d seen his résumé — and remarked that not only was his demand for a $90,000 salary too high, but his art was “cartoonish.”
– NY Post