View Full Version : Graffiti

August 26th, 2003, 07:44 AM
we need help !!
we are arriving on 9 september to nyc from barcelona, spain, we want to do a graffitti in Ny, doesent matter the place
we have two questions:
where can we buy spray paints ?
where can we garff ? better a legal wall, where they are ?
someone can help us or come with us to graff togheter, we also speak spanish
we have graffitis in barcelona and in warsaw too, we have some photos of them
we will be very thakfull for your help !!
Balboa & Ware

August 26th, 2003, 09:27 AM
The Lower East Side is one neighborhood that has really embraced "graffitti art". *Ifyou want to create something that will remain for a period oft ime and have a serious design, I suggest you find your way into the community gardens. *I think any number of them would offer you a substantial wall to create a well thought out design. *I'm assuming you're not looking to simply do an elaborate tag.

August 26th, 2003, 09:44 AM
thank you very much for your suggestion, but I'm sorry, i do not understand what does it means community garden... with who may I speak ? we try to do something elaborated and our dream is to do this in NY, please a bit more information...

August 26th, 2003, 06:04 PM
There are community gardens in many areas around NYC. More so in poorer, or once poor, areas where the vacant lots are turned into gardens maintained by the community.


There used to be a place to do graffiti - like a museum or center - in Queens called Phun Factory, but I couldn't find a website. *Might want to try there, too.

It might be tougher than you think. *Graffiti is being cracked down on heavily in NYC right now. *Everyone is tired of it, really. *Good luck. *Welcome to NYC. *Enjoy your vacation. *Please, do more than just tag up!

August 27th, 2003, 04:12 AM
thank you very much billyblancoNYC !!

January 12th, 2004, 04:42 PM
Graffiti 2004 (http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/feature-commentary/20040112/202/832)

January 31st, 2004, 03:35 AM
Graffiti Wall of Fame, East Harlem:





March 10th, 2004, 07:52 AM
March 10, 2004


Michelangelo Did Ceilings. He Does Walls.


HE did that tire shop, that mattress place and that pizzeria. He did that auto parts store, that police-equipment store and that funeral home. He did it all: inside buildings, outside buildings and on the sides of so many subway cars slithering through the city.

"I painted everywhere," he says, looking out upon the Bronx through a car's rain-spattered window. "Every five feet was a Tracy."

As he points from the passenger seat to the corners he has claimed on the urban canvas, the man known as Tracy 168, or Wild Style - or, simply, Michael Tracy - riffs on his life as an artist from the streets, spicing his grumbling singsong of prayer and epithet with stories of fistfights, hardships and premature death.

I jumped off that bridge one time when I was getting chased. {hellip} I lived there, and there, and there. ... I used to jump from the roof onto the fire escape to get into my apartment. I didn't have a key. I don't believe in keys. {hellip} Make a U-turn here. {hellip}

If graffiti is the artistic equivalent of jazz, then Michael Tracy may very well be an Armstrong. He was among a small band of innovators in the late 1960's and early 1970's who began to adorn New York with bubble letters, cartoon characters and psychedelic images that hissed from spray-paint cans. Many of those stylists have cashed in, moved on or died off, but Tracy 168 is still out there: white-haired, spraying paint.

At 46, he is a minor cult figure in demand, his work acquired by museums and commissioned by skateboard companies, fashion designers and magazines. But he also tries hard to maintain his credibility as a street kid who refuses to forget the Harlem and Bronx neighborhoods of his youth. The many jobs he has held do not just support his art, he says, they are part of his art.

"I told this boss one time, 'You fire me, and I'll punch you in the face,' " he says. " 'You're terminated,' he tells me. 'O.K.,' I says. 'As long as you didn't fire me.'

"Tracy humor."

He writes notes to himself on the back of his left hand. He wears three wristwatches, with only one telling the correct time. The other two are set five minutes fast and two minutes fast, he says, "so that I'm ahead of death."

He often ends his stories with "next," and sometimes plants false details - what he calls "giraffes" or "elephants" - into his tales to test the integrity of his listeners. He speaks with a dems-and-dose inflection that eases when he begins to discuss his work. It is then that he reveals the deepness of thought behind everything he paints; the whirring and blurring of influences that range from the Bible to Hanna-Barbera.

As the car idles at the corner of Arthur Avenue and East Fordham Road, he points to another of his murals, one done years ago for an auto parts store - and, he says, to beautify the neighborhood. It shows Fred Flintstone, Wilma, Pebbles and the Rubbles, all in one Stone Age car. Car, auto parts store, got it.

Actually, Mr. Tracy says, it is about family.

"Family is important," he says. "It's a family picture. You've got the husband, the wife, the kid and the happy neighbors."

As for that man-sized TRACY 168 he recently painted in Queens - visible from the No. 7 train - he says the meaning is simple: "I'm still here."

HE does not paint blood or guns; there is no glorifying violence. His focus, he says, is in lifting the human spirit of the city, particularly in the wake of Sept. 11. On the metal grates of the Brother's police-equipment store on Webster Avenue, for example, he painted the World Trade Center towers, a police helicopter, a police car and a street sign shaped like a Celtic cross.

After the 9/11 catastrophe, which occurred two years after the death of his mother, he lived out of his car for a while. The truth, he says. No giraffe.

"This is what I learned," he says. "I live here. I live in the moment."

Night has come to the Bronx in the rain. The car's headlights shine on a panoramic mural adorning the R. G. Ortiz Funeral Home on the Grand Concourse. It shows a heavenlike paradise of lush trees and water that seems an extension of Poe Park across the street.

It reminds him of his mother, and maybe of the victims of 9/11, but not of his own mortality. His three watches are mere fashion accessories, Tracy 168 says, because he does not expect to die.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

March 27th, 2004, 10:52 PM
March 28, 2004

'I Wanted My Name to Travel Everywhere'

By BG183

BG183, known more formally as Sotero Ortiz, painted graffiti on hundreds of subway cars in the 1980's. He stopped in 1986 and now works commercially.

THE first time was like, "Yo, man, I'm crazy or something! I'm painting a train!'' It was a rush, doing something illegal. But then you're disappointed because you don't see your name on a moving train. You had to do a lot of damage before you saw your name.

There were so many trains it took me almost two months before I saw my name, and I was painting 50 to 100 cars a day, painting BG, BG, BG, over and over again. I wanted my name to travel everywhere, for everyone to see it. So I painted, first in black. Then I filled the letters with colors. After a few months, people started asking me: "Are you BG? Man, you're doing a lot of destruction!'' I was proud. I got respect.

We were painting together, calling ourselves the TATS Cru, for Top Artists Talents. From one end to the other, the train became one big graffiti. In the TATS Cru were Bio, Nicer, Cem2, Kenn, Mack, Brim, Raz and myself. We did so much damage, we were in the M.T.A.'s 10 most wanted.

In the beginning we hit the trains that were close to the Bronx, the number trains. Then we discovered the ghost yard up in Manhattan where trains went for repair. All the trains were there, including the letter trains. We snuck in through the back and painted all day. A train might wait a week before it got repaired, so we had time. We could hit 200 trains a day. We took turns to look out for officials or other graffiti artists who might paint over us.

Sometimes we ran because a repairman saw us; we'd hide for a while, then return. Or we fought with the other graffiti guys, stealing their paint and their sneakers. We had policemen yell, "Stop or I'll shoot,'' which makes you run even faster. We never got caught.

At the ghost yard we explored new styles, and we also painted characters. I started to be called BG 183 because I had 183 different styles. We did a lot of exploring, like real artists. Graffiti is about how you take a B and change it so much it doesn't look like a B but it's still shaped like a B. Then it's the colors, and the control of the spray can. I was able not to drip, to fill the letters right, to mix colors so people would say, "Wow, that's incredible.''

Now the TATS Cru does all legal work and we make a living. Today everybody uses graffiti style, from DKNY to Adidas to Versace. If not for the M.T.A. I'd probably be in jail or on drugs. Painting trains helped me find myself as a person, as an artist. I'm all about graffiti. It's my life.

As told to Franklin Servan-Schreiber

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

May 9th, 2004, 05:33 AM
May 9, 2004


Painting the Town Red, Blue, Pink


WHEN Peter Sutherland, a young photographer and documentary filmmaker, decided to create a portrait series of New York's graffiti writers, he had first to find them.

The people who, depending on your point of view, despoil or enhance the city's public spaces with felt-tip marker and spray paint, are of necessity a shy and mostly nocturnal species. Their activity is illegal and increasingly subject to arrest and prosecution by the city, which sees graffiti not only as vandalism but as creating the sort of disorderly environment that Mayor Bloomberg calls "an invitation for criminal behavior."

Mr. Sutherland ultimately succeeded in finding and photographing more than 50 writers, most of them in disguise. The work has been collected in a new book called "Autograf: New York City's Graffiti Writers,'' published this month by powerHouse Books. Among his subjects are some of the most prominent members of this underground community - known by their graffiti names, or tags, like Stay High 149, Claw, Revs and UFO.

A number of those portrayed in the book agreed to be interviewed about their peculiar calling. Here are excerpts from some of those conversations. (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2004/05/08/nyregion/20040509_GRAF_SLIDESHOW_1.html)

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

May 16th, 2004, 09:26 AM
This article drove me so nuts I was prompted to write a letter to the City Section. (It was cut down a bit and published -- next to another that defended grafitti -- in the May 16th paper.)


To Whom it May Concern at the City Section:

May 9th's article on graffiti writers ("Painting the Town Red, Blue, Pink...") encourages a form of vandalism that is a scourge on NYC. According to the article's author, "The people who, depending on your point of view, despoil or enhance the city's public spaces" are "shy." Some of the "most prominent members" of this community are interviewed, along with their ugly handiwork.

Would your newspaper be quick to publish interviews with these vandals if their destructive energies were loosed on the Times headquarters?

Few New Yorkers think pens and spray paint enhance their neighborhoods. Graffiti is a filthy, destructive habit that takes the luster off this jewel of a city. Please do not publish articles that encourage it.

May 16th, 2004, 11:07 AM
The Graffiti problem has been something that NYC has had to contend with now for 30 years. I don’t think any other social problem aside than urban decay has affected and touched NYers more than this subject. Everyone has an opinion on it! Like it or not respect or despise it’s here and will not go away! Like the MTA did 15 year ago you can curb it but cannot negate it like a weed in your lawn it will always put up if not maintained.

It sure costs to counter attack this social problem right out of tax payers pocket’s but the alternative to not doing it IS???.Subway cars from the 80’s!!!!

Like the war on terrorism which is now a way of life, the principle behind this social movement is the same. Preventive maintenance but you cannot eradicate it!

May 17th, 2004, 04:59 PM
Grafitti is simply the youth trying to make their mark.

Just like a dog or cat will leave their mark or scent on something, so will man. Bears do it, wolves, tigers, cats, dogs, almost ANY territorial pack or other animal does it in some way or another.

When kids are in school, they doodle on the desks and lockers, they do it EVERYWHERE.

Thing is, it seems to amplify in areas where kids do not have any other method of expression. In the suburbs, kids eventually find some other venue to express, or just plain be heard. In the city, these kids go nowhere.

We have to find out more about WHY these kids keep going to find a way to stop it.

As for some of the art, I think it is good in some areas, or on things like plain white box-cars. But the grafitti-names are rather narcissistic(sp) and don't add much of anything.

It doubly irks me when some of these guys can't even respect someone that has done something more complicated than a name scrawl and decide to paint ocer it with their markings.

I don't know......

May 18th, 2004, 01:21 AM
This is a crime, plain and simple. Why is every piece of shit romanticized now. It's not expression, it's vandalism. Just think how you would like it if some punk spray painted your home. I actually felt bad when in Europe that my city is the "home" of this mess that has spread across the globe.

Maybe if commisioned, it would be somewhat ok, as far as the ghetto-ization of america is increasingly ok, but 99% of this is disrespectful and disgusting. I can't stand to see it. Nothing can be nice with these little punks. Look at the friggin' BQE. It's no where near complete and it looks like a war zone. I would love to see these people punished for all the shit that they spray.

May 19th, 2004, 04:42 PM
So maybe the wall murals should not be classified as the same thing as Grafitti?

May 20th, 2004, 09:53 PM
Indeed. This has some artistic significance.

June 6th, 2004, 10:50 PM
June 6, 2004


At a Wall That Invited Graffiti, Everyone's an Art Critic


With signed limited-edition prints by the artists Roy Lichtenstein, Erté and Steve Kaufman hanging on its walls, the Mill Basin Delicatessen in Brooklyn is hardly your typical sandwich shop.

So when the police caught local teenagers spraying graffiti on a nearby plywood construction fence a few weeks ago, the owner of the shop and the 116-foot fence, Mark Schachner, made an atypical decision: Rather than press charges against the offenders, he put up a sign inviting others to paint freely, without fear of punishment.

Mr. Schachner, who also owns an art gallery nearby, calls the result vibrant street art. Some of his neighbors are much less complimentary.

Carla Goodman, who lives near the deli, which is at 5823 Avenue T, said on Tuesday that offensive words had sometimes been painted on the wall, and that young painters had caused disturbances late at night or at times they should have been in school. "This is not what we're used to," she said. "We're used to a very quiet residential area."

Mr. Schachner, meanwhile, said last week that in response to neighborhood pressure, he would ask graffiti writers to stop the painting, against his better judgment. "I thought it was beautiful and nice," he said, "and then everyone became an art critic." On Thursday, Mr. Schachner said he had received an offer from a Florida collector who wanted to buy part of the wall.

Outside, a veteran graffiti writer who paints under the name Hef1 said on Tuesday that he had read about the wall in a local newspaper. (An article about the wall was published on May 24 in The Brooklyn Skyline, a weekly.) He had made the trip from East Williamsburg, he said, to show people what good, careful graffiti writing looks like.

Nearby, two 19-year-old artists were putting the finishing touches on a sprawling collage of words and names rendered in bright-colored spray paint. "This is basically what it would look like if graffiti writers had time to do what they wanted to do without being chased by the cops," said one, who goes by the name Ranz.

His friend agreed: "This is what graffiti would be if it wasn't illegal."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

June 7th, 2004, 11:17 AM
Yeah, if it wasn't illegal, it would be like this everywhere!!!

BS guys, if you know what you are doing is wrong, DON'T DO IT!

You are EXTREMELY naieve to believe that making it legal would put a stop to the one-color name painters. It would also RUIN a lot of GOOD architecture, since the motivation has always been to go where you are not allowed to.

So whatever. If someone allows you to paint on their wall, go to it. Otherwise keep your cans to yourself.

June 7th, 2004, 02:39 PM
I don't know about making it legal as much as dedicating spaces to the creation of this art form. The lower east side used to have some of the most amazing murals by "graffiti" artists. Dedicated spaces and well planned murals can greatly enhance a neighborhood.

June 7th, 2004, 02:49 PM
I don't know about making it legal as much as dedicating spaces to the creation of this art form. The lower east side used to have some of the most amazing murals by "graffiti" artists. Dedicated spaces and well planned murals can greatly enhance a neighborhood.

Planned murals are fine, but that is not really grafitti.

grafitti is the marking of territory, usually performed by youth. Whether it be a tree (Bobby -heart- Cindy) or on a desk, on a locker OR on a boxcar (Neidz, John, J-Man, whatever) or wall, it is the human version of pissing on a tree so that all others that come to sniff it recognise it.

We even do it nowadays on things like websites. Leave your mark.

So the form of expression is now acnowledged, but the roots are still undesirable....

June 7th, 2004, 02:51 PM
I think that there should be a 'Wall Park' somewhere. That way people can go there and paint the walls with their art and it will become a tourist destination. :P

June 7th, 2004, 02:57 PM
We should distinguish between tagging and graffiti.

TLOZ Link5
June 10th, 2004, 02:01 PM
We should distinguish between tagging and graffiti.

Tagging is just as nasty, as is etching. A lot of the new Division-A subway cars are already showing some scars.

June 10th, 2004, 03:37 PM
Have any of you found bars with great bathroom grafitti? The best I've seen is at Baramundi on Ludlow Street.

June 10th, 2004, 03:50 PM
CBGB would be the milestone against which all others wuld be judged.

June 10th, 2004, 03:54 PM
I hate it when the scratch the windows on subways with tags. They look so ugly and awful. They have to replace every window.

When I was in Queens in the 80's in middle school I had a tag name. But I only wrote it on notebooks and draw pictures. One day these two 'thugs' (classmates) came and saw my tag name and they told me that they like it and that the tag name belong it to them.

I comply of course and told them they could have it. When they left I started to write my tag name again with the drawings. How will they now I was using it again?

Later my mother will throw away my tag notebook and I never saw it again. :(

June 10th, 2004, 04:07 PM
We should distinguish between tagging and graffiti.

Tagging is just as nasty, as is etching. A lot of the new Division-A subway cars are already showing some scars.

You mean Scratch-iti?

June 10th, 2004, 05:05 PM
You can get aerosol glass etching (frosting) chemicals that eat into the surface of windows. I drips and usually looks pretty messy, but there is no buffing it out, or repainting.

An example on a storefront:

from: www.graffiti.org

June 10th, 2004, 06:08 PM
CBGB seems to be a case of quantity over quality graffiti. Anyone can write the f-word and call it a day, but it takes a true artist to scribble something that will keep you either snickering or scratching your head for the rest of the night.

While I appreciate the visual art of graffiti, I reserve my love for the literary aspect. Some of the most heart-breaking things I've ever seen were written on walls. About a year ago, when I was going through a particularly trying time in my life, I kept a written exchange with an anonymous kindred spirit on a subway service change notice.

TLOZ Link5
June 11th, 2004, 01:24 PM
You mean Scratch-iti?


June 11th, 2004, 04:10 PM
Let see if my brain works well, but wasn't there a popular inner-city movie release in the mid 80's where they show 'thugs' (or actors) painting NYC subway cars with graffiti? :?

I don't remeber the name or the actors but there was music and graffiti and dancing going on.

June 11th, 2004, 04:15 PM
Wasn't that "Beat It" with our friend and Inner City Representative MJ?

June 11th, 2004, 04:20 PM
Well.. No it wans't a music video.

I know what you are talking about...but I think that the MJ video was shot in the 'mean gang infested' streets of LA.

:o where apparantly I heard that after they film the video the gangs cut his nose with a blade...dont quote me on this one. :roll:

June 11th, 2004, 04:30 PM
http://w1.871.telia.com/~u87125667/images/beat_street.jpg (http://www.oldschoolhiphop.com/video/beatstreet.htm)

June 11th, 2004, 05:57 PM
Yes of course that's it. Thanks! :P

There were so many of them my mind was confuse with color.

This is the one with the subways that had graffiti 'thugs'. (Good art though not just tagging I am afraid)

I am having flashbacks!!! I need to rent it.

July 9th, 2004, 10:06 AM
July 9, 2004

Lawbreakers, Armed With Paint and Paste


A building at Spring and Elizabeth Streets has street art that includes Mao Zedong, a bird's head and a "Polaroid scene." The city regards all forms of street art, including stickers, paper cutouts, painting and metalwork, as vandalism.

A Street Art Tour (http://www.nytimes.com/packages/khtml/2004/07/09/nyregion/20040708_STREET_AUDIOSS.html)
Swoon, a street artist who has gained prominence around New York, guides a tour of her work.

Swoon frontloads her days with caffeine and works on her art late into the night. It can take her two weeks to produce a series of the large, intricate paper cutouts and hand-pulled block prints that have gained her considerable renown in one particular sector of the art world. When she is done - her arms aching and her clothes and skin speckled with paint and ink - she takes her pieces outside, slaps them up on old walls around the city, then disappears on her bike.

That is when her work, now left to the mercy of the elements and public taste, comes alive. "You know, it's weird, but I love it," she said. "I don't feel they need to be kept in a vault as precious art."

Swoon, 26, is a luminary in a movement known, at least among many of its proponents, as street art. Two decades after the heyday of graffiti, the spray can has given way to posters, stickers, stencils and construction tools, and the streets of New York and other cities around the world vibrate more than ever with the work - some say the destruction - of guerrilla artists like her. (Swoon is a nom de peinture; like many other artists interviewed for this article, she asked that her real name not be used for fear of prosecution because unauthorized graffiti is illegal.)

The movement is sustained and driven by Web sites, magazines, word of mouth and its practitioners' self-righteousness.

At one end of the spectrum are doodles, icons and designs, often drawn or printed on stickers, a medium that allows for pre-strike preparation at home and quick, furtive execution in public.

Others are using more complicated art techniques, such as the meticulous printing and paperwork preferred by Swoon, ceramics, lithography, silk screening, painting , leathersmithing and woodworking. Some have even used welding torches, notably the once-ubiquitous New York graffiti writer known as Revs, who has installed three-dimensional versions of his stylized name, or "tag," around the city. Darius (also known by his graffiti tag, Verbs) and Downey, a Brooklyn tandem now living in London, turn old street signs into sculptures or small billboards for provocative messages and reinstall them, often in the plain light of day. "We're using the city against itself," Downey, 23, said in a recent interview.

Any surface goes; the more visible and the less frequently buffed the better: walls, doors, the backs of stop signs, the base of light poles, utility boxes, trash bins, sidewalks, rooftops, the frames of subway car advertisements.

In New York, the streets of the Lower East Side and SoHo, Dumbo and Williamsburg are filled with fresh work. Even in the most closely policed neighborhoods, rare is the city block where some visual mischief has not been unleashed.

"Size is not what it's about," said Marc Schiller, 40, a New York marketing executive who, as a hobby, runs the Wooster Collective, a curatorial Web site for street art around the world. "It's about being clever. It's about being unique." (One unknown artist has arrayed 18 luggage locks, each decorated with a baby's picture, on a fence on Crosby Street in SoHo. Periodically the artist will rearrange the locks to make a new design.)

And while much of the work seems to be art for art's sake - or at least humor's sake - street art occasionally resonates with overt social and political commentary. In one arresting series that recently appeared (and just as quickly disappeared) in Lower Manhattan, an artist replaced the silhouetted dancers in the current iPod advertisement with silhouettes of Abu Ghraib torture victims. The tag line "10,000 songs in your pocket, Mac or PC" became "10,000 volts in your pocket, guilty or innocent."

Like any artistic movement, the origins of street art are nebulous, though it is clearly an outgrowth of the stylized graffiti writing that began in New York in the 1960's and became emblematic of hip-hop culture. According to Tristan Manco, a graphic designer in Bristol, England, and author of the street art compendium "Street Logos," the term "street art" was first used in the 1980's in reference to urban guerrilla art that was not hip-hop graffiti, and described the pioneering work of New York painters like Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf, and Parisian stencil artists like Blek and Nemo.

Street art has since spread around the world, from the East End of London to Tokyo, Moscow to Johannesburg, Melbourne, Australia, to São Paulo, Brazil. And in spite of the movement's underground nature, the work of today's most prominent street artists is increasingly sought by galleries and collectors around the world, though the pieces are not yet fetching the sums attached to the art of New York's graffiti pioneers. (Mr. Haring's chalk drawings on black subway-advertisement placeholders command thousands of dollars at auction.)

Ask street artists to talk about why they do what they do, and brace for a torrent of rationalization. Shepard Fairey, a 34-year-old artist who is famous for his global "Obey Giant" sticker campaign featuring the glowering mug of the late World Wrestling Federation star Andre the Giant, has even published a manifesto in which he calls his work "an experiment in Phenomenology," the first aim of which, he says, "is to reawaken a sense of wonder about one's environment."

Artists and their supporters say they are simply responding to what they regard as a visual assault by corporations and commercial interests. "Why is the ad I see in the Gap more acceptable than any art that I hang on a public lamppost?" Mr. Schiller asks. "Let's balance the scales a bit. We're talking about anybody having the right to express themselves." (If Mr. Schiller's message seems incongruous with his profession - marketing - he says he hopes his passion for street art has made him better at his job by making him more sensitive to the negative effects of advertising.)

But many street artists will admit to a less noble motivation: the urge to go out and break the law. The waft of fresh wheat paste, it seems, can inspire a night of vandalism. "That's something that people really love about it: getting over on the man," said Kelly Burns, 38, the author of the book "INY," a photographic exploration of New York street art.

The law does not make a distinction between a tag scratched on a sticker or Swoon's cutouts. It is all vandalism. (The New York Police Department turned down a request for an interview.)

Swoon, who has never been arrested, says she is "fully in touch with the ambiguity" of what she does - by which she means the illegality. So she picks her spots carefully, exploring what she calls "third spaces" - not really public, maybe private, undoubtedly neglected. Her backdrops include abandoned buildings, rundown warehouses, and broken walls. "There are so many spaces that don't really need to be brown," she said.

Swoon first took her art to the street five years ago while she was a fine-arts student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She was compelled to take her work outside after suffering what she calls "the quiet, boring preciousness" of the gallery world.

"I wanted to jump out of my skin," she said. But the streets were free and open to a wider range of expression. "Because it's kind of an outlaw thing, you don't have to go through official channels," she explained. "It's trying to create a visual commons out of the derelict walls of the city." (She has since returned to the gallery scene, as the star of her own shows in Berlin, Miami and Cincinnati. "I need to make a living," she shrugged.)

On a recent afternoon, Swoon, a fit, enthusiastic woman with wavy, strawberry blond hair and a small silver nose ring, interrupted her work on her most recent project, which was a day or two away from completion, to give a brief bicycle tour of some of the pieces that have survived in Boerum Hill and Prospect Heights. Her recent and most famous work involves life-size cutouts and block prints of people with which, she says, she is "populating the city."

She stopped in front of the trash-strewn loading dock of an old warehouse on Bergen Street near Flatbush Avenue, across the street from a police station in Prospect Heights. A worn silhouette of a hooded, hunched man lurked on the wall. "It's a good place for him to hang out," she said warmly. "I want them to become part of their space, to interact in a human way. A sticker can't do that."

Swoon avoids sentimentality and regards her distribution method as a game of evolutionary fate. "I'm getting them out there and seeing which ones survive, like baby sea turtles," she explained. Even her preferred paper - newsprint, a highly fragile material - limits the life expectancy of her work. But she loves how the paper curls and rots, giving the art character and a voice where there might otherwise be silence.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

August 8th, 2004, 06:53 AM
August 8, 2004

Museum With (Only) Walls


Slide Show: Aerosol Art (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2004/08/05/arts/20040808_BAYL_SLIDESHOW_1.html)

THERE's a world-class museum on Jackson Avenue in Long Island City that's free, that's open 24/7 and that shows the top artists in their field. It has hundreds of artworks, most of them huge: murals with allegorical tales of good and evil, modern takes on Rembrandt, variations on and homages to grunge comix and the golden age of Mad magazine. The art is constantly changing, the staff is paid nothing and anyone can show there. Almost every artist uses a nom de plume. The best view is from the elevated No. 7 train.

It's not the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center but the blocklong establishment across the street — 5 Pointz: The Institute of Higher Burnin'. 5 Pointz (the name signifies the five boroughs) is New York's hub for the high aerosol — or spray-can — art. The outside walls, the rooftops and especially the loading dock, not to mention the indoor halls and air shafts or the trucks parked outside, are its Technicolor showcase.

Formerly known as the Phun Phactory, 5 Pointz is the vision of Jonathan Cohen — tag name Meres — whose dream is to have the building "100 percent covered." Artists have come from Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Japan, Brazil and all over the United States to "piece" — make a masterpiece — at 5 Pointz. Murals are up for between a week and a year before they are painted over, and no artist is turned away.

Don't confuse the art on display here with graffiti, Meres cautions: "Graffiti is a label for writers who vandalize. Aerosol art takes hours and days. It's a form of calligraphy." (Breathing in aerosol fumes over the years has damaged his health, he says. Like many aerosol artists, he wears a mask to work.)

Random tagging — casually spraying your name across a surface — is against the rules at 5 Pointz. A derivative of gang writing, tagging is a way to mark territory. "There's nothing artistic about a tag," says the artist Nic 1, who helps Meres manage the site. "A tag is just expressing anger or whatever. You can tag blindfolded on the phone. Pieces are considered art."

A tag evolves into a piece when the letters become calligraphic, "taking on a style concept and a sense of structure and abstractness," Nic 1 says. But pieces can also be just pictures. When several pieces by one or more artists make up a larger picture, it becomes a "production."

5 Pointz has the blessing of the building's landlord, the developer Jerry Walkoff, who has owned it since 1971. "I have a certain passion for people in the art business," says Mr. Walkoff, who rents studio space in the building to about 90 artists and leases the rest mostly to garment-industry enterprises. As for the aerosol artworks on his property, he says, "I have no problem as long as they do it tastefully and don't endanger themselves." (More 5 Pointz art, past and present, can be seen at www.5ptz.com and at www.x-nyc.com/pointz.html )

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

November 16th, 2004, 07:24 AM
November 16, 2004


Remembering and Defending Subway Graffiti


Lee Quinones, who now has a studio in Brooklyn, used subway cars for his work in the 1970's. "There was an agenda here for us," he says.

Christopher Ellis once used to paint on subway cars. He said he saw it as a gesture of defiance at a time when entire blocks in the South Bronx had been obliterated. Now, he and a partner, John Matos, who share a studio near 149th Street and Third Avenue in the Bronx, sell their work to serious collectors for as much as $25,000, and find themselves in the enviable position of turning down work.

A wall in Lee Quinones's studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard is covered with words, hundreds of them, done in thick, angular strokes that dance. The style is familiar, which is no surprise. What's odd is that his name doesn't dominate the wall, since Mr. Quinones first became famous for writing LEE in huge, solid letters on subway trains.

"We're All Waitin' on a Moment" reads one of the many phrases written in black marker on his studio wall. Mr. Quinones has had plenty of moments: he was among the generation of 1970's graffiti writers who went from spraying their names on trains to painting entire subway cars with intricately colored pieces. He was also in the vanguard of those who traded trains for canvas and went from eluding the police inside subway yards to courting serious collectors at galleries here and in Europe.

Despite his ascension to cult figure, some moments will never come, not if the Metropolitan Transit Authority can help it. This year, as the city celebrates the subway's centennial, graffiti has not only been erased from cars, it has also been buffed from the official record. The few mentions of it now are obligatory - and brief - references to it as a plague that epitomized a chaotic and decrepit city.

Mr. Quinones understands the discomfort. He has confronted it ever since he was a teenager who used to watch commuters' faces as they saw his painted cars rumble into stations carrying messages that ranged from playful to political.

"You felt people were kind of intimidated," said Mr. Quinones, 44. "They were adults watching something created by youths while everybody was asleep. There was an agenda here for us, not wanton vandalism. But the M.T.A. has not wanted to admit that, because our work was becoming more political and less individual."

Two galleries have mounted exhibitions to commemorate the era. Marcoart, on the Lower East Side, is displaying 100 subway maps tagged by various graffiti writers. And more than 100 artists have painted whole train cars - albeit tiny model trains - for a show at the Showroom NYC, in the East Village.

"We have our own history, and I want transit historians to realize they're missing something," said Raul Cordero, 45, also known as Duro, whose work occupies a place of honor in the show. "Whenever the train rolled, part of me rolled with it."

Many riders, who endured daily visual assaults of paint-slathered windows and sometimes offensive writings, are hardly nostalgic for the era. Similarly, transit officials - who declared the system graffiti- free in May 1989 - have a less-romantic assessment.

"Irrespective of the art argument, that was a time when the system looked like nobody was in charge," said Paul Fleuranges, a transit authority spokesman. "It was vandalism. If it was art, they wouldn't have had to scale fences, dodge dogs and cops. "

Yet the work of the top graffiti writers of the 1970's and early 1980's, which by some estimates includes several dozen at most, documents a crucial component of early hip-hop culture. That culture - where teenagers without bands made music by mixing song snippets and artists without studios painted entire subway lines - has since become a worldwide (and multibillion-dollar) phenomenon.

Its influence is such that some techniques originated by graffiti writers are now commonplace. Ivor L. Miller, author of "Aerosol Kingdom" (University Press of Mississippi, 2002), noted how the sides of buses in some cities are covered with a single advertisement. Even in New York, celebratory signs for the Mets and Yankees have festooned trains.

"It has been co-opted by corporations to sell products," he said. "Those advertisements subvert the very logic of the system. When you see whole cars covered with an ad, that's O.K. because it's paid for. It's not done by kids from the street."

He added that money - or the lack of it - might explain why officials refuse to admit that some of the subway painters actually had talent. Rather than buy space, they were visual squatters. "It is class warfare," he said. "These are self-taught kids who did not go to school to do what they did."

Christopher Ellis, who is better known as Daze, first learned about graffiti from the sketchbooks toted by his classmates at the High School of Art and Design. The real challenge came when he moved up to trains. He said he saw the subway car paintings as a way of adding a defiant touch of life to the South Bronx when entire blocks had been obliterated.

"There was something positive coming out of these desolate environments," he insisted the other day, before going to Brazil for an exhibition of his work. "That was when the Bronx was burning, yet there were these trains with color."

Mr. Ellis, 42, and John Matos, 43, have shared a studio near 149th Street and Third Avenue in the Bronx for 20 years now. They could probably afford to move, but they say their location ensures that only serious collectors come their way to spend as much as $25,000 on a canvas. They are in the enviable position of turning down work.

Though Mr. Ellis has come a long way from the subway, the system still fascinates him, at least as subject matter for a recent series of paintings of stations. The series revisits some of the places he used to go to paint trains in Queens and the Bronx. In one painting of the Zerega Avenue station on the No. 6 line, a lone police officer stands on a platform with spotless walls.

"Graffiti used to make the subway ride more interesting for me, even if I was looking at something other than my work," he said. "Now, like anyone else, I'm more concerned with getting to where I am going as fast as I can."

Yet their years on the trains have affected their artistic vision. Some of them talk about not being afraid to use bold colors. Others say they can paint in tight spaces. Many said speed was still a hallmark of their technique.

Mr. Matos, who earlier this year had a show in Paris, said the much-dreaded buff - the machine that sort of scrubbed the paint off subway cars - actually did many of them a service.

"I thank the M.T.A. for buffing the trains," Mr. Matos, known as Crash, said. "There is nothing left but the history, and this history is what propelled us. How could I hold it against the M.T.A.? What we were doing was illegal. We weren't supposed to be there. What we had, we took."

Few have taken it as far as Mr. Quinones. His studio is a soft-lit space tucked into an industrial landscape of towering cranes and mammoth sheds. Inside, books and paintings reflect his interests - trains and cars, buildings and machines. The studio is like his dream clubhouse, since he grew up in the projects on the other side of the East River. Moses-like, he holds up two panels from subway cars featuring vintage graffiti.

"To me, the waterfront and its machines were always an integral part of what made New York function," he said. "I was always interested in the shape of things, how they functioned, how their charisma was built up by the air around them."

Few things, he said, had the aura of a subway car.

"I love the way they rocked," he said. "They had a ghetto strut to them. It was aggressive."

So was his graffiti, sometimes touching upon crime or the possibility of nuclear doom. His more recent paintings still have attitude. One of them is a 9/11-themed vista of Lower Manhattan's rooftops showing military helicopters creeping into ground zero. Another is of people covering their ears and hunching up their shoulders as they watch drag racers.

A Parisian collector once told him his work was unnerving. It was a compliment. A quarter-century ago, some New York commuters said the same thing for very different reasons. Mr. Quinones said maybe they'll change their minds in the next 25 years.

"If people are going to live in the dark, I'll leave the light on for them," he said. "The art will explain it all."

A common passing scene in the New York City of the 1970's.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

November 16th, 2004, 11:05 AM
Great article. Thanks, Christian.

November 16th, 2004, 02:41 PM
Im glad graffiti isnt on cars anymore. IMO graffiti makes a city look bad.

November 16th, 2004, 09:40 PM
Written on a bathroom wall in NYC, mid-80s:

"Morgan Lives!"

Someone else (later, it appears) modified the above to read, "Morgan Guarantee Trust Company Lives!"

Odd sense of humor, but I always remembered how perfectly New York this all seemed.

November 16th, 2004, 09:59 PM
Graffiti = NYC
NYC = Graffiti = NYC culture love it or hate it (we are our own!)

November 17th, 2004, 11:03 AM
Amen, Gonzea. Give me graffiti over those sticky coporate advertising posters any day of the week. THAT makes a city look bad, in my opinion.

November 18th, 2004, 10:10 PM
I don't really mind the grafitti. Actually i enjoy seeing it sometimes because it reminds me of NYC. If i lived there it might be a different story though.

November 19th, 2004, 11:11 AM
Williamsburg seems to be one of the only communities left, that I know of, that still embraces it as an art form. There are some superb pieces there.

November 19th, 2004, 12:03 PM
The scene is still alive and kicking in the South Bronx, particularly around the Hub and in Soundview.

November 19th, 2004, 12:53 PM

November 19th, 2004, 05:24 PM
Williamsburg ,L.E.S. , most of the south bronx,Long island city/astoria.
These neighboorhoods don't have a choice to embrace it but people just do it because these are more industrial areas. Where it's darker and less cops. With the exseption of the lower east side.

January 4th, 2005, 06:48 AM
From The Economist print edition:

The writing on the wall

Dec 16th 2004

A FEW years ago, drivers on the M40 Oxford-to-London road were confronted with a question. Over a metre high, and more than 30 metres long, the painted conundrum on a fence in the Chiltern Gap was unavoidable: “Why do I do this every day?” Hundreds of thousands of people may have pondered the question, if not the answer. During rush hour, it read like a rebuke to the commuter's way of life: you may have a nice house and garden, but is it worth the time you spend in traffic? At other times, the question seemed more reflective, as though a habitual vandal had experienced a moment of self-doubt. Speculation ceased briefly in 2003, as anti-war messages crowded out the graffito. But the query is now back, in lurid green and black. It has even been updated: “Why do I still do this every day?”

Public scribblings are not always provocative—or, at least, not in a good way. There is little mystery to the common species of vandalism that consists of stylised names written over and over again until the author becomes bored or is caught. The purpose of that is simply self-advertisement; visibility is its own reward. But any attempt to convey something deeper is bound to intrigue. The graffito is an odd kind of writing—at once secretive and public, immediate and obscure. The impossibility of knowing exactly when and why messages appear, or even what they are supposed to mean, can turn even the most banal remarks into puzzles.

The practice of writing on walls is so universal that it almost qualifies as a human characteristic. It is done everywhere from third-world villages to affluent cities. People were scratching their names in plaster a century ago, as a visit to many old tourist sites will confirm (indeed, for sheer destructiveness, the Victorians are hard to beat). Graffiti adorned 18th-century Parisian lavatories, medieval Norwegian churches and the walls of Pompeii, which was buried under ash in 79AD.

Graffiti may even be as old as writing itself. Excavations in and around the Athenian Agora have turned up many pots with scribbled messages on them. Some of these are ancient—older than the plays of Aristophanes, or “The Histories” of Herodotus. At the time they were inscribed, the alphabet was so novel that the authors struggled to shape their letters. So what did the ancient Greeks do with this extraordinary technology, which could freeze speech and carry it across vast distances? Some asserted ownership (“Of Tharrios I am the cup”); others wrote shopping lists. Then, very quickly, they worked out a use for writing that seems much more modern. The turning-point came when someone picked up a knife and scratched on his pot: “Titas the Olympic victor is a lecherous fellow.”

Enter, the bog-house collectors

It is only by chance that scrawlings endure. They have many enemies, from political authorities concerned about the appearance of a neighbourhood to the corrosive effects of sun and rain. Messages written on walls are usually preserved only when somebody photographs or writes about them, thus transferring them to a flimsier but more enduring medium. For much of history, nobody thought it necessary to do that. Then, in 1731, a pioneering collection of graffiti appeared in London.

“The Merry-Thought: or, the Glass-Window and Bog-House Miscellany” was, as the title suggests, obtained mostly from public lavatories—a favourite site of graffiti-writers through the ages. The editor, who went by the pseudonym Hurlo Thrumbo, probably did not collect all the material himself, but relied on a network of correspondents. His mission, as he described it, was to preserve morsels of wit from the forces of cleanliness and philistinism.

A cleanly Landlord must have, forsooth, his Rooms new painted and white-wash'd every now and then, without regarding in the least the Wit and Learning he is obliterating... But I may venture to say, That good Things are not always respected as they ought to be.

This was something of a pose. To judge from dates appended to some of the graffiti in “The Merry-Thought”, 18th-century landlords did not get round to obliterating messages more than once every ten years or so. Some survived even longer. Several fashionable hands at the time sported “writing rings”, which had diamonds or other stones set upside-down to allow easy cutting into glass. Graffiti thus made might last for decades.

The resilience of graffiti in Hurlo Thrumbo's day enabled banter and backchat among writers. “When full of Pence, I was expensive, And now I've none, I'm always pensive” wrote a sad philosophe on a Romford window. The rhyme provoked a crafty reply: “Then be at no Expence, And you'll have no Suspence.” Two sexist verses were answered by someone who clearly disapproved—a woman, assumes the editor. “Immodest Words admit of no Defence;” she sniffed, “For Want of Decency is want of Sense.”

Excrements of wit

Women could, and frequently did, answer men's graffiti in the early 18th century for the simple reason that they used the same outhouses. These days, men write mostly for men and women for women, with the result that distinct graffiti “languages” have emerged. Academics, who are surprisingly interested in this sort of thing, have proved through laborious counting that men's writing is copious and frequently hostile, whereas women's is sparser and more idealistic. In the 18th century, though, the knowledge that their words would be read by the opposite sex seems to have restrained men from some of the crudeness that they are prone to these days. Some were actually romantic: “Dear charming lovely Nancy L—r, Thou art my only Toast, I swear”, wrote one love-struck fellow.

Many of the musings in “The Merry-Thought” are, however, so familiar as to be virtually eternal. One rhyme, from a London stall, mixes contempt for other people's writings with what a psychologist would call anal fixation:

Hither I came in haste to sh-t,
But found such Excrements of Wit,
That I to shew my Skill in Verse,
Had scarcely Time to wipe my A--e.

Similar verses were recorded two centuries later by an American lexicographer, Allen Walker Read, whose “Glossarial study of the low element in the English vocabulary” relied on material from America's national parks. Such latrinalia are so unchanging, in fact, that folklorists call them “traditional” or “trite”. Along with “cute-intellectual” and “tea-room trade” graffiti (“For a good time meet here at 5 o'clock”), they account for most of what is written on lavatory walls—which is to say, most of what is written on walls anywhere.

It takes a great controversy to distract graffiti-writers from the pressing concerns of love, defecation and the fortunes of the local sporting team. When political and religious passions are touched off, though, more urgent messages begin to appear on walls. Wars, dictatorships and rebellions produce vast quantities of graffiti, and in more public places. The point of political propaganda is, after all, not to offend and annoy people, but to influence them. At times of great agitation, writers take such risks to ensure their messages are seen that bravado itself can become the point of the exercise.

That happened during the Palestinian intifada of 1987-93, when the walls of the occupied West Bank were literally fought over. Gangs of youths crept out at night to paint rebellious and sometimes witty slogans: “Prison is for relaxation, deportation policy is for tourism, throwing stones is exercise”. Israeli soldiers swiftly blacked out the slogans, though few of them could read Arabic. Or they used the threat of fines to coerce the owners of walls into doing their work, which brought an immediate response from the local scribblers: “Don't paint over graffiti voluntarily. First warning!” Thanks to the efforts made to suppress them, graffiti became so potent that they not only expressed, but actually created, a sense of revolutionary solidarity. Walls became dispatches from which the uprising's progress could be read.

No group, though, has used graffiti so freely as evangelical Christians. They, too, are fighting a war (of a spiritual kind) and regard walls simply as things on which to spread the word. This is not surprising, given the biblical emphasis on public writing. Belshazzar's fate was spelt out by a mysterious hand writing in plaster, “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin” (“Counted and counted, weighed and divided”). This message, as puzzling as the best graffiti, could only be interpreted by Daniel, who thought it portended the division of his kingdom. That mere devotees ought to follow the divine example is made clear in Deuteronomy, where they are twice instructed to write the ten commandments on the gates and door frames of their houses.

That injunction has been keenly obeyed, though Christians have rarely stopped at the ten commandments, or at their own homes. “It is good for us to have His law written everywhere,” insisted the Protestant reformer Jean Calvin. Medieval and Renaissance churches were filled with crude crosses and autographs, many of them carved into statues and paintings of saints. Such alterations do not appear to have been frowned upon until recently. Between the 16th and 19th centuries, 150 messages were inscribed into the wall paintings of one church in the Italian town of Arborio. They are so carefully cut, and the subject matter so inoffensive, that they must have been officially sanctioned.

In the 1970s, feminist reworkings of biblical texts were a favourite: “Three wise men—are you serious?”

Christian messages these days are spray-painted on to walls in such a crude style that they appear more inspired than planned—which is presumably the point. Testaments of faith have become so common that they have spawned a kind of counter-scriptural mockery. London is especially popular for such Rabelaisia. In the 1970s, feminist reworkings of biblical texts were a favourite: “Three wise men—are you serious?” “The birth of a man who thinks he is a god is not such a rare event”. Another example appeared on a wall in West Kensington a few years ago. A familiar testament of faith had been altered by the addition of a single letter: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Sony”.

Politics and religion can even find their way into graffiti's favourite haunt, where they take on a different and, often, more poisonous form. In the early 1970s American academics began collecting political graffiti from the walls of university lavatories. Comparing notes, they were puzzled to find that the vilest, most hateful epithets against blacks and gays were inscribed on the walls of progressive institutions like Barnard, Columbia and Rutgers. At least 20% of all messages in one study were homophobic, and 17% were anti-black. Equally oddly, though, conservative universities in the American mid-west had hardly any offensive graffiti, and neither did all-white high schools or bars.

That suggests walls cannot be read as though they are opinion polls. When views are uncontroversial, they may not be written down at all, since neither taste nor law inhibits their expression. The white toughs who hung out in neighbourhood bars 30 years ago might have happily shouted insults such as “Go back to Africa, Nigger!” whereas a student at one liberal East Coast college had to retreat to the men's room in order to say the same thing. He had to be alone—but not completely alone, or there would have been no point in recording his little insult. Offensive messages thrive when people feel their views have been suppressed by the forces of political correctness. The lavatory wall is the manifesto of a counter-revolution that never comes.

Come back Kilroy, all is forgiven

Graffiti writing has always been more respectable than its enemies would admit. Before the era of mass education—in most places, the 19th and 20th centuries—it must have been the preserve of the middle and upper classes, because only their members were literate. The vulgar rhymes anthologised in “The Merry-Thought” were scratched by men and women who could scan, and not always just in one language: some wrote in Latin and French. In any event, it is known that some of the writers were well-to-do, because they gave their titles. “Captain R.T.”, who wrote six lines in a tavern near Hampton Court in 1710, was no commoner.

These days graffiti can be written by anyone. Literacy has become almost universal in the developed world, and writing tools are cheap. Tagging—the repeated writing of names that became fashionable in the 1970s and 1980s—is done by disreputable folk of all social classes, but it is associated with the poor. So are the often beautiful murals that grace railway bridges and, on occasion, art galleries. But there is a difference between these fairly novel types of graffiti and the traditional kind. People who write their names simply want to assert their existence to others, whereas people who write messages want to put a point across.

The second attitude, of course, is typical of the most educated and confident segment of society. That alone suggests today's scribblers may be more worthy than the graffiti they leave behind—just as they were in the 18th century. It may be telling, too, that anti-war messages are so common: pacifist views tend to be stronger among middle-class youth. Most suggestive of all is the decline of graffiti. In the 1970s and 1980s cities were so full of the stuff that modern-day Hurlo Thrumbos filled several compilations. But walls now contain fewer messages. That is partly because of more militant scrubbing, but it is also because there is a new place where people can write anonymously, if they have access to it: the internet. Type “bathroom humor” or “racist jokes” into a search engine, and it is obvious where many of the offending writers have gone.

It may be that the habit of writing on walls is slowly being lost. A pity, if so: life would be neater without graffiti, but it would also be less interesting. On the rare occasions when doodles survive for a few centuries, they become a valuable record of past lives and, often, a tourist attraction. The 5,000-year-old chambered tomb of Maes Howe, in Orkney, is mostly famous for the runes left behind by some 12th-century Vikings. Some of the messages are boastful: “These runes were carved by the man most skilled in runes in the Western Ocean”. Others are whimsical. “Tholfr Kolsseinn's son carved these runes high up”, reads one message close to the roof. There are statements of desire: “Ingigerth is the most beautiful of women”—which would be more romantic if it were not carved next to the image of a slavering dog. A dragon nearby has more charm.

But the most intriguing messages in Maes Howe are those about the burial chamber itself, and the rumours of treasure that may have encouraged the raiders to break into it. One begins abruptly in mid-sentence: “is to me said that treasure is here hidden very well”. Another is less hopeful: “It was long ago that a great treasure was hidden here. Happy is he that might find that great treasure”. Some of these messages seem to have been carved in 1153, when a group of Viking crusaders stopped on their way back from Palestine. Others may have been left two years earlier, when, according to the “Orkneyinga Saga”, two raiders took shelter in the tomb and went mad. The runes may be honest records, revealing the hopes and frustrations of those who sought wealth on the island. Or they may be spiteful messages intended to tease and confuse. As so often with graffiti, it is impossible to say for sure.

Scribbles for thought

Memento mori

...and deep questions

Israelis vow vengeance

Runic wisdom in Orkney

January 14th, 2005, 07:01 AM
January 14, 2005

New Team Takes Aim at Graffiti in the City


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Thursday with Carmen Carillo, a community leader, at the 75th Precinct in East New York, Brooklyn.

The Police Department is singling out the city's 100 most frequently arrested vandals for extra monitoring as part of a renewed push to reduce graffiti, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said yesterday.

Officials unveiled the specifics of the effort two days after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced the creation of a new antigraffiti task force during his State of the City address on Tuesday, joining a long list of mayors who have vowed to eradicate graffiti as a way into the hearts of New York City voters.

Presenting the particulars at the 75th Precinct in East New York, Brooklyn, with Mr. Kelly yesterday, Mr. Bloomberg portrayed the new initiative as part of his continuing effort to improve the quality of life in the city, a pillar of his case for re-election.

"Graffiti is something for which our administration has zero tolerance," the mayor said, calling it "an invitation to criminal behavior."

The new program includes a merger of the antivandalism unit of the Police Department and that of the transit police under a new command structure overseen by an assistant chief, Ed Young. The task force will have 80 members, officials said.

Mr. Kelly said the task force was already experimenting with infrared cameras designed to catch vandals in the act and would use a database that tracks vandalism patterns and repeat offenders. Officials declined to say where those cameras were being placed, and Mr. Kelly declined to make public the list of the top 100 offenders - included in a bound book he displayed to reporters - calling it an "investigative tool."

Police officials said they had begun merging the antivandalism squads of the Police Department and the transit police two months ago and that graffiti arrests by the two units were 20 percent higher than they were for the same period last year, contributing to a 78 percent increase in graffiti arrests overall last year, according to police statistics.

Mr. Kelly said the department would try to increase graffiti arrests even more by aggressively publicizing a $500 reward for information leading to the arrests of graffiti vandals. And Mr. Bloomberg said the city's 311 phone line would now send calls directly to officials with the task force, which is coordinating with the mayor's office for community affairs.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

alex ballard
January 14th, 2005, 04:37 PM
This is the perfect place to ask an age-old urban question:

Graffti: Good for cities of bad?

My opinion, as long as it's not offenseive, violent, overwehlming, or destrcutive, it adds character to an area. Can you ever imagine any city without it? Why do you think people and comunties are more colorful in the city, literally!

January 14th, 2005, 04:43 PM
I think it's ok when it's not destructive, lame tagging, or without permission. I think owners of properties to-be graffed should be able to say yes or no, or limit the amount. I'm sure a lot of property owners would consent to creative, artistic works - not ones that bring down their property values.

Graffiti on public transit should remain banned, period.

January 14th, 2005, 10:13 PM
An absolute treat for me, each time I travel into Manhattan on Metro North, is to see the trackbed-side graffiti along the way. Much of this stuff is world-class art. I am always amazed at how gorgeous, complex, and inventive a lot of it is. It pains me that years and years of individual works of masterwork graffiti art have been sprayed over, sandblasted clean, etc. Somehow, there should be a way to capture this art for generations. An NYC Graffiti Art Museum would be one such way. Another might be an annual Graffiti Art contest.

As for those who put up this stuff, I'm not so sure I'd want to meet them in person, but I don't mind telling them -- anonymously -- that some of their work is absolute genius.

January 15th, 2005, 12:45 AM
An absolute treat for me, each time I travel into Manhattan on Metro North, is to see the trackbed-side graffiti along the way. Much of this stuff is world-class art. I am always amazed at how gorgeous, complex, and inventive a lot of it is. It pains me that years and years of individual works of masterwork graffiti art have been sprayed over, sandblasted clean, etc. Somehow, there should be a way to capture this art for generations. An NYC Graffiti Art Museum would be one such way. Another might be an annual Graffiti Art contest.

As for those who put up this stuff, I'm not so sure I'd want to meet them in person, but I don't mind telling them -- anonymously -- that some of their work is absolute genius.

I would like to see most graffiti eliminated. It looks horrible unless it's a commissioned mural.

Anyway, here's your "museum" in LIC:

May 10th, 2005, 03:25 PM

"A friend of mine who's a graffiti expert passed along this info:
In case you didn't know that was a VIM(OA) car. The Vandals In Motion and Monsters Of Art crews are brother/sister crews from the Coppenhagen, Sweden, Holland area and I guess one of them was visiting NYC on vacation."

May 10th, 2005, 06:41 PM
Thank goodness that garbage is easy to remove!

May 10th, 2005, 08:14 PM
Graffiti is artistic, but the stigma from the '70s attached to it and crime gives it a bad image, so I have no problem with the MTA trying to limit its growth.

May 10th, 2005, 08:50 PM
I consider it art as well, but not when its used as vandalism.

August 6th, 2005, 02:04 PM

fyi, writers dont really care what you think either way, and thats the beauty of it. its not advertising, its not a billboard, and its not for sale. writers write for themselves and for other writers. but anyone under 40 who grew up in NYC and doesn't recognize the connection it has to graffiti must have been walking around blindfolded your whole life.

August 6th, 2005, 05:06 PM
The Vandals In Motion and Monsters Of Art crews are brother/sister crews from the Coppenhagen, Sweden, Holland area and I guess one of them was visiting NYC on vacation."

How charming of them to travel here to **** up our trains.

August 6th, 2005, 09:17 PM
How charming of them to travel here to **** up our trains.

Yes. Next time I'm in Copenhagen I'll be sure to take a s__ on the sidewalk to repay the favor.

August 6th, 2005, 09:25 PM
I don't refute any of the negative aspects of graffiti, yet I find this image extemely intriguing. I've never seen a (newer) train with graffiti approaching anything nearly as complicated and artful as this piece.

Consider what these vandals must have gone through in order to create it, all the while knowing that it would last for a few hours at most.

The subway trains are taken to a secure cleaning facility each night for cleaning, and are otherwise kept in a secured yard when not in service. Because the piece is quite complicated, I would assume it took a considerable amount of time to create it. That means they broke into the storage yard, presumably at night after the car was cleaned, and due to the intricate colors and patterns involved, probably used some lighting to see what they were doing. Somehow, they took the risk to overcome a mind-boggling level of difficulty in order to create the piece.

The NYC system is so clean these days that there are virtually no (non-scratched) tags anywhere, especially on the exterior of the cars.

"On May 12, 1989 the MTA declared a victory over graffiti. The MTA set in effect a policy of removing all marked subway cars from service. The objective being no graffiti will run. This was the birth of what is known as the Clean Train movement. There are many writers who believe subway painting is the defining act in being a writer. Walls, freights, scraps, and canvas are for fake writers. These writers refuse to give up the battle against the MTA. Even though works do not run or only run for one trip many people still write."

August 7th, 2005, 01:48 AM
^ The train yards used to be a place for writers to bring their cans for a few hours and bomb multi-colored huge pieces. These were artists, and the problems of NYC back then were many, but none of them had to do with giving some color to bland subway cars. But the city shut that down anyway, and now graffiti has spread to the highways and streets...which is even more interesting:D

August 7th, 2005, 10:42 AM
Anyone who thinks it is OK to spray paint someone else's property without their permission needs to be sent back to grade school for some lessons in morals. BTW, 99.9% of the graffiti you see around this city is complete crap, just the usual mix of people's names, profanities, hate speech and such. The balance has the artistic value of what you might find in a comic book.

August 8th, 2005, 07:51 AM
Anyone who thinks it is OK to spray paint someone else's property without their permission needs to be sent back to grade school for some lessons in morals. BTW, 99.9% of the graffiti you see around this city is complete crap, just the usual mix of people's names, profanities, hate speech and such. The balance has the artistic value of what you might find in a comic book.

Like I said, writers dont care what you think. Only in your little imaginary world of ignorance is most graffiti done on private property, or about hate speech, or that comic book artists arent "real" artists...

August 8th, 2005, 08:41 AM
Like I said, writers dont care what you thinkRegardless of the artistic merits, not caring what others think is a self-centered attitude characteristic of the worldview of children.

I doubt that, generally, the objective is to "give some car to bland subway cars;" more likely it is the thrill of overcoming obstacles (breaking into trainyards) to put one over on the authorities (adults).

August 8th, 2005, 09:05 AM
It is the equivalent of leaving your mark on something. Humans are ALWAYS doing that, from kids to adults, from smart to dumb as drywall.

These guys want to be seen, and known. There is a thrill for going against the rules and rebelling against the system, and a FEW take pride in the style/skill/and their definition of artistry.

Now I agree that some of these are indeed eye-catching, but I really do NOT want to see "Jiazz" in some wacked out trippin color scheme painted across the back wall of my condo. AAMOF, it was one reason I did not like Park Slope, the lame attempt to "carve their name in a tree" type vandalisim Urban Style is very VERY off-putting.

If someone is given permission to paint a public wall and do some work, I have little problem with it (outside the normal concerns akin to painting your 2 story colonial Bright Pink right next to everyones modest conservative ones...). There are, and were some great murals and collages around the city that were just that. But the ones that are just acts of societal rebellion and name making I have no respect for. Especially when ant 2 bit punk can come along and scribble his crap on top of someone elses mural just because they feel like it.

When an "artistic form" disrespects even its own fellow "artisans" in such a blatant way, one has to question the merit of the art in its entirety.

And I do not think you guys should go crap on their sidewalk. Find where these guys live and invite that woman from "Trading Spaces" to redecorate their living room. That should be punishment enough. (Chicken Feathers anyone?)

August 9th, 2005, 07:44 AM
Regardless of the artistic merits, not caring what others think is a self-centered attitude characteristic of the worldview of children

spoken like a non-artist

August 9th, 2005, 07:48 AM
When an "artistic form" disrespects even its own fellow "artisans" in such a blatant way, one has to question the merit of the art in its entirety

Art is anything you can get away with. The city is a canvas, you either understand or you dont. Those who dont are either new to NYC, or just plain old.

August 9th, 2005, 07:56 AM
spoken like a non-artistExplain why that statement is something a non artist would state.

It has nothing to do with art.

August 9th, 2005, 08:23 AM
nym, I'm neither new to NYC or just plain old. Mind if I come over to your apartment building later with some phat aerosol cans? I got some fresh tags that I'm just itching to put on the canvas that is your home--er, I mean, the city.

August 9th, 2005, 08:47 AM
Art is anything you can get away with. The city is a canvas, you either understand or you dont. Those who dont are either new to NYC, or just plain old.

Um, no.

I have disliked it all my life and I have been in this area a good ammount of time.

How old are you that you use the term "old" as if it was an insult? Ah, I get it, if you have experience and respect for things, that is BAD, oh, ok..... :p

How can you respect an ART that willingly and willfully damages the art of others? Not just architecture, but OTHER PEOPLES WALL MURALS!

I have no respect for any "painter" that insists on using someone elses canvases.

August 9th, 2005, 08:48 AM
nym, I'm neither new to NYC or just plain old. Mind if I come over to your apartment building later with some phat aerosol cans? I got some fresh tags that I'm just itching to put on the canvas that is your home--er, I mean, the city.

I would do the same with his car, but I do not think he is "old" enough to drive... ;)

August 9th, 2005, 10:22 AM
I always thought that "tagging" was the way that illiterate morons found their way home. It doesn't really spell anything, but it is rather like a trail of litter for them to follow back to their squalid little world of disrespect.

On the other hand, graffiti artists in the East Village created majestic, inspired and politically vibrant pieces of art - that showed respect for culture, community and ART.

They took a place left to rot and enlivened it with art. Tagging is not "art". Tagging is the same as dumping garbage out your window at night because you know no one will see you do it. Everyone wakes up in the morning and deals with the smell, while the dumper chuckles because he or she got away with it. Nothing says "ghetto" quite like tagging.

August 9th, 2005, 10:55 AM
There was an article (I believe it was the L.A. times) a few years back about tagging. Apparantly a lot of it is a unique language that tells other people the relative ease or hinderances to conducting business in the area, much like hobo's markings. The hired some guys in L.A. to decipher the tags and they solved some problems that way.

August 9th, 2005, 11:24 AM
There was an article (I believe it was the L.A. times) a few years back about tagging. Apparantly a lot of it is a unique language that tells other people the relative ease or hinderances to conducting business in the area, much like hobo's markings. The hired some guys in L.A. to decipher the tags and they solved some problems that way.

Those damn wi-fi scouters!!!!!!

August 10th, 2005, 06:24 AM
nym, I'm neither new to NYC or just plain old.

Well your mentality is that of an aged hick, what are you doing here?

In the August 2005 issue of Wired Magazine, there is an article about a graffiti artist (http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.08/bansky.html)

August 2005. Not August 1955. Wake up.

August 10th, 2005, 08:49 AM
There is one good thing about graffiti “as a topic”
It sure fuels a passion from both sides. For those who see the city as a canvas you’re discriminating against it’s citizens! The bottom line is if it’s not yours to make a decision on and must get permission to tag it up , then you are commiting a crime hense discriminating against the owner of the so called canvas.

This applies to you!! I cannot make a decision Without your consent, to walk into your home tag up your bedroom, then walk away!
Why do you?

That being said, as a social ill, this form of expression goes back centuries, will never be eradicated.

I actually enjoy graffiti, it is an urban thing and when done like at the Phun factory now called the 5 points, it’s quite the thing to see.


August 10th, 2005, 08:51 AM
BTW, Up here in Montreal, this is the graffiti capital of Canada. The movement has been strong now for 15 years. The city will spend a million dollars to remove the shit! Our transit system has been hit hard as well.

So as you can see, it’s not only in NYC.

August 10th, 2005, 09:39 AM
Well your mentality is that of an aged hick, what are you doing here?

In the August 2005 issue of Wired Magazine, there is an article about a graffiti artist (http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.08/bansky.html)

August 2005. Not August 1955. Wake up.

Um, again, how old are you?

You believe that "wired" is the gospel?

You are not going to convince anyone here of anything by coming out and insulting the person making the comments. You are not addressing the issue, but simply calling the person making the points an 'old coot' and assuming that that removes him entirely from any realm of viability when it comes to commenting on Grafitti and what goes on in his neighborhood is not a viable line of arguement.

If you want to fight with people, there are plenty of other boards to do that on.

August 10th, 2005, 09:44 AM
I can't take nym9's comments seriously, since some "old" person(s) is probably paying for the roof over his head and the food he eats.

I wonder if he pays for his own phat cans?

August 10th, 2005, 09:59 AM
I can't take nym9's comments seriously, since some "old" person(s) is probably paying for the roof over his head and the food he eats.

I wonder if he pays for his own phat cans?

I am wondering also how much this n00bie poster is coming at us strait or if he is deliberately yanking chains.

Ah well. "As long as he is under THIS roof..... yadda yadda yadda, lets have lunch."

August 10th, 2005, 04:07 PM
yo, nym9, you have, like, so set me straight. Since a graffiti artist is in Wired Magazine, you are obviously in the right.

Time 2 git educated. Can't wait to bomb yo place.

August 10th, 2005, 04:47 PM

Satisfying graffiti.

August 11th, 2005, 04:39 PM
Post 9/11 (http://www.13weeks.org/zoom/12_rip.html)

August 16th, 2005, 08:32 AM
From today's Times:


August 16, 2005
City Revokes Party Permit Over Exhibit With Graffiti
The city has revoked a permit awarded to organizers of a block party celebrating graffiti, saying it will not grant another one unless the group scraps plans to have graffiti writers spray paint murals onto models of New York City subway trains. The city acted hours after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg criticized the plans yesterday.

The block party, scheduled for Aug. 24, was to be held on West 22nd Street by the fashion designer Marc Ecko to celebrate the upcoming release of the video game he designed for Atari, "Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure." The game features characters who vandalize a city called New Radius with graffiti in defiance of a corrupt and tyrannical local government.

Mr. Ecko was granted the permit on July 18, after months of talks with community leaders in Chelsea.

The city revoked the permit yesterday, the same day City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. was quoted in The Daily News as saying the party was "promoting criminal acts."

In agreeing with the councilman, Mr. Bloomberg ventured into a traditionally tricky debate for mayors of a city that is considered a world art capital, namely: When does art cross the line, and when, if ever, should government intervene?

"Look, there is a fine line here between freedom of expression and going out and encouraging people to hurt this city," Mr. Bloomberg said during a visit to a senior citizens center in Queens yesterday. "Defacing subway cars is hardly a joke; encouraging people, kids in particular, to do that after all the money we've spent, all the time we've spent removing graffiti."

A few hours later, the mayor's Office of Community Affairs rescinded Mr. Ecko's permit. The office said it did so because Mr. Ecko had not explained that the event was to promote a video game, which would require a different permit than the one needed for an art exhibition.

The office invited Mr. Ecko to apply for a new permit, and Mr. Bloomberg implied that it would be approved if Mr. Ecko dropped the planned graffiti exhibit.

"We have talked to them and asked them to not have a subway car motif to write graffiti," Mr. Bloomberg said. "This is not really art or expression, this is, let's be honest about what it is: It's trying to encourage people to do something that's not in anybody's interest."

Clint Cantwell, a spokesman for Mr. Ecko, said Mr. Ecko would consider the request but also said he doubted that Mr. Ecko would agree to it. "We're still hoping to find a middle ground with them, but it's an uphill battle for us," he said, adding that the subway graffiti display was "really the heart of this exhibition, and it's celebrating the origins of graffiti in New York City, and that's the canvas we came up with."

He said that the organizers were upfront about the event, and that while they would continue to speak with the city, they were considering finding an alternate location for the event, possibly on private property.

"We're not going to fight City Hall," he said. "We're not going to win."


What a shame. This should go to the Supreme Court; what terrible curtailing of free expression.

Bravo, Bloomberg!

August 16th, 2005, 08:42 AM
"really the heart of this exhibition, and it's celebrating the origins of graffiti in New York City, and that's the canvas we came up with."

I cry BS!!!!!

Celebrating the origins of community vandalisim? Come ON!

1. Subway cars were not the start. I think ever since man could scribble on the walls he has been trying to leave his mark in one way or another.

2. He is promoting a VIDEO GAME whose object is to SPRAYPAINT A CITY! might as well put a dance pad in it and let you shoot cops. Rockstar he ain't.

3. Art is one thing, but if it is not on your property, and it is of permanent (or semi-permanent) nature, you have to get the approval of the people who own it, in the case of things like Subways, the city and its people.

4. They are now looking for private property to hold it on, which is what they should have done from the start. I hear LA is lovely this time of year, maybe they should promote this crappy insult to the gaming community there!

Artie Lange
August 17th, 2005, 05:35 PM
Man, NYC is becoming a joke. This artistic project has already happened in many cities, including last week in Toronto, to rave reviews.

Graffiti murals are already all over the city, including in many galleries that cater to rich whites like Bloomberg who can afford the high prices that you can't.

Even Time Magazine (http://www.time.com/time/archive/collections/0,21428,c_graffiti,00.shtml) knows the deal, when they commissioned NYC Graffiti artists to create an outdoor ad featuring NYC Graffiti.

Revoke all the permits you want, the illegal art will just get bigger and badder and theres nothing you can do about that.

August 17th, 2005, 06:11 PM
The model subway car as canvas has already been done. Do a search on "Tag the System"

Here are works (http://www.tagthesystem.com/section.php?sid=3&session=71a07ecb5f573184320cc5d6071a1cfb) from that exhibit.

August 17th, 2005, 07:14 PM
Man, NYC is becoming a joke. This artistic project has already happened in many cities, including last week in Toronto, to rave reviews.

Graffiti murals are already all over the city, including in many galleries that cater to rich whites like Bloomberg who can afford the high prices that you can't.

Revoke all the permits you want, the illegal art will just get bigger and badder and theres nothing you can do about that.

Is this nym9 with a new handle?

August 17th, 2005, 07:26 PM
Sounds like it.

"There's nothing you can do about it" sounds like the juvie has broken curfiew.. ;)

August 17th, 2005, 07:29 PM
Posts are similar, and the IPs are only off on the last 3 digits.
His last visit with his old ID was today at 05:15, and Artie's first post was 05:19.

He must be using mommie's computer.

I don't know why he wants to be here, since he indicated to me in a PM that we are "aholes."

Everyone say goodbye to Artie.

August 17th, 2005, 07:51 PM
No question that graffiti has been around for millennia...and will continue for plenty more. But NYC, and every other city, is right to clean it up. And bravo to Bloomberg for refusing to condone a public display that encourages vandalism. Yes, as a billionaire he could buy graffiti in galleries hand-over-fist, but he doesn't. In the first place, he has much better taste. In the second, as a man who actually uses the subway, he realizes that the city doesn't need to hasten its own destruction by giving a man with a spray can whose mission is to "tag the system" legitimacy as an artist.

August 21st, 2005, 09:17 AM
You are right and we feel it up here in Montreal!!
With the city being the graff capital of Canada, this would be a tough thing to do. $1 million dollars has been set aside to eradicate the current problem in the Plateau Mont Royal, this tell you the size of this problem if only one small pocket of the city is being attacked, the rest of it will boom. I’m afraid what the city will look like in 10 years from now.

It’s a social problem of epidemic proportions and it’s plagued every corner!
NDG Sherbrooke street Maisoneuve.
If you look at the Turcotte interchange these days,
Pointe St-Charles.
Under the Ville Marie Expressway!

Which department in the Tremblay administration takes care of this problem?
It will cost the city a shitload of money in the future if they do not jump on the problem right now.

August 21st, 2005, 09:09 PM
Well, I joked that the folks who planned this graffiti extravaganza should sue. And guess what: they did.

Only in America, as reported in yesterday's NYTimes:


August 20, 2005
Planner of Graffiti-Themed Event Sues Bloomberg for Canceling Its Permit
A lawyer for New York City argued in federal court yesterday that a street fair featuring graffiti writers painting mock subway cars that has been planned for next week by Marc Ecko, the clothing maker, would "seriously endanger the city" by inciting vandalism in the subways.

The lawyer, Paula Van Meter, laid out the city's position briefly at a 4 p.m. hearing, hours after Mr. Ecko's company, Ecko Unlimited, filed a lawsuit against Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg for canceling a permit for the street fair, which is scheduled for Wednesday. The company argued, among other things, that the cancellation violated its constitutional right to free expression.

After issuing and revoking one permit, the city denied a second one on Aug. 16, saying that the company's plan to have well-known graffiti writers simulating subway painting would undercut the city's recent progress in fighting real graffiti in the subways.

Ms. Van Meter, a senior counsel for the city, said that graffiti had begun to proliferate again in the subways and posed a danger to riders facing new threats of terrorism. "We can't afford to have the windows of subways blotted out by paint, so people can't see what risks are out there," she said.

Ecko Unlimited, whose long T-shirts and baggy jeans are in style among young people, invited 20 artists who began their careers as graffiti writers to come to the fair, from noon to dusk on 22nd Street between 10th and 11th Avenues in Manhattan. The company ordered metal panels made to look like the sides of Bluebird subway cars that ran on New York tracks in the 1980's. The plan was to assemble the panels to make 10 mock subway car sides where the invitees, including Pink, T-Kid, Ket and Tats Cru would spend the afternoon painting.

Mr. Ecko, the company's founder, has said he loved graffiti because he painted on the walls of his garage before his rise to prominence in the clothing design business.

For his part, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday that he had "no problems" with "claims that graffiti is art." But, he said, "We just should not be giving permits out to events on the streets that encourage vandalism in the subway cars just because they want to sell video games or T-shirts."

A dispute arose at the hearing, before Judge Jed S. Rakoff in Federal District Court in Manhattan, over whether the fair was a commercial event to promote a new video game, not yet released, that is based on the exploits of a graffiti writer. Ms. Van Meter said that denying the permit did not violate any constitutional protections of free expression because the fair would be a commercial event to celebrate and incite "criminal activity."

Daniel Perez, a lawyer for Ecko, promised the judge that there would be no commercial promotion at the fair, which would be only an "art exhibition." He said that after the fair, the subway panels would be dismantled, and some would be displayed in a store Ecko will open next year in Times Square.

Ms. Van Meter said Ecko could hold the fair without the subway panels. The city will charge $25,000 for the permit, she said.

Judge Rakoff scheduled a longer hearing for Monday at 3 p.m. Quizzing Ms. Van Meter, he asked her if the city would also ban a street performance of the musical "West Side Story" on the ground that it celebrated gang warfare. Ms. Van Meter replied that she did not think so.

August 23rd, 2005, 09:55 AM
Well, at least nym9 has something to do tomorrow.

[sigh] Singapore has the right idea.


August 23, 2005
Citing 1st Amendment, Judge Says City Must Allow Graffiti Party
In a tartly worded ruling, a federal judge ordered the Bloomberg administration yesterday to reinstate a permit for a block party in Chelsea featuring the painting of graffiti on mock subway cars.

The judge, Jed S. Rakoff of Federal District Court in Manhattan, called the city's abrupt cancellation of the permit unconstitutional. He even poked fun at Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's argument that the party would incite the defacement of real subway cars.

"By the same token, presumably, a street performance of 'Hamlet' would be tantamount to encouraging revenge murder," the judge wrote.

"As for a street performance of 'Oedipus Rex,' " he added, "don't even think about it."

The permit was issued to allow Ecko Unlimited, a company run by the designer Marc Ecko, to close West 22nd Street between 10th and 11th Avenues from 10 am. to 6 p.m. tomorrow. During the party, Mr. Ecko's company is planning to have 20 people paint graffiti on metal panels made to look like the sides of the subway cars of the 1970's and 80's, which were easy targets for vandals with paint.

City Hall abruptly canceled the permit last week, shortly after Mr. Bloomberg criticized the plan, saying that "defacing subway cars is hardly a joke'" and that the party would encourage young people to do just that. On Thursday, Ecko Unlimited asked the court to intervene, saying its right to free expression had been violated.

A lawyer for the city, Paula Van Meter, argued in court that the plan would "celebrate" the destruction of government property and encourage vandalism, particularly among susceptible young people.

Yesterday, the city's Law Department said in a statement that it was disappointed and "considering our appellate options." Legally, the city could still appeal the ruling, but the timing is tricky, given that the party is scheduled for tomorrow.

When the city revoked Mr. Ecko's permit, it said that he had not explained that the event would celebrate the coming release of a video game he designed for Atari. A lawyer for Mr. Ecko disputed the claim that the company had hidden that aspect of the event.

The marketing angle would make the exhibition a commercial event, the city's reasoning went, and therefore would allow the city greater discretion, because commercial speech has fewer protections under the First Amendment.

But on Friday, when the legal hearing began before Judge Rakoff, lawyers for Mr. Ecko agreed that the video game would no longer be featured. And yesterday, Judge Rakoff was not persuaded by Ms. Van Meter's argument that the event was sponsored by the Ecko brand, and therefore commercial. Mr. Ecko has seven clothing brands and a magazine.

"If there's a concert sponsored by X or Y, does that make it a corporate event?" Judge Rakoff reasoned in court.

Failing to prevail in the commercial argument, Ms. Van Meter was left trying to convince the judge that tomorrow's event was likely to incite criminal behavior.

"There is a genuine and imminent danger that it will be repeated," she said.

Judge Rakoff, in his ruling, brushed that argument aside, accusing the city of raising this objection belatedly as a "facade" to handle its only real objection: the mere act of painting on mock subway cars. The company applied for the permit in November. It was granted in July.

The judge also wrote that the denial of the permit on the grounds that it would incite others to paint on subway cars was a "flagrant violation" of the Constitution.

"The First Amendment would be a weak reed indeed if the utterance of such expressions could be banned from the city's streets because, in the mayor's view, 'It's trying to encourage people to do something that's not in anybody's interest,' " the judge wrote, citing Mr. Bloomberg's public musings last week.

"Such heavy-handed censorship would, moreover, fall particularly hard on artists, who frequently revel in breaking conventions or tweaking the powers that be," he wrote.

As Judge Rakoff read his decision, a handful of artists who attended the hearing applauded quietly, and Mr. Ecko's lawyers clapped him on the back.

"Now we can go paint," said Alan Ket, a 34-year-old artist from Brooklyn.

Mr. Ket said he began painting years ago on subway cars, as did Mr. Ecko. The artists he knows have long ago stopped painting on subways, he said, and now paint other things, like murals on public walls, usually with permission. His most recent painting was on a temporary wall at a music festival in Toronto, he said.

He could not recall the last time he had painted a subway car.

"I gave it up a long time ago," he said.

August 23rd, 2005, 11:33 AM
Yeah, we all know how things like media and video games (and their promotion) have NOTHING to do with youth behavior.

Talk about barking up too many trees.

December 29th, 2005, 12:12 AM
Bloomberg To Sign Three Tough Anti-Graffiti Bills Thursday

BY RUSSELL BERMAN - Special to the Sun
December 28, 2005
URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/25039

The mayor plans to sign into law on Thursday a group of bills that toughen the city's penalties for graffiti vandalism and make it illegal for anyone under 21 to carry spray paint or etching tools on public property.

The legislation, separated into three bills, also makes owners of large commercial and residential properties responsible for cleaning graffiti off their buildings.

The anti-graffiti legislation was part of a slew of bills - 27 in all - that the City Council passed in its final stated meeting last week. A chief advocate of the bills, Council Member Peter Val lone Jr., said they had been in the works for two years as lawmakers struggled to negotiate the provisions with community groups, the Police Department, and the Bloomberg administration. He cast the new restrictions and penalties as a needed response to a rise in graffiti vandalism in recent years.

"There were a lot of people who had to be convinced that the police needed these tools to continue to fight graffiti," Mr. Vallone, a Democrat of Queens who chairs the council's Public Safety Committee, said.

Under the previous law, carrying spray paint or other graffiti tools was considered a crime only if police could demonstrate that the suspect intended to deface property. This was almost impossible for police to enforce, Mr. Vallone said.

The new bill exempts those who have permission to carry the materials or those who are carrying them for a job related purpose.

"We're not talking here about your paperboy. We're talking about criminals," Mr. Vallone said. "There's no good excuse for anyone under 21 to be walking around the streets with a can of spray paint."

The bill also raises fines for misdemeanor graffiti violations to $1,000 from $500 and increases the possible jail term to a year from three months. Youthful violators of the new possession ban face a fine of $250 and 15 days in jail.

The final versions of the three bills met little opposition from City Council members, but one lawmaker, Erik Dilan of Brooklyn, voted against the bill that holds commercial and residential property owners responsible for graffiti on their buildings.

"People that own buildings that are victims of vandalism are essentially crime victims," Mr. Dilan, a Democrat, said, adding that it was "fundamentally wrong" to punish owners for violations they didn't commit. "Most property owners don't want graffiti on their buildings and want to do the right thing," he said.

The bill mandates that owners of commercial buildings or residential buildings with six or more units must remove graffiti within 60 days of a city notice or face a fine of up to $300. Building owners also can petition the city to remove the graffiti free of charge.

The new laws come nearly a year after Mayor Bloomberg, citing a growing quality of life problem, announced an anti-graffiti initiative in his State of the City address. A spokesman for the mayor, Jordan Barowitz, said Mr. Bloomberg supported the measures as "valuable tools in the city's war on graffiti."

The mayor on Thursday also is expected to sign into law an amendment to the noise code and a measure creating a commission to study ways to increase broadband Internet access across the city.

January 14th, 2006, 03:25 PM
we need help !!
we are arriving on 9 september to nyc from barcelona, spain, we want to do a graffitti in Ny, doesent matter the place
we have two questions:
where can we buy spray paints ?
where can we garff ? better a legal wall, where they are ?
someone can help us or come with us to graff togheter, we also speak spanish
we have graffitis in barcelona and in warsaw too, we have some photos of them
we will be very thakfull for your help !!
Balboa &amp; Ware
theres a place called home depot. you might want to try that. also, i believe new york has a law against selling spray paint to children under 18, so if you are under 18, you might want to bring the spray paint with you from wherever it is youre coming from. another thing to consider is rival taggers. im pretty sure you know what you are doing is illegal..so with that said... taggers are usually criminals... and instead of tagging with you, you may find yourself robbed, or beat up by other taggers. you may be tagging in the wrong place or in someones teritory and that could bring some unwanted troubles onto you.

January 17th, 2006, 10:29 AM
I can't believe some of you people responded in the way you did. Graffiti is ILLEGAL, VILE & DISGUSTING. IT IS AGAINST THE LAW. I don't know where or how some of you people live. I grew up w/my building covered in it, not just on the outside but also on the inside. I have seen people's PERSONAL homes tagged up. It is DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY, FOLKS!!! Why do some of you not get that? And I can't believe that some of you see nothing wrong w/this type of vandalism! It brings down the value of property. People don't want to move into an area that has buildings tagged up on. That's why most slums look the way it does.

I know this post started almost 3 years ago. But some of you yuppies who think this is art really need a reality check. Then again I'm sure most of you don't HAVE to live in buildings that are covered in it.

January 17th, 2006, 10:45 AM
Please turn off the colors.

It's like graffiti: Look at me!

February 2nd, 2006, 08:58 AM
but a fellow graffitti artist has died. He was one of the old school taggers in the bronx and went by the name of "krez" his name is Fernando Sanchez. Soundview area.
here is a link of his work. more stuff will be added.
his wake will be this sunday if anything. please email for more info.
thank you

February 2nd, 2006, 09:19 AM
Sorry for your loss Rev.

Please remove the link until you put something a bit more "fitting" for him or to link to in commemoration in light of the subject matter of this thread.

February 2nd, 2006, 10:47 AM
Sometimes it's best to keep opinions to ourselves. especially considering the timing and the circumstances.

February 2nd, 2006, 11:40 AM
I never said he was the greatest and never said that all his work was up.
Those are simpler tags that I had availble now. But hey, with your attitude, Im sure alot of people will remember and feel sorry for you when its your time. the question is how they will remember you. But in anyway, hope other things will make your day.

Sorry Rez, but looking at that crap he put up, his loss is not a big one.

I feel sorry that he DIED, but his crap is simply defacement. I do not see anything artistic about cryptographically "tagging" your name or callsign up all over the city.

If this guy did any piece truly worth seeing, or saving, I would feel more for him, but seeing the stuff in your link just pisses me off.

February 2nd, 2006, 12:18 PM
Ninjahedge, you're really out of line here. You don't always need to hammer your point into the ground. Leave it alone.

February 2nd, 2006, 01:12 PM
Just sayin'...

February 2nd, 2006, 01:53 PM
Just sayin'...


February 2nd, 2006, 02:13 PM
Point made.

February 10th, 2006, 10:48 AM

Building owners will be fined for unremoved graffiti

Downtown Express photo by Bob Arihood

A storefront at 81 Avenue A at E. Fifth St. that houses a karaoke club is covered with every imaginable type of graffiti, from markings and spray paint to acid etching on the window and stickers.

By Chad Smith

With a resurgence of graffiti overrunning walls, windows and almost every nook and cranny in New York City, someone’s going to pay.

But it won’t be the vandals, at least not this time.

Instead, every commercial building owner or residential building owner with six or more units will be fined if they don’t remove graffiti from their premises after receiving a warning, according to a new city law that goes into effect on March 29.

The law has drawn uneasy responses from landlords and those who represent them. But some graffiti writers are unmoved.

“The law is just more burden on landlords,” said Sion Misrahi, who owns residential and commercial property on the Lower East Side.

The fines may reach up to $300, but the city will remove the graffiti for free if the property owner contacts the mayor’s office and signs a liability waiver. Once that is done, cleaners hired by the city through the Community Assistance Unit will arrive at the building and attempt to remove the graffiti.

Owners have 60 days to respond to written notices left on their property and they cannot be fined more than once in a six-month period. However, if, after 30 days, the city receives no word from the owner, workers contracted by the city can enter or access property grounds and “abate the nuisance by removing or concealing the graffiti.”

Although graffiti’s heyday is considered to have been during the 1980s and early ’90s, a quick walk through the Lower East Side undermines this assumption: tags are ubiquitous; some completely cover apartment buildings’ front doors and storefronts. All the scrawl has left some residents ready for a change.

“This is a great new law,” said a woman who just gave her first name, Clara, and who has lived on the Lower East Side for 27 years. “The landlord don’t do nothing for this building,” she said. Layers of multicolored tags also mar the inside of her building on 231 E. Fourth St. The walls are a medley of marker ink and spray paint that covers the mailboxes and even creeps up the stairwells.

The building’s landlord didn’t respond to numerous phone calls seeking comment.

This new law that might help spruce up Clara’s building was first proposed about two years ago by City Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., who represents Astoria, Queens, and is chairperson of the Council’s Committee on Public Safety. Vallone has emerged as one of the city’s most outspoken graffiti opponents. He said he and members of the committee were careful when drafting this law not to overburden the landlords or infringe upon their rights.

“We knew that we had to try and make everyone happy,” said Vallone in reference to property owners and lawmakers. Some considerations include a provision that takes into account the difficulty of cleaning graffiti during winter months. According to that provision, summonses will not be issued by the city between Nov. 1 and March 31.

Perhaps more important, though, Vallone didn’t want the new graffiti law to entangle the city in subsequent First Amendment litigation. “That was the most difficult part of this whole thing,” said Vallone. In other words, if property owners say that they do in fact want the graffiti on their premises — which constitutes a form of free speech — the graffiti can stay and they won’t be fined. However, that particular property owner would “actually have to have something in writing, [such as a check stub that proves payment on a commissioned work], which would state that they really did want the graffiti on their property,” said Mike Murphy, Vallone’s communications director.

While lawmakers may have carefully considered the legal complexities, they may have at the same time overlooked some more intricate social aspects pertaining to graffiti and street culture when they were crafting the law.

“The people or landlords in the more impoverished areas, which are more prone to being affected by graffiti, are likely to suffer at the hands of this law,” said Dave Villorente, a well-known graffiti writer in the 1980s.

Villorente, 36 of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, who used to be known for his tag “Chino,” now works as an artist and journalist. “In the end, you’re just going to be hurting those in the poorer communities; it’s just ironic,” he said of the new law. Villorente also said that hardcore “bombers” — graffitists who quickly throw up impromptu murals and tag names — would revandalize the newly cleaned surfaces, which would give them “a clean canvas every few months.” In essence, he argued, the law wouldn’t stop the graffitists.

On a recent day, Stan, 23, stood in front of Scrap Yard, a store at W. Broadway and Canal St., and reinforced Villorente’s idea. Scrap Yard is a store whose shelves are filled with graffiti magazines, stickers and videos, and Stan is an active graffiti writer who lives on the Bowery and does his graffiti work without landlords’ permission.

“I’ve been caught before and I’ve paid fines — it’s not that big of a deal,” said Stan, after an unsuccessful attempt to buy spray paint at the store. He then added in reaction to Vallone’s law, “We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing.”

Real estate lobbyists point to various loopholes that they say are flaws in the law. For example, the law doesn’t consider other social implications, like gang graffiti, says Frank Ricci, director of governmental affairs of New York’s Rent Stabilization Association. “Just the other day a landlord told me that he had been threatened by a gang member and warned not to remove the graffiti on his building,” Ricci said.

Although these concerns aren’t addressed, Vallone’s law does, however, consider the changing nature of modern graffiti and is ready to accommodate building owners who have “alternative” types of graffiti on their property. Some alternative types include hydrofluoric acid etchings. These etchings appear on glass doors and windows after a vandal douses the glass surface with the acid, which softens it and allows him or her to engrave a tag. This irremovable type of graffiti has forced property owners to replace the glass.

“The city would do everything it could in order to remedy the etchings,” said Murphy of Vallone’s staff. Moreover, some owners claim that the cost to replace a window can be up to $1,000, and at this price, they may be forced into allowing these disfigured windows to remain. However, Murphy said, “If the city couldn’t clean the etchings, the owner wouldn’t be liable.”

Indeed, graffiti has bedeviled city officials since it became a ubiquitous form of urban expression in the late ’70s. Since then, the city has taken great measures in attempting to eradicate it, as the city did in the ’80s when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority refused to let subway trains leave the yards until they were completely cleaned of graffiti in order to discourage vandals from tagging them. More recently, the imposition of stricter laws — also at Vallone’s behest — have made it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to possess spray paint, broad-tipped markers or etching acid in public.

But the city has never punished property owners for graffiti before, and the law is bound to stir up controversy. There is the inherent difficulty lawmakers face in trying to find a balance in keeping the city clean, while not completely squelching artistic freedom in a city that holds such freedoms dear.

“Graffiti gives the city character,” said Caroline Aim, who owns the Tomato Store, an organic gourmet food shop on the corner of Canal and Washington Sts. The store has a graffiti mural on its outside wall, which is about 9 feet high and 35 feet wide. She wouldn’t be liable under the new law, because she commissioned the work.

“The mural was actually good for business; we had lots of people stopping in on our store when the kids did the work,” she said. Aim paused and then added in concession, “I guess if the city wants owners to get their property cleaned, though, they probably should.”

Downtown Express is published by
Community Media LLC.

February 10th, 2006, 02:59 PM
Can they fine the MTA?

April 25th, 2006, 01:39 PM
April 25, 2006
Graffiti Back in Subways, Indelibly This Time

Acid-etched graffiti on an A train in Manhattan Monday. Officials say only the newest subway cars, which have plastic-coated windows, are resistant to the indelible markings.

Of all the images from the 1970's and 1980's of a city out of control, perhaps none is etched more deeply into the public consciousness than that of the graffiti-covered subway train screeching into a station, every inch of its surface covered with a rich patina of spray-painted slashes and scrawls.

It took decades of work and millions of dollars to clean up the trains. But now officials are seeing a fresh surge of subway graffiti, in which windows are irreparably damaged with acid. Raising the specter of the bad old days, transit officials are vowing to fight a problem they say is even more menacing than the graffiti of decades past.

"Not on my watch are we going to have what John Lindsay had when he was mayor," said Barry L. Feinstein, the chairman of the Transit Committee of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, referring to the mayor who came into office in 1966 just as the craze for marking subway cars with slogans, gang names and signatures — known as "tags" — hit its stride.

"I've seen it on every line, on almost every train," said Andrew B. Albert, chairman of the New York City Riders Council, a state-sponsored advocacy group, who said the acid-based graffiti first appeared on subway windows about six months ago. Mr. Albert is a nonvoting member of the Transit Committee, which met yesterday.

He said the most common material used by the new breed of graffiti vandals is Armor Etch-All, an etching acid sold in art supply stores that is used by craftspeople to etch into glass or other materials. To create graffiti with the acid, it is mixed with paint or shoe polish, Mr. Albert said. And when applied to subway windows, it most commonly leaves broad, sweeping, indelible marks, which subway crews cannot remove in subway yards, as they do with painted graffiti.

Transit officials said that most subway windows are vulnerable and pose an expensive problem because they cost up to $130 each to replace. Only the newest of subway cars, acquired since about 2000, are resistant to the new generation of graffiti, because their windows are protected with Mylar, a plastic coating that can be peeled off and replaced.

Charles F. Seaton, a spokesman for New York City Transit, the arm of the transportation authority that oversees the subways, said yesterday that one option being explored is to apply Mylar coating to all subway car windows, but that the cost and effectiveness had not been determined.

Lawrence G. Reuter, the president of New York City Transit, told Mr. Feinstein's committee that his staff would report next month on how the subway cars were being defaced and what could be done about it.

Mr. Feinstein instructed transit officials to find out whether the etching acid posed a hazard to riders, as well as windows. Anyone who touches it before it is embedded in glass or dries could be burned, he said.

Mr. Albert said he knew of no cases of riders being burned, but the hazard may be serious because the current graffiti vandals tend to make their marks on trains that are in service. Their predecessors in the 1970's were more likely to sneak into subway yards and deface stationary trains when no passengers were nearby.

Another difference is that the new subway graffiti usually looks like a crude scrawl, rather than the detailed writing or representational art that was common in the graffiti of years past and has shown up again on the sides of buildings from Williamsburg to the South Bronx. The crude etching-acid graffiti is also easily distinguished from the messages that vandals have long carved into subway windows using knives or sharp objects.

The city's resurgent graffiti problem, on buildings as well as subways, has not escaped the notice of City Hall. In December, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg signed into law a ban on possession of "graffiti instruments," including etching acid, by anyone under 21. Besides etching acid, the ban covers such things as aerosol paint and broad-tipped indelible markers, which are used by graffiti vandals on buildings.

Opponents of the city ban have said it infringes on freedom of speech. Yesterday, according to The Associated Press, a lawyer said he would file suit today in federal court in Manhattan to challenge the ban as "overly broad." The lawyer, Daniel Perez, said he was representing seven high school and college students who are supported by Marc Ecko, a fashion designer.

Mr. Albert said that volunteers with his group would conduct spot checks at art supply stores across the city to see if merchants are promoting sales of the etching acid.

"We want to see if it is right out there on the counter," he said.


Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

April 25th, 2006, 07:28 PM
The Times, which usually writes about graffiti vandals sympathetically, gave this subject the treatment it deserves. Meanwhile, as for Marc Ecko, patron saint of graffiti and--ahem--the First Amendment, there's a simple way to make him see the light: give a fifteeen-year-old a container of the acid, point him towards a big plate glass window of either Ecko's store or condominium, and presto: Ecko's views on this matter become considerably more conservative.

April 26th, 2006, 12:42 PM
Etched windows bother people? Is it obstructing your view of the dark tunnels or something?

April 26th, 2006, 01:38 PM
What kind of glass is vulnerable to this etching?

Last time I checked, glass was the material you stored acid in!

As for the Mylar, that is subject to damage as well. They will do a combo etch/scratch.

The only thing I can think of that woudl eb a solution to this wuold be some sort of window where you coud take it out and get it re-surfaced by putting it into a bath or a hot mold or something.

The other thing is to make that etchnig stuff harder to egt a hold of, or tag it on internet sales or some otehr method of being able to trace who is doing all this destructive taggnig.

And Clyde, you are right. Who needs to see what station you are pulling up into. I mean, GOD, you would think people would know by the crystal clear announcements that teh conductors give what station they are at!!!!

April 26th, 2006, 02:52 PM
And Clyde, you are right. Who needs to see what station you are pulling up into. I mean, GOD, you would think people would know by the crystal clear announcements that teh conductors give what station they are at!!!!

The windows do not become opaque, you can still see out of them. And I'm sure a majority of people know what stop they're arriving at without looking at the signs.


If I can see the people in this car perfectly, there is no visual problem.

April 26th, 2006, 06:02 PM
Clyde thats not the point; its a quality of life issue. We are noticing a similar resurgence in graffiti in JC. Much like when NYC had its problems in the 70s and 80s, JC went right along with our big sister. I'am even noticing it where there was never any graffiti before.

April 26th, 2006, 08:03 PM
Don't bother, JCMAN20--Clyde is about to go down any one of a number of predictable paths:

-- The Man should stop being so uptight!
-- Who is to say what is art?
-- First you crack down on the graffiti artists..who knows what's next?
-- A little graffiti is a good thing...

And so on, and so on.

April 26th, 2006, 08:49 PM
The Times, which usually writes about graffiti vandals sympathetically, gave this subject the treatment it deserves. Meanwhile, as for Marc Ecko, patron saint of graffiti and--ahem--the First Amendment, there's a simple way to make him see the light: give a fifteeen-year-old a container of the acid, point him towards a big plate glass window of either Ecko's store or condominium, and presto: Ecko's views on this matter become considerably more conservative.

You're right on target JD. I totally agree with you.

I'd love to see how a pro-graffiti supporter feels after having his business or building tagged.

If you want to have some expression, go buy a canvas and spray paint that --- don't spray paint the building I live in with some ugly shit that isn't even legible.

It would be like me going up to someone on the street and spray painting their suit or t-shirt and then claiming it was freedom of expression.

April 26th, 2006, 11:39 PM
If I can see the people in this car perfectly, there is no visual problem.

Lowest common denominator argument. A homeless person huddles under a cardboard box and isn't directly hit by rain. No shelter problem.

April 27th, 2006, 12:24 AM
Clyde thats not the point; its a quality of life issue. We are noticing a similar resurgence in graffiti in JC. Much like when NYC had its problems in the 70s and 80s, JC went right along with our big sister. I'am even noticing it where there was never any graffiti before.
I understand that it is a quality of life issue, but I don't see the difference between having dirty subway cars/stations and having etched windows. I don't have a problem with it and am curious to know why someone would be bothered by it. Not as an overall graffiti issue, just the etched windows.

Don't bother, JCMAN20--Clyde is about to go down any one of a number of predictable paths:

-- The Man should stop being so uptight!
-- Who is to say what is art?
-- First you crack down on the graffiti artists..who knows what's next?
-- A little graffiti is a good thing...

And so on, and so on.
:D I wasn't going to go down those paths, I'm more interested in why people have a problem with it.

I'd love to see how a pro-graffiti supporter feels after having his business or building tagged.

If you want to have some expression, go buy a canvas and spray paint that --- don't spray paint the building I live in with some ugly shit that isn't even legible.
But it wouldn't be graffiti if it was on a canvas. Depending on who you are, graffiti means different things. Some are in it for the art, others are in it for the fame, while there are those who just want to destroy. They can be a mixture of these things, but the thing they all share is their addiction to indulge in the act, which I think alot of people don't understand. You wouldn't tell a smoker to just quit smoking and expect to have favorable results.

Lowest common denominator argument. A homeless person huddles under a cardboard box and isn't directly hit by rain. No shelter problem.
How are etched windows affecting you directly?

April 27th, 2006, 05:25 AM
There's no point in arguing with this person. He's not going to change his mind, or see any other point of view.

April 27th, 2006, 07:25 AM
Since you already "understand that it is a quality of life issue," there is no point in expanding on it. Let's turn this around, Clyde.

Why don't you tell us why it is so important to allow someone the freedom of expression to etch train windows with acid.

Or...Why do you have a problem with people having a problem with it?

April 27th, 2006, 08:58 AM
Since you already "understand that it is a quality of life issue," there is no point in expanding on it. Let's turn this around, Clyde.

Why don't you tell us why it is so important to allow someone the freedom of expression to etch train windows with acid.

Or...Why do you have a problem with people having a problem with it?
I just don't understand why people make a big deal about something when it's not a real problem. Does it look nice, no. But is affecting anyone? I don't think so. I mean, the city and the MTA obviously have to deal with it, but I'm talking more on an average joe level. Litter is a quality of life issue, but I don't see people up in arms with the NY Post because their newspapers are left scattered on the train/station. The only person that has actually responded to this was JCMAN, while everyone else writes me off as a troll or switches the discussion to graffiti in general when I'm more interested in focusing on the etching first.

Simply, why does it bother you?

There's no point in arguing with this person. He's not going to change his mind, or see any other point of view.
Why/What would I have to change my mind about? I'm asking people why they have a problem with it, so how am I not trying to see other POVs?

April 27th, 2006, 09:16 AM
Clyde, you are comparing apples to dead horses, and you insist upon beating the dead horse until it admits it is really an apple.

Newspapers on the platform are correctable. You can pick them up. People ARE annoyed about it, but no one newspaper costs $150 to replace.

And you obviously have not seen some of the more covered trains. One siggie looks like someone hawked phlegm (Or another substance) all over the window and wrote their name in it. 5 people doing it an you have a window that is difficult to see out of.

It is destructive and it is the equivalent of a dog pissing on a fire hydrant. All these kids are doing is marking territory and doing something illegal. Trying to gain some sort of peer standing do to their own small self image and insecurity.

It is a sign of their weakness, and of their families reluctance to keep in touch, or keep track of Jr.

You can keep arguing this all you want, but even graffiti "artists" think this is low.

I am in 100% agreement with people who say that these kids should have other people come up and tag their belongings. I guarantee that NO tagger would want his side window etched even if he could still see out of it. They should afford the same respect to other peoples belongings (including those of the city) as they would want their own.

And for the few that really "do not care", they should find a neighborhood that "does not care" either. I hear there are a few located under some bridges in the city. :P

April 27th, 2006, 09:42 AM
I was never arguing or advocating anything, I was asking why people had a problem with it. Thank you, Ninjahedge, for actually answering my question.

April 27th, 2006, 10:00 AM
Clyde, the thing about your posts that got people ticked was the way they were phrased. You seemed to be challenging them and their position, not actually asking for an explanation.

You say "I don't see where this is a bad thing" (Which insinuates that the person you are responding to is wrong), "Why do you see it that way" (Which implies a rhetorical question, that you are looking not for an explanation, but to challenge the point of view of the poster).

So if you were genuinely trying to get more perspective on the issue, you may want to be a bit more careful with how you phrase it.

If you really were looking to counter someones opinion on the subject, then you got what most people do when they do that.

'nuff said.

April 27th, 2006, 10:03 AM
But is affecting anyone? I don't think so. I mean, the city and the MTA obviously have to deal with it, but I'm talking more on an average joe level.Well, if the MTA has to deal with it, then the "average Joe" winds up paying for it.

April 27th, 2006, 10:10 AM
Clyde seems to be reluctant to take a position on issues.

April 27th, 2006, 12:13 PM
Clyde seems to be reluctant to take a position on issues.
How so? In this thread, I said I didn't mind the etching and asked people why they felt the way they did. I didn't set out to take a position because I already had my own perspective, but wanted to see it from other people's POV.

Well, if the MTA has to deal with it, then the "average Joe" winds up paying for it.
Yes, I'm aware of that. And that would have been an answer to my question, but it seems you like to dance around the issue without giving your own personal viewpoint.

Clyde, the thing about your posts that got people ticked was the way they were phrased. You seemed to be challenging them and their position, not actually asking for an explanation.

You say "I don't see where this is a bad thing" (Which insinuates that the person you are responding to is wrong), "Why do you see it that way" (Which implies a rhetorical question, that you are looking not for an explanation, but to challenge the point of view of the poster).

So if you were genuinely trying to get more perspective on the issue, you may want to be a bit more careful with how you phrase it.

If you really were looking to counter someones opinion on the subject, then you got what most people do when they do that.

'nuff said.
Yeah, I wasn't completely sure why people were making judgement calls about me, but I guess that's the reason. I wasn't trying to challenge anyone's opinion, I just wanted insight into how they feel about the etching and why.

Anyway, does anyone have any thoughts that could expand this discussion, about graffiti or otherwise?

April 27th, 2006, 12:27 PM
My 2 cents:

First there is a difference between graffiti and tagging. Tagging for the most part fits your definition of an "addiction".

Basically if it isn't your property don't tag it. (Put the shoe on the other foot and see how you'd feel.)

On the other hand there are certain buildings that look incredible with graffiti -- one could even say it's an improvement, but usually only someone who has no direct interest in the building would say that.

If condoning graffiti opens the door to any SWACK, TAZZ or EL5 that wants to deface any surface around then I say we gotta shut that door.

Discretion doesn't seem to be a part of the game -- and that means that taggers can't be left to their own devices.

April 27th, 2006, 01:03 PM
It is tagging, whether it be etched or spraypainted, that people object to, for all the same reasons.

There are nine pages in this thread that discuss why many people dislike tagging - not sure there are many more ways it can be said.

April 29th, 2006, 02:16 PM


May 2nd, 2006, 04:01 AM
May 2, 2006
Judge Rules Against New York City Ban on 'Graffiti Instruments'

In a setback to the city's efforts to curtail graffiti, a federal judge ordered the city yesterday to stop enforcing its ban on the possession of spray paint and broad-tipped markers, saying the law unfairly singled out a narrow age group.

Judge George B. Daniels of Federal District Court in Manhattan, who issued his ruling over the objections of a city attorney, issued a preliminary injunction, to take effect at 5 p.m. on Thursday, against a law banning the possession of what the city calls "graffiti instruments" by people 18, 19 and 20. The judge left in place a ban on possession of etching acid, a substance used to indelibly deface subway windows and other surfaces, by people under 21.

Gabriel Taussig, the chief of the administrative law division of the city's Law Department, said the city would appeal the decision before the Thursday deadline imposed by Judge Daniels.

The ban on tools used to create graffiti "imposes reasonable conditions on a limited class of individuals," Mr. Taussig said in an interview late yesterday. He said that 70 percent of the city's graffiti had been found to be the work of people under age 21.

In finding that the city had improperly singled out a narrow age group in its ban, Judge Daniels ruled in favor of a group of seven high school and college students who sued the city last week with financial backing from Marc Ecko, a Manhattan fashion designer who has championed graffiti as an established art form.

Mr. Ecko said yesterday that the group did not intend to defend anyone's right to vandalize property. But he said that many property owners in the city had allowed, and in some cases paid for, graffiti on their buildings.

"It is a visual dialect practiced around the world," Mr. Ecko said.

The plaintiffs had not asked Judge Daniels to lift the city's ban on etching acid, a particularly destructive material that in recent months has been used to mar thousands of subway car windows.

The city ban, which was written by Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr. and took effect on Jan. 1, strengthened a prohibition that had already been in place on the sale of graffiti tools to those 18 and under.

The new rules broaden the ban to include possession and sale of the tools, and extend it to people up to 21.

Virginia Waters, a city attorney who appeared before Judge Daniels yesterday, said that the judge had not sufficiently weighed written arguments submitted by the city only hours before his ruling yesterday afternoon.

The preliminary injunction prevents the city from enforcing its ban on spray paint and broad-tipped markers while Judge Daniels hears more arguments and issues a ruling on the broader lawsuit, which seeks to permanently strike down the ban.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

May 2nd, 2006, 04:07 AM
^ Bad news.

So maybe the wall murals should not be classified as the same thing as Grafitti?
Yep, that's where Ecko needs to redirect his efforts.


May 2nd, 2006, 09:28 AM
Ecko also needs to direct his efforts towards getting his flagship store on 42nd St. opened so they can take down the scaffolding over the facade of this great old building (now covered with a big sign for the Ecko Store "coming soon"):


May 2nd, 2006, 10:02 AM
Here's a fact for Ecko to absorb and ponder: most worthy wall murals will be destroyed by taggers.

On this score, he's obviously an idiot. Folks are entitled to be idiots provided they don't harm others. Here, he's harming us all. And so is the judge, who obviously is also an idiot.

May 2nd, 2006, 11:45 AM
The thing he should consider is the fact that these instruments can be used for vandalism, and are for teh most part.

It will not ruin a wall muralists "career" if he cannot posess spray paint in NYC until he is 21. Maybe the rule should be rewritten to exclude the forbiddance on any licenced and approved "city beautification" or "Privately funded and endorsed" project?

Maybe the Ecko guy would like it if people tagegd his store, or used boad tipped markers to "artistically express" themselves on his paid ads.

May 2nd, 2006, 06:08 PM
Nevermind, I found what I was looking for.

May 7th, 2006, 10:30 AM


May 8th, 2006, 01:37 PM
See we are having our own problem here in JC!

Jersey City Residents Upset Over Vandalism
City Streets Get Sprayed Red


(CBS) JERSEY CITY Red painted graffiti can be found here, along these Jersey City Street’s: Linden Ave. and Scott St. Residents here are shocked and angry.

Jersey City resident, Jesse Lane woke up this morning to find the trunk of her car covered in red graffiti and boy is she mad at the vandals, “I'd punch'em, I'd wrap them all over the place…don’t the parents, look to see if their children are in bed at two, three in the morning?”

Lane is far from alone, when she and her neighbors took a look around, they were shocked: Doors, cars and fences spanning two blocks, covered with cryptic graffiti.

“I can't believe they would do something like this,” said Lane.

Even the garage door of St.Paul's church wasn't spared the spray paint. And the church caretaker says it's not the first time
Jersey City police were on the scene this morning, gathering clues and empty paint cans, the vandals apparently hit the neighborhood in the dead of night.

The police believe the vandalism took place between 11 and 6 o'clock in the morning.

May 8th, 2006, 02:55 PM
That ^^ is some art-less graffiti ...

May 8th, 2006, 04:09 PM
It's not cryptic. "J-Hood" and D-Block" refers to the rap industry. J-Hood being a rapper and D-Block being the group he is affiliated with. They're based out of Yonkers, so I'm not sure why it popped up in Jersey City.

May 8th, 2006, 06:44 PM
Commuters. : P

May 11th, 2006, 06:26 AM
NY1's Michael Scotto filed this exclusive report.

In the past, spray-paint was used to deface subway stations and trains. But now vandals armed with a toxic substance known as etching acid are damaging subway car windows across the city.

According to transit officials, this latest form of graffiti has been prevalent for the last few years. And they say it has shown up on two thirds of the more than 6,000 subway cars in service.

Unlike spray paint, etching acid is permanent, and can not be washed off, which is why City Councilman Peter Vallone wants to enact a sweeping ban that would prevent anyone without a special permit from buying it.

Currently, you must be older than 21 to purchase it. Vallone is looking at how someone would go about obtaining a license. The idea is to ensure that etching acid is still available to artists who use it legally.

The NYPD is already trying to crack down on the problem. Officers assigned to the subway system have been told to be on the lookout for people carrying bottles of shoe polish, which are being used to store and disguise etching acid.

The Mayor's office wouldn't comment on the legislation since it hasn't seen it yet, but Andrew Albert of the New York City Transit Riders Council welcomes it.

"There is not one line that you don't see the etching on the glass, not only on the glass on the sides of the cars, but on the glass between cars," says Albert.

Vallone has become the target of graffiti artists who have sued him over a ban on spray paint. But the lawyer involved in the most recent case says he doesn't see a problem with this bill. Other civil liberties experts have questions.

"What we would have to have is a guarantee that the permit process is not cumbersome and not expensive," says civil liberties attorney Norman Siegel.

Vallone says he's still working on the specifics, and hopes to have the legislation introduced within the next two weeks.

May 17th, 2006, 10:02 PM
This is a crime, plain and simple. Why is every piece of shit romanticized now. It's not expression, it's vandalism. Just think how you would like it if some punk spray painted your home. I actually felt bad when in Europe that my city is the "home" of this mess that has spread across the globe.

Maybe if commisioned, it would be somewhat ok, as far as the ghetto-ization of america is increasingly ok, but 99% of this is disrespectful and disgusting. I can't stand to see it. Nothing can be nice with these little punks. Look at the friggin' BQE. It's no where near complete and it looks like a war zone. I would love to see these people punished for all the shit that they spray.

Bet you never knew that people hire street artists to graffiti on their wall.

May 18th, 2006, 08:35 AM
Bet you never knew that people hire street artists to graffiti on their wall.


Maybe if commisioned, it would be somewhat ok

Isn't that what he said? If the piece was actually commissioned that it was OK, but if it is not, or worse yet, destructive scratchiti, etching or tagging that it is not?

Atra, you are pointing out something he agrees with in a manner that will cause a fight because you imply that he doesn't. Was that your intent or did you just misread his post?

May 18th, 2006, 06:15 PM
When it's commissioned, it's not graffiti.

It's mural art.

It's not vandalism.

When it's done without permission it's criminal vandalism.

It's like a tattoo; when you pay for it in a parlor, it's OK. When the capo puts a number on you, it's something else. The distinction is coercion. Violation. Violence. One person making decisions about changing the property of others, and carrying out those decisions without assent.

When you choose to give your money to a street person, it's one thing; when he sticks a rod in your ribs for the same money it's another.

Where's the ambiguity? It's disingenuous to claim there is any.

May 23rd, 2006, 03:31 AM
May 23, 2006
With $25 Million, M.T.A. Plans a New War on Subway Graffiti
By THOMAS J. LUECK, New York Times

Adopting a drastic measure that recalled battles against subway graffiti from the 1970's and 80's, transit officials yesterday said they planned to spend $25 million to replace the windows in about 5,000 cars that are vulnerable to being indelibly marred by graffiti vandals using knives or etching acid.

A senior police official, appearing before the committee of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that oversees the subways, attributed the recent surge in graffiti to competing gangs seeking to deface or "tag" subway cars with their symbols.

"This is an underworld, a segment of society that doesn't see this as a crime," said the official, Chief James P. Hall, the commander of the police transit bureau.

Although most of the vandalism is being committed by New Yorkers, he said, it has taken on a global dimension with vandals from as far away as Europe having been caught putting their tags on subway car exteriors, and photographing their handiwork as a memento of their vacation.

Transit officials described the planned investment in windows as a partial solution. The replacements would resemble windows already in use in the newest of the system's 6,200 subway cars, which are coated with Mylar, a resilient polyester that can be peeled off and replaced when damaged by graffiti, keeping the glass underneath clean.

The protective coating is necessary because, unlike spray paint, scratches and acid-based graffiti are impossible to remove. "The battle is lost" once the windows are damaged, said Michael Lombardi, senior vice president for subways of New York City Transit, a division of the authority.

Some transit officials said the plan did not go far enough, and urged the authority to consider more vigilant steps, like equipping trains with cameras to capture vandals in action.

The chairman of the transit committee, Barry Feinstein, said the authority should hire security guards for each of its depots and storage yards to supplement the work of the police and to keep vandals out.

"This becomes a contest" among vandals, he said. "We need to get our arms around this, and from what I am hearing, we are not."

Mr. Lombardi said $25 million would be included in a proposed 2007 budget that the authority is to consider later this year. If approved, he said, $10 million will be spent to buy and install the new windows and $5 million will be used annually for three years to remove graffiti.

Chief Hall's description of gangs trying to outdo one another in defacing subway cars was reminiscent of the 1970's and 80's, when the subways were coated in painted graffiti, offering a symbol of a city run amok. Although the current surge is not as pervasive, graffiti applied with knives and acid is more destructive.

And, Chief Hall added, policing the problem is just as difficult today as it was in the past. Vandals armed with knives or etching acid can deface a subway window "in under 10 seconds, and make their exit," he said, and those using spray paint often make their mark after midnight, sneaking into tunnels or storage yards.

Mr. Lombardi said he could not provide an estimate as to how much the transit agency was spending to remove scratches or acid-based graffiti from windows. But for now, he said, only windows that are defaced with profanity or racial epithets are replaced, leaving the scratches and acid scrawls.

In some cases, train cars that have been marred by a large amount of graffiti are taken out of service for hours of repairs, leading to service disruptions, Mr. Lombardi said. He said the number of such major graffiti attacks, which require at least eight hours of work in terminals, had nearly doubled last year, to 101, from 52 in 2004. So far this year, there have been 72 similar cases, he said.

While graffiti arrests in the subway system declined last year, to 110, from 149 in 2004, they have surged so far this year to 122, according to police records.

Under a city law that went into effect this year, etching acid, typically used by artists who work in glass, cannot be sold to people under 21. Chief Hall said that in a recent undercover investigation a 17-year-old had not been able to buy the acid at several stores, but that many young vandals arrested for graffiti vandalism had easily bought the acid on the Internet.

New York City Transit officials said they had security guards assigned to several subway depots and yards, but declined to respond yesterday to Mr. Feinstein's proposal about hiring more to protect subways from vandals.

The officials said that the proposal to put cameras in subway cars was already under consideration and that discussions were under way with several companies that manufacture video monitors. But they said it was too early to say how many of the cameras would be used in subway cars, or when.

The transit agency has budgeted $25 million to put cameras in hundreds of buses and at the entrances of about 60 subway stations, but subway trains are not included in that plan.

May 23rd, 2006, 10:05 AM
I just cannot understand a person who will willfully deface the property making it look bad for everyone else.

May 23rd, 2006, 10:28 AM
I just cannot understand a person who will willfully deface the property making it look bad for everyone else.

Then you do not get out much.

May 23rd, 2006, 11:56 AM
Then you do not get out much.
So how would getting out much help a person understand graffiti vandalism?

May 23rd, 2006, 12:19 PM
So how would getting out much help a person understand graffiti vandalism?

The fact that if he had, he would have seen the marking trait apparent in just about every adolescent out there. From doodles on a desktop to carving a tree, from the marks on the bathroom wall, pen markings on subway ads, "comment" stickers placed everywhere it is more than apparent that kids want to have some sort of marking either for their "territory" or just to acnowledge that they have some sort of impact on the world we all live in.

If he had "gotten out" more, he would have seen this a bit more and realized where these kids were probably coming from.

Then again, maybe I put too much faith in his perceptive abilities. He could always "get out" more and never see all this and be able to deduce why kids (mostly adolescent) do this kind of thing. ;)

May 23rd, 2006, 12:43 PM
^ Clear answer.

This "marking trait" seems like a biological force as you present it. From there, the next step is vandalism, seen perhaps as an understandable response.

Sexual horniness is also a biological trait of teenagers. How should we respond when it finds expression in rape? Regrettable but understandable?

May 23rd, 2006, 03:48 PM
^ Clear answer.

This "marking trait" seems like a biological force as you present it. From there, the next step is vandalism, seen perhaps as an understandable response.

Sexual horniness is also a biological trait of teenagers. How should we respond when it finds expression in rape? Regrettable but understandable?

Understandable is not equivocal to tolerable Abl. Also, I would appreciate it if you would not make such extreme extrapolations in your analogies. Yes falling off a bike is similar to crashing your car into a group of pedestrians at the mall, but the similarity stops at its most nascent point.

May 23rd, 2006, 04:34 PM
Understandable is not equivocal to tolerable
That's it.

I would appreciate it if you would not make such extreme extrapolations in your analogies.
Not sure what you mean by that.

Just asking questions, trying to find out what you mean. Most of the time I agree with you, sometimes haven't formed an opinion.

Helps me clarify my own views. Might help you with the same.

May 23rd, 2006, 05:22 PM
IOW, comparing youthfull expression, good or bad, with rape.

Comparing a schoolyard fight to murder.

They both may be apples or oranges, but we are talking one tiny little fruit compared to one the size of a mac truck.

May 23rd, 2006, 06:57 PM
Microcosm and macrocosm.

May 23rd, 2006, 07:19 PM
Microcosm and macrocosm.


June 24th, 2006, 01:27 PM


June 24th, 2006, 05:19 PM


June 24th, 2006, 06:12 PM
Looks like crap to me

June 24th, 2006, 06:55 PM
Looks like crap to me

Crap has more substance.

June 24th, 2006, 08:34 PM
What a tired thread. Defenders of (ahem) artistic expression vs. those who don't want to see the public sphere smeared.

Not going to jump in; the pages & pages of back & forth have said plenty.

June 24th, 2006, 10:02 PM
I think GRAFFITI is a form of art, it is a shame that most have chosen public space as their gallery. A friend of my daughter, who graduated from LaGuardia High School, is an extremely talented young graffiti artist and he dispises those punks who have made it difficult for him to get recognized as an artist..

June 25th, 2006, 03:06 AM
June 25, 2006
High-Tech Graffiti: Spray Paint Is So 20th Century

James Powderly, left, and Evan Roth of the Graffiti Research Lab in New York with elements for their digital projections.

Video: Rethinking Graffiti (http://nytimes.feedroom.com/?fr_story=628f5b1c8e60b4b30fe9522c3beb84792d154953 )

NEW YORK CITY may have given birth to modern-day graffiti art, but how is it keeping up with the times?

Graffiti in its traditional form — involving aerosol cans of spray paint and an inviting flat surface — still dominates on the streets. But online things are evolving quickly.

Techniques are debated in forums, and photos of tags, or signatures, are constantly uploaded and swapped on popular photo-sharing Web sites like flickr.com (http://flickr.com/). Sites like Wooster Collective (woostercollective.com (http://woostercollective.com/)) function as digital galleries and as clearinghouses for street art on an international level.

Now New York has its own center for the study of graffiti technology. The nascent Graffiti Research Lab is masterminded by two tech-minded artists, Evan Roth and James Powderly, and run from the Eyebeam gallery in Chelsea, a nonprofit arts and technology center where both men are fellows.

The purpose of the project is to rethink how people make and look at graffiti and street art, not by making the stuff but by developing tools that graffiti writers could potentially use. "I'm not a graffiti writer," Mr. Powderly, 29, said. "I like to say I'm a graffiti engineer."

Using their odd combination of training — Mr. Powderly's background is in aerospace robotics and NASA-financed Mars missions; Mr. Roth's is in coding, architecture and Web design — they develop new methods of self-expression. These include, so far, a panoply of digital projection techniques, L.E.D.-driven light art and specially written computer programs.

"As more and more people learn to program at a younger age, and computers get cheaper, graffiti is eventually going to have these technological elements as a part of it," Mr. Roth said.

Mr. Roth, 28, is a wunderkind in his tiny but thriving world. A valedictorian of the Parsons School of Design's graduate program in design and technology, he developed a thesis project called Graffiti Analysis, which used sophisti- cated motion-tracking techniques and custom-written code to analyze and record a graffiti writer's hand movement over time. Working with several graffiti writers, Mr. Roth created a series of striking digital projections of graffiti being "written" at night on various New York buildings. No physical mark is left on the building by this ghostly process, but it looks shockingly real while it's happening.

In a related project, Graffiti Taxonomy, Mr. Roth photographed hundreds of graffiti tags on the Lower East Side, and created detailed typographic charts of various letters of the alphabet based on the visual data he collected.

A flurry of New York-based graduate thesis projects in recent years have explored new forms of technology-oriented graffiti, including John Geraci's Grafedia, a method of creating hyperlinked graffiti on city streets, and Joshua Kinberg's Bikes Against Bush, which uses text messaging and a custom-built dot-matrix printer connected to a bicycle to print giant chalk letters on the sidewalk.

So far the Graffiti Research Lab's activities include the Electro-Graf, a simple method of using magnetic and conductive paint to embed L.E.D. electronics inside a graffiti piece, surrounding the graffiti with a halo of brilliant light; L.E.D. "throwies," tiny and colorful battery-powered lights attached to magnets, designed to be thrown onto urban surfaces; the Night Writer, an inexpensive device of the kind MacGyver might have used that posts foot-tall messages in glowing L.E.D. lights on metallic surfaces in a single fluid motion; and Jesus 2.0, a recent light sculpture collaboration with the street artist Mark Jenkins of Washington. The lab is also working to refine various digital projection ideas that Mr. Roth explored in his Graffiti Analysis project.

The Graffiti Research Lab's values follow the idea-sharing philosophy of the open source movement: Mr. Roth and Mr. Powderly provide free and detailed online documentation on their Web site (graffitiresearchlab.com (http://graffitiresearchlab.com/)) so that anyone can follow — and replicate — their work. Mr. Roth also teaches a popular class at Parsons entitled "Geek Graffiti."

Mr. Roth realizes that eager companies may co-opt the lab's work, although he is strongly anticommercial. "Marketing people went crazy over the project," he said of Graffiti Analysis, "because it's cool and it's big and it's projected in public. They look at Graffiti Analysis and see their company's image inserted in there."

The projects are intentionally designed to be cheap, user-friendly and not illegal. "The kind of stuff I've been doing is intentionally geared to a wider audience," Mr. Roth said. "One of the goals with the Graffiti Research Lab is to try to remove some of the negative connotations that graffiti has. It's an easier pitch to sell to Mom and Dad than getting arrested every night."

A former collaborator on Graffiti Analysis, the graffiti writer Avone, was recently arrested while tagging in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. "These people are taking a lot more risks than we are," Mr. Roth said.

Mr. Roth's interest in studying graffiti and street art blossomed after he moved to New York from Los Angeles. A turning point, he said, was seeing the classic documentary "Style Wars," which immortalized the 1980's face-off between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and graffiti writers. "They were hacking the subway to transport these huge art pieces from borough to borough," Mr. Roth said of the artists. "That movie makes graffiti feel like such a movement."

Studying New York's graffiti soon became his preoccupation. "I did get totally obsessed with it," he said, "to the point where I couldn't walk down the street and have conversations with people without having my gaze sidetracked by a tag. I wouldn't leave the house without a camera."

Graffiti and other forms of street art are gaining recognition in major New York museums. The Museum of Modern Art recently acquired three oversize woodcuts and linoleum cuts by the current street art sensation Swoon; the pieces are being shown as part of the exhibition "Since 2000: Printmaking Now," now on view. On Friday the Brooklyn Museum is to open "Graffiti," a major exhibition of large-scale graffiti paintings that includes works by 80's trailblazers like Lady Pink (Sandra Fabara) and NOC 167 (Melvin Samuels Jr.).

The M.T.A. recently proposed a $25 million plan to combat acid-based window etchings, also called scratchiti, on subway cars. The agency is also considering the use of surveillance cameras to track down graffiti writers.

"There's a strong crackdown, and gentrification changes the streets," said Marc Schiller, the founder of Wooster Collective. "But it's a great time to be creative in general. Creativity is so accessible now. On the street and off, on the Web, the barriers to being creative have never been lower."

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company


August 6th, 2006, 02:55 PM
on Google Video : A documentary of New York graffiti circa 1983. Presented by Tony Silver & Henry Chalfant


February 2nd, 2007, 04:57 AM
February 2, 2007
Metro Briefing | New York
Manhattan: Court Rejects Graffiti Law

A federal appeals court panel yesterday upheld a lower court’s ruling that a widely criticized city law designed to cut down on graffiti was unconstitutional. The panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said that the city could not ban the sale of spray paint and broad-tipped markers to people ages 18 to 20. The city had already been prevented from enforcing the law, which took effect on Jan. 1, 2006, because of a preliminary injunction issued in May by Judge George B. Daniels of Federal District Court in Manhattan. The three-judge appeals court panel said that portions of the law “appear to burden substantially more free speech than is necessary.” Seven high school and college students had filed suit, saying the law illegally limited their rights under the First Amendment.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

February 2nd, 2007, 08:53 AM
Um, how the hell can the sale of those items be connected with free speech unless you are banning them from writing alltogether?

Grafitti itself is still illegal, so how is baning its instruments to the target age group uncontitutional?

I agree that it may not be LEGAL, but I fail to see how this infringes on their right to free speech!

February 10th, 2007, 12:00 PM
It is better to use a regular marker to write graffiti instead of etching your name. Lets face it. graffiti will be around forever. There is even graffiti on king tut's tomb. So, people are just going to have to except that there will ALWAYS be graffiti as long as man walks the earth.

February 10th, 2007, 12:31 PM
there's graffiti on a alot of the houses' wooden/plastic fences in my neighborhood(Woodhaven). they deserve to be thrown in jail forever

February 10th, 2007, 01:03 PM
Emperor's clothes.

February 12th, 2007, 09:24 AM
MOST grafitti (especially "tagging") is done by people who feel worthless and overlooked. Theyu feel that thi sis the only way to be recognised and "leave their mark" on the world.

By defacing what someone else has put in it.

It is VERY juvenile. Also, bringing up references to defacement of things like the Tut tomb is not a fair comparison. If they had done that in his time, the people responsible would have been killed, along with their families. Be grateful some things do not stay exactly the same through time....

February 12th, 2007, 10:03 AM
http://guardians.net/egypt/pyramids/images/relieving_chambers1.jpg (http://guardians.net/hawass/articles/secretchambers.htm)

February 12th, 2007, 10:28 AM
Would any of the workmen have had the balls to etch tags into the face stonework? :)

February 12th, 2007, 10:39 AM
Also, go to any construction site now, you have the workmen leaving their marks on the inside of teh buildings as well (like on the steel, behind drywall, etc etc).

Although some signage is inappropriate, it all bears more weight than the tagging of a kid that had nothing to do with its construction and just wanted to get notice by scrawling his name on the side of something visible.

He might as well have just pissed on the wall like any other animal wanting to mark his territory. It is al SO natural, you know?

February 12th, 2007, 11:48 AM
Would any of the workmen have had the balls to etch tags into the face stonework? :)

We'll never know since all the facing was looted to build Cairo, - a far greater crime than carving or painting the surface of it.

Of course we could conjecture that it was the superficial defacement of the pyramids that caused the ultimate desmantling of them, (an ancient "broken windows" theory). I mean really, - what ancient graffiti artist could resist those HUGE FACES?

http://www.artcrimes.com/la/saberlariver.jpg (http://www.infamythemovie.com/saber.html)

April 11th, 2007, 07:26 AM
Adidas' subway graffiti stirs furor


April 10, 2007

There's nothing like corporate-sponsored subway graffiti to kick off a controversy in New York.

Politicians and MTA officials are outraged that German sportswear manufacturer Adidas invited seven graffiti artists to paint "a full-sized replica" subway car to promote its latest line of sneakers at a downtown event scheduled today.

"Graffiti has nothing to do with sneakers, so basically it's just another despicable corporation trying to look edgy by promoting a crime in search of profits," said Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), a longtime anti-graffiti crusader. "[It's] like posting a billboard calling on teens to break the law."

The controversy harks back to designer Mark Ecko's 2005 launch of a graffiti-themed video game that invited folks to paint replica subway cars at a Chelsea block party. Mayor Michael Bloomberg revoked the city permit for the event before a judge ordered him to reinstate it.

Twenty years ago, Adidas sneakers were immortalized in the lyrics of city hip-hop groups Run-D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys. Today, the company is launching a new collection of hip-hop-themed sneakers that "feature graffiti artwork in true Adidas style," according to its Web site.

"Graffiti has evolved from a unique form of expression to its present day status where it is found in galleries and museums around the world. [The project] is designed to showcase and pay homage to this higher form of art," said Liad Krispin, an Adidas marketing executive.

The seven artists, who hail mainly from Europe, will "bomb" the subway car in a lot across from the Adidas store on the corner of Houston and Lafayette streets . There's just one native New Yorker among the artists and it's no coincidence that Adidas imported most of them from overseas. In recent years, there's been an explosion of Europeans coming to New York City just to tag subway cars, according to Steven Mona, a retired police officer who used to command the Citywide Vandals Task Force. "The problem is, New York is like the Holy Grail. It's where the graffiti movement got started," he said. "We tried very hard to get away from that persona, but people still come from overseas and think they will see the big, bad 1980s."

Transit and law enforcement officials worry that graffiti's glamorization will lead to more of it. Complete statistics were not immediately available yesterday, but 1,072 graffiti-related arrests were made so far this year, an increase over the same period last year, according to New York Police Department spokesman John Kelly.

"We'd hate to see any company attempt to ... better their bottom line by glamorizing the vandals who scratch and acid-etch the windows of our buses and trains, or paint on our subways in the name of 'art,'" said Paul Fleuranges, a New York City Transit spokesman. "In all due respect, real artists use canvas."

Copyright 2007 Newsday Inc.

April 19th, 2007, 07:04 AM
April 19, 2007

Graffiti Figure Admired as Artist Now Faces Vandalism Charges

Brooklyn district attorney's office
Officials say this graffiti is the work of Alain Maridueña, known as Alan Ket.


When graffiti was rampant in New York City during the 1980s, a Brooklyn teenager known as Alan Ket was at the top of his game. In broad strokes of aerosol spray, he slashed brash images on subway cars, branched out to vandalize trains in Europe, and became such a fixture in the flourishing graffiti culture that he was asked to speak at several universities.

Now, as graffiti has evolved into a popular art form, it is drawing both the outrage of public officials and the scrutiny of law enforcement authorities. And for the first time, Mr. Ket, whose graffiti work has been shown in galleries, is facing a serious legal gantlet.

Relying on computer evidence seized from his Manhattan home last October, the district attorneys in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens have charged Mr. Ket under his real name, Alain Maridueña, with 14 criminal counts, including trespass, criminal mischief and making graffiti. If convicted, he could potentially face decades in prison and huge financial penalties.

Mr. Maridueña is charged with painting several recent images on subway cars, a form of graffiti vandalism that has largely died out since the early 1990s. But his case, and his recent professional history, underscore how graffiti has been propelled from the shadowy corners of the subway system into a global genre of virtual images circulated on the Internet, and become a powerful influence in design, fashion and graphics.

The case could pose an important test for prosecutors and the police, since Mr. Maridueña was never caught in the act and has no previous criminal record in New York City. Instead, the government’s case appears to be based largely on what prosecutors say is the unmistakable detail of his graffiti signature — his “KET” tag — and the fact that the tag is visible on photographs of illegal subway graffiti that were entered into Mr. Maridueña’s home computer only hours after identical work was discovered on subway cars.

There is apparently no clear precedent for this type of prosecution of graffiti vandalism; graffiti charges usually tie a defendant physically to the scene of a defacing. “I know of no case specifically on this point,” said Michael Brovner, the senior assistant district attorney in Queens, where Mr. Maridueña is accused of defacing a subway car parked near a Queens subway station on March 22, 2006, and of leaving a readily visible tag.

Mr. Maridueña, 36, has pleaded not guilty to all the charges. He maintained in an interview that he was nowhere near the subway trains or stations that were vandalized, and said he believed he was being singled out because of his professional ties to Marc Ecko, the designer, who has championed graffiti as an art form and has tangled with City Hall over graffiti.

Mr. Maridueña said that he had not committed any graffiti vandalism since his daughter was born in 1994, and that the images and tags that prosecutors are now trying to tie to him were the work of copycat graffiti sprayers.

“I do consider myself a good friend of Alain’s,” Mr. Ecko said in an e-mail response to questions, adding, “I will consider using my personal resources to fight” the case against Mr. Maridueña.

It remains unclear what evidence the district attorneys may have beyond photographs of graffiti. None of the cases have reached the point at which prosecutors must show their evidentiary hand through the discovery process.

John O’Mara, an assistant district attorney who is prosecuting Mr. Maridueña in Brooklyn, said, “A tag is not a fingerprint,” and added that he “would not have elected to proceed solely on a tag.” But he said the government could also show that photographs of graffiti on Mr. Maridueña’s computer were entered soon after the vandalism took place.

A legal scholar and an expert on graffiti vandalism differed on the strength of the case, based on the limited information that has been disclosed by prosecutors.

“It sounds like a strong circumstantial case,” said Carol Steiker, a professor at Harvard Law School. “People are convicted on circumstantial evidence all the time,” she said, citing an example of someone who is convicted of robbery after being found with the victim’s wallet or credit card.

But Tim Kephart, a California entrepreneur who uses computer models to analyze graffiti tags for law enforcement authorities, said the case against Mr. Maridueña appeared weak. Mr. Kephart, the chief executive of Graffiti Tracker, said matching a tag to a vandal was crucial, but better evidence would probably be needed to show that Mr. Maridueña was at or near the sites of the recent subway vandalism.

Mr. Maridueña’s lawyer, Daniel Perez, said his client spent several nights in jail in March as he was being shuttled between arraignments in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, and was released only after his friends and family provided a cumulative bail of $65,000 required by three judges.

“Three district attorneys have ganged up on my client,” Mr. Perez said. “There has got to be something going on.”

While insisting that he has not vandalized property for more than a decade, Mr. Maridueña has hardly disappeared from the graffiti scene. According to a biography he has posted online, he has worked as an artistic consultant to companies like Atari, Moët & Chandon and MTV. His strongest business ties have been to Ecko Unlimited, the company run by Mr. Ecko.

Mr. Maridueña was hired by Mr. Ecko in 2001 to start Complex, a fashion magazine for young men. He later created graphics for a video game, “Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure,” which was designed by Ecko Unlimited for Atari. Public officials condemned the game because it offered players the virtual equivalent of creating their own graffiti.

The release of the game, and a Chelsea block party staged by Mr. Ecko in August 2005 to celebrate it, led to a clash between Mr. Ecko and City Hall. When city officials learned that Ecko Unlimited planned to have 20 young people at the party paint graffiti on metal panels made to look like the sides of subway cars, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, “Defacing subway cars is not a joke.”

Then, after the city revoked the company’s party permit, Mr. Ecko’s lawyers won a court ruling from a federal judge who ordered the permit reinstated and scolded the city for overstepping people’s rights to free speech.

In the case against Mr. Maridueña, Mr. Brovner said prosecutors could present a video being marketed on the Internet that shows Mr. Maridueña painting his tag on a subway car. But Carl Weston, the director of Videograf Productions, who said he made the video and has long been an acquaintance of Mr. Maridueña, said the video was made in the early 1990s, long before the cases of graffiti vandalism that Mr. Maridueña is now charged with.

Pieces of the prosecutors’ case are included in an affidavit that was submitted by a detective in October to obtain a search warrant for Mr. Maridueña’s apartment.

The detective, Jonathan Dubroff of the special investigations unit of the police Transit Bureau, describes graffiti that was sprayed in March 2006 in a Brooklyn subway yard. The affidavit says the tag “KET” was clearly visible in the graffiti, but provides no evidence that Mr. Maridueña was at the yard at the time.

The affidavit also provides a short history of how New York City graffiti has evolved, describing a “clean train policy” employed by the subway system since 1989, in which any defaced car is taken out of service and cleaned. As a result, the affidavit says, graffiti vandals began to immediately photograph their work and eventually started circulating the images on the Internet.

When the police searched Mr. Maridueña’s apartment on Oct. 12, they removed his computer, which he said held hundreds of graffiti images that had been sent to him, and 3,000 aerosol paint can tops.

Mr. Maridueña said the paint was a tool of his art trade and the photographs were being stored for a book about the history of New York City graffiti.

“I am a photographer, a sometimes commercial painter and a historian who is totally a fan of the art movement,” he said. “I’m just a geek, but they are trying to fry me.”

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

April 19th, 2007, 09:39 PM
Throw the book at him.

April 19th, 2007, 10:48 PM
If you read the article it seems that the DA will have a very hard time proving that Mr. Maridueña is actually the person responsible for the recent tags on the subway cars.

April 19th, 2007, 10:54 PM
I did read the article. As the old courtroom expression goes, "Throw enough stuff against the wall and something will stick."

Or perhaps in this case the expression should go, "Paint enough walls--especially if they're not your own--and you will paint yourself into a corner."

April 19th, 2007, 10:57 PM
Not if you haven't painted on said walls for 10+ years ...

April 19th, 2007, 11:01 PM
Oh, I'm sure this vaunted artist is as pure as the driven snow.

Even if he's cleared it will be worth having Ecko--that great champion of free speech--cough up a few hundred thousand in legal fees.

April 20th, 2007, 09:03 AM
Throw the book at him.

Or the train.

October 12th, 2007, 06:17 PM
New face of vandalism?

By Gersh Kuntzman
The Brooklyn Paper (http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/30/40/30_40graffitigirl.html#)

The Brooklyn Paper / Julie Rosenberg
Six-year-old Natalie Shea got a threatening letter from the city demanding
the removal of “graffiti” she drew with chalk — with chalk!?— on her front step.
Here, Shea shows her defiance to the warning letter by creating a new work
with the supposedly illegal medium.

The Brooklyn Paper / Julie Rosenberg
Natalie Shea with her warning letter and the alleged graffiti.

A 6-year-old Park Slope girl is facing a $300 fine from the city for doing what city kids have been doing for decades: drawing a pretty picture with common sidewalk chalk.

Obviously not all of Natalie Shea’s 10th Street neighbors thought her blue chalk splotch was her best work — a neighbor called 311 to report the “graffiti,” and the Department of Sanitation quickly sent a standard letter to Natalie’s mom, Jen Pepperman.

Can somebody stop these bureaucrats before they Kafka again?


Since when is a kid’s chalk drawing “graffiti”? Since the City Council passed local law 111 in 2005, which defined “graffiti” as “any letter, word, name, number, symbol, slogan, message, drawing, picture, writing … that is drawn, painted, chiseled, scratched, or etched on a commercial building or residential building.”

In other words, Natalie Shea is not an artistic little girl, but a graffiti scofflaw?

No. The law goes on to say that the scribbles can only be called “graffiti” if they are “not consented to by the owner of the commercial building or residential building.” But how could the 311 caller possibly be expected to know if Natalie had her mom’s consent to use chalk on her own front stoop?

“He could have just asked!” Pepperman said. “This whole thing is ridiculous. Admittedly, this drawing was not her best work — she usually sticks to cheerful scenes, not abstracts, frankly — but to send a warning letter like that is outrageous.”

Pepperman ticked off any number of daily insults to common decency on her block, including (but not limited to) dog poop, garbage from ill-kept homes, and noise from car alarms. But Sanitation didn’t get a 311 call about those indignities. It got a call about a 6-year-old’s drawing.

“The report came in as ‘graffiti,’ and, as you know, the city is trying to crack down on graffiti on private property,” said agency spokeswoman Cathy Dawkins.

“It’s a standard warning letter,” added Dawkins. “The property owner has 45 days to remove it or ask the city to remove it. We’ll inspect after that, and if the graffiti is still there, the property owner has another 60 days before we’ll write a summons.”

For sidewalk chalk that would dissolve at the first rain? Dawkins said the law is on her agency’s side.

“The instrument used — whether it’s paint or chalk — does not matter,” she said.

But if Dawkins is right, than the city has just criminalized hopscotch or drawing arrows to point neighbors towards a stoop sale down the block — as long as a neighbor calls 311 to complain.

In reality, chalkers have little reason to start using invisible ink. The city’s pre-eminent sidewalk chalk illustrator, Ellis Gallagher, says he’s outlining street furniture and other objects for years and never been arrested.

“Cops stop me all the time when they see me drawing on the sidewalk, but once they see it’s just chalk, they always let me go,” said Gallagher, a Carroll Gardens resident (see his work at www.myspace.com/ellis_gee).

Gallagher believes that, despite local law 111, drawing in chalk is not illegal. But a call to the NYPD revealed that there’s a lot of gray area.

“According the New York penal law, graffiti is the etching, painting, covering, drawing or otherwise placing of a mark upon public or private property with intent to damage such property,” said an NYPD spokesman.

When pressed to define “intent” or, for that matter, “damage,” the spokesman added: “If it can be washed away, it’s not graffiti, clearly, but it still could be criminal mischief. If I cover your car with mustard, that’s not graffiti, but it’s also not legal.”

Pepperman is holding firm that her daughter is a pretty artist and not a petty criminal.

And for his part, Natalie’s father, George Shea, hoped that his daughter wouldn’t learn the wrong lesson from her “graffiti” crime wave.

“I do love that kid,” Shea said, “but I wish she would stop capping my tags.”

©2007 The Brooklyn Paper

October 13th, 2007, 05:00 AM
Welcome to Brighton Beach.

October 16th, 2007, 08:53 AM
That kid really gets around!!!!!

May 9th, 2009, 05:54 PM
Scratching Out Etching Acid

by Courtney Gross
May 7, 2009

Carving out another obstacle for graffiti "vandals," the City Council approved legislation Wednesday that requires merchants who sell etching acid to keep purchasers' personal information for a year.

Its effects apparent on storefront windows and bus station vestibules, etching acid has become the "most destructive" of graffiti tools (http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/arts/20080325/1/2470), said the bill's sponsor, Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. Approved by a vote of 49 to 2, the legislation will fine store owners who fail to take down a buyer's name, address, type of identification, amount of acid bought and the date of purchases.

Also Wednesday, the City Council unanimously approved a bill to survey the city's wetlands and then create a preservation and development plan for them.

Another Graffiti Regulation

A common tool in art and construction, etching acid is a corrosive material used to carve out designs on glass or finish concrete surfaces. In New York City, an individual must be 21 years old to purchase etching acid, which can be found at art and hardware stores.

More recently, said the bill's supporters, it also has been used to deface public property. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority spends $11 million (http://webdocs.nyccouncil.info/attachments/88677.htm) annually to replace windows scarred by etching acid, according to the City Council.

Officials estimate it can cost a storeowner $1,000 to replace a storefront window that has been etched and become a victim of "scratchiti."

"It destroys everything it touches, burns right down to the bone," said Vallone. His bill, he said, "will make vandals think twice."

To curb some of the vandalism, the legislation (Intro 320-A (http://webdocs.nyccouncil.info/textfiles/Int 0380-2006.htm?CFID=2338610&CFTOKEN=42971024)) would require personal identification be checked by the retailer and kept on file for a year. After a year, the information would be shredded, said Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Keeping the personal information on file will act as a deterrent, said Quinn, but it also serves as a tool for law enforcement if they see scratchiti incidents skyrocket in certain areas. Police can then go to neighborhood retailers and determine who has been purchasing the product.

Retailers and buyers will be fined between $100 and $250 for violating the legislation.

The mayor is expected to sign the bill. Councilmembers Melissa Mark Viverito and Charles Barron voted against the measure. Barron, who called the bill "an intrusion into the lives of artists," said the city should consider more creative proposals, like community murals, to stop graffiti.

"We cannot turn this into a police state to stop graffiti," said Barron.

The New York Civil Liberties Union (http://www.nyclu.org) agrees. Robert Perry, the group's legislative director, said local retailers cannot be charged with safeguarding the personal information of consumers. That, he said, is not how to stop vandalism.

"If you want to prevent subway graffiti, prosecute the offenders," said Perry. "This is not a government agency like the DMV. You're talking about a retailer who is going to be collecting this information."

When asked if the civil liberties union would take the legislation to court, a spokesperson said the group would explore all of its options and monitor the law's enforcement.

The regulation of etching acid is the latest in a long history of anti-graffiti measures at the City Council, some of which have caught the attention of civil rights advocates and courts. Vallone, a notorious graffiti opponent, had tried to require permits (http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/searchlight/20070730/203/2246) for etching acid in the original version (http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/searchlight/20070521/203/2187) of the bill.

In the past, he also has attempted to ban the possession of wide-tipped markers and etching acid by those under 21. A federal court struck down (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/08/02/with-graffiti-on-the-rise-city-adopts-a-new-law/) the ban, and the legislation was later retooled to provide exemptions for artists and students.


May 9th, 2009, 07:24 PM
Not a tool used by much of anyone with artistic intent -- at least not when used on the streets or in the subway.

Good riddance. Hope this does the trick to eradicate the ugly scrawlings.

May 9th, 2009, 10:20 PM
^^ Hopefully it will, but there will likely be a way around it.

The line from the Civil Liberties Union gave me a laugh though. Prosecute the offenders? What are they going to do put them in jail for 20 years or something? lol

May 11th, 2009, 08:51 AM
The mayor is expected to sign the bill. Councilmembers Melissa Mark Viverito and Charles Barron voted against the measure. Barron, who called the bill "an intrusion into the lives of artists," said the city should consider more creative proposals, like community murals, to stop graffiti.

Um, yeah.

Sure. I am sure a 16 year old on the subway with some etching acid is going to think twice about tagging a window because his community is going to paint a mural on the local HS wall...

Oh, ram? The easiest way to stop most of these things is simply charge the replacement cost to the offender. That also includes prosecution fees/etc.

You charge someone $500/$1000 for etching, that will discourage many of them.

The only other thing I can think of is requiring tagging agents to be placed in the etching acid by the manufacturer for different batches. This would at least make it easier to see where (and possibly when ) something was bought.....

June 4th, 2009, 05:13 PM
From Curbed -

We are surprised it lasted as long as it did. Marc Ecko's ill-thought-out Chelsea boutique Marc Ecko Cut & Sew is done. This comes after Ecko closed down his Gramercy warehouse, and walked away from a space in Times Square that he had been paying rent on for four and a half years. The final nail in the coffin may have been the location, the down economy, Ecko's rumored bankruptcy (http://racked.com/archives/2009/02/17/is_ecko_going_under.php) or a combo of all three. One thing is for sure: the outlook is not good for Ecko's empire.

June 27th, 2009, 03:07 AM
June 27, 2009

Vandals Sully an Ode to East Harlem

By DAVID GONZALEZ (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/g/david_gonzalez/index.html?inline=nyt-per)

ART UNDER ATTACK A four-story mural at 104th Street and Lexington Avenue from the 1970s features real-life residents. This month, graffiti vandals struck.

The walls of East Harlem can speak. Dozens of colorful murals line the narrow streets and wide avenues, celebrating pleneros and poets, rumberos and revolutionaries. Defying gentrification, their dazzling colors brighten sun-starved stretches and declare that the neighborhood’s residents refuse to budge.

“We have a special flavor in our community because of our murals (http://www.nytimes.com/1988/07/22/arts/an-immovable-feast-murals-in-the-city.html?pagewanted=1),” said Carmen Vasquez, a longtime resident. “Our history and culture is there. They’re a way of saying who we are and where we’re going. Everything has a meaning.”

Lamentably so. Ms. Vasquez was dressed in black, the reason for her mourning evident behind her — huge bubble letters, recklessly slathered across the “The Spirit of East Harlem,” a four-story landmark by Hank Prussing that has graced the southeast corner of East 104th Street and Lexington Avenue since 1978.

The vandalism happened about two weeks ago, said Ms. Vasquez (http://www.hopeci.org/exe_staff.php), the deputy executive director of Hope Community (http://www.hopeci.org/), a neighborhood housing and social services group that commissioned the mural. People have always respected the towering piece, which is a collage of real people from the neighborhood depicted playing music or dominoes, or relaxing on stoops.

“How could anyone feel they could come in and destroy this?” she said.

“We have built this up (http://www.nytimes.com/1999/06/13/nyregion/neighborhood-report-harlem-east-harlem-fresh-paint-for-past-faces.html) over so many years. It took us so long to get here.”

The mural’s celebration of everyday life and real people makes it a singular work, said Jane Weissman, a muralist and an author of “On the Wall: Four Decades of Community Murals in New York City (http://www.artmakersnyc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=51&Itemid=5).”

“Until then, murals in New York had historical figures, if they had any recognizable figures at all,” she said. “This was the first time that a mural about a neighborhood, because it’s a celebration of a neighborhood, had people who were from there. Everybody in that mural was recognizable.”

Mr. Prussing photographed local characters before he started painting. Originally, the piece was going to cover only the upper part of the apartment building, but a grant let him expand it. The upper parts of the mural feature people — and famous logos for New York cultural touchstones like The Daily News and the salsa band Conjunto Libre (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUHmwo1-X_o), among others — and the lower part is an abstract mix of color, lines and letters.

“The whole concept was to make it interactive,” said Mr. Prussing. “I anticipated there would be graffiti which people would add in keeping with the collagelike look. But not much ever happened because people respected it.”

Not that others hadn’t tried some stunts over the years. “There was a woman I painted who didn’t like it because her friends said she looked fat,” he recalled. “She got somebody to go up with a ladder and paint her face out. She didn’t want to hurt it too much, so she used flesh-colored paint. We figured out who did it pretty quickly.”

Local activists have asked politicians and city officials for donations of paint and funds to restore the work as quickly as possible. They also hope to hold a community forum to educate young people on the importance of respecting the area’s many murals, which they say is the only guarantee of protection for public art.

The vandals who tagged the mural have not been found, so no one knows why they dared deface it. But other muralists said that these acts tend to happen when young graffiti writers want to become infamous as quickly as possible. Murals by more traditional brush-wielding artists may be more vulnerable than works by graffiti artists, said Hector Nazario, who paints under the name Nicer with Tats Cru (http://www.tatscru.com/tats.html), a Bronx-based group that paints murals around the city. He said his graffiti murals were usually immune to defacing because vandals knew they might run into him. The letters may be big, but the circle is small. Word travels fast.

“Remember that scene in ‘Get Shorty’ where John Travolta (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/t/john_travolta/index.html?inline=nyt-per) is waiting in the living room with the TV on?” he said. “The last thing this kid wants is to get home and see us there having coffee with his mother when our intention is to yoke them up. That’s the scenario, us waiting for you, like ‘Get Shorty.’ ”


July 13th, 2009, 07:55 PM
From Crains -

Ecko puts his HQ on market

Urbanwear hotshot's appeal wears thin as youths trade down

[/URL] By [URL="http://www.crainsnewyork.com/apps/pbcs.dll/personalia?ID=33"]Adrianne Pasquarelli (javascript:void(0))
http://www.crainsnewyork.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=CN&Date=20090712&Category=FREE&ArtNo=307129992&Ref=AR&maxw=319&border=0 (http://www.crainsnewyork.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=CN&Date=20090712&Category=FREE&ArtNo=307129992&Ref=AR&maxw=800) [+] (http://www.crainsnewyork.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=CN&Date=20090712&Category=FREE&ArtNo=307129992&Ref=AR&maxw=800) THREADBARE: Marc Ecko's empire declines Photo by AP Images
Filed Under :

Top Stories (http://www.crainsnewyork.com/section/keywords&kid=2056&kn=Top%20Stories)

The large bronze rhinoceros statues grazing inside hip-hop clothing designer Marc Ecko's massive 275,000-square-foot headquarters on West 23rd Street may soon be out of a home. The entire space, which costs more than $9 million a year and includes a half-size basketball court, is now on the market, according to the site's leasing agent, FirstService Williams.
The clock is ticking for Mr. Ecko, who is desperately trying to raise enough capital to pay off Marc Ecko Enterprises' debts. In June, Ecko sold its watch trademarks to Timex Group, the former licensee, and subsequently unloaded its Avirex young men's brand to Kids Headquarters.

Mr. Ecko is the latest casualty of the once-booming $4 billion urban wear business. The sector is morphing away from its baggy, logo-threaded beginnings into a cleaner, more mainstream look available at mass-market retailers ranging from Forever 21 to Levi's Stores. In addition to facing increased competition, the market is suffering as its base of fickle young consumers shies away from expensive labels and seeks bargains.
“The urban kid is not loyal to any brand or any store,” says Tim Bess, a men's fashion analyst at retail consultancy The Doneger Group. With less money to spend, the streetwear consumer is more likely to buy an inexpensive $19.99 hoodie at Aéropostale than a $68 graphic hooded sweatshirt from Marc Ecko.
Indeed, Aéropostale is one of the few retailers that is thriving; it posted a 12% rise in June same-store sales. In contrast, many urban retailers are getting hit by the trade-down.

Buyer's changing tastes
Joe Nadav, owner of Philadelphia-based hip-hop apparel chain City Blue, has had to close three locations in the past year due to slow sales.

“In New York, they don't want as much urban and that big, fancy label,” Mr. Nadav says. “It's a much cleaner look.”
Unlike Mr. Nadav, Mr. Ecko has problems that go beyond the altered shopping habits of the streetwear consumer. The company is drowning in a reported $170 million in debt, owed to creditor CIT Group and manufacturer Li & Fung USA.
After the New Jersey native founded his brand in 1993, he quickly expanded it into a Marc Ecko Enterprises empire, eventually moving beyond apparel and accessories into magazine publishing and video gaming. He continued to scoop up brand after brand and open store after store. In 2006, the apogee of Ecko's high times, management reported annual retail sales of about $1.5 billion.
In the past few months, Ecko has made other moves to raise capital to cover its debts. It has put its lavish, multifloor West 23rd Street headquarters up for lease, sold brand extensions and closed stores.
Unraveling empire
Critics rate Mr. Ecko's situation as dire and expect the designer to continue selling off divisions during his restructuring. “He was overexposed in thinking that the brand has an unlimited shelf life,” says Michael Londrigan, chair of fashion merchandising at the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising. “But like most of these brands, they need to retrench and look at changing their product mix.”

July 14th, 2009, 08:41 AM
When your brand tries to personify current style and juvenile opulence (a half-court basketball court INSIDE his HQ?) you need to move with the times and try to define what is next.

You stop riding that curl and you either crash with the wave or get stuck bobbing up and down looking at all the others that managed to catch it.

July 14th, 2009, 10:42 AM
The sector is morphing away from its baggy, logo-threaded beginnings into a cleaner, more mainstream look

Thank god.

September 5th, 2009, 12:47 AM

Graffiti comes of age in New York

By Prune Perromat

Comfortably seated in a $30,000 Louis XV-style armchair, in a luxurious room reminiscent of an 18th Century French salon, Sharp stares coolly at his latest piece of art, hung on the opposite wall.

video (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8220296.stm)

The canvas depicts a porn star's bottom encircled by flashy pink, blue and purple sprays of paint recreating the letters of the alphabet.

"I am rethinking the traditional alphabet," he explains.

Nearly 30 years after spraying his first graffiti in the subway, Sharp now sees his work on display in major galleries.

In June, an exhibition in New York called "Whole in the Wall" displayed his work, and that of dozens of other big names of the street art scene, including Lee Quinones, Blade, Banksy and Blek Le Rat.

Despite graffiti's bad reputation, the exhibition's blending of street art and French extravagant furniture showed how graffiti has spread across the world since the 1980s.

"The idea was to show that graffiti is universal and that it has become a cultural and intellectual form of art which gathers all populations and all generations," explains Chantal Helenbeck, who organised the "Whole in the Wall" show with her twin sister Brigitte.

"But graffiti is also a typically American art that started in New York, and we wanted to re-explore this movement in its historical and geographical context."

This effort to see graffiti in a new light in New York comes after years of intense police pressure and residents' complaints.

video (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8220276.stm)

In the 1980s, graffiti artists took advantage of New York's financial misery and strained police force to paint what seemed like every corner and wall.

But once Republican Mayor Rudolph Giuliani launched his intense law-enforcement strategy against petty crimes in the 1990s, the city's expanded police force made street art a primary target and began sending a new message.

Graffiti, which NYPD Commissioner Raymond W Kelly defines as "intentionally damaging private or public property by painting, etching, or permanently marking it in some manner" started to be considered a "quality of life crime."

In New York, spraying graffiti on public or private property now carries up to a seven year jail term.

'Not cool'

"Quality of life has become such a hot issue that we made a tremendous effort to...ease the reporting process," says NYPD Lieutenant Frank Rivera, in charge of the anti-graffiti programme in Manhattan's 34th police precinct.

"Before, people thought that their complaints would fall on deaf ears but that's not the case anymore."

"Even if [graffiti] is a great piece of art, it is illegal," says Commissioner Nazli Parvizi, head of the Community Affairs Unit, a New York agency that serves as a link between the mayor and local communities.

She also points out that graffiti, of any type, is generally a sign that a place "is screaming for public action".

"Some people believe it's cool, but I believe that if you're doing graffiti on somebody else's property, without their consent, I think you're violating their property. So I don't think that's cool," says Clinton Langston, who helps scores of New York City neighbourhoods by removing graffiti and refreshing their walls.

For Leopold Vasquez, a community organiser in Washington Heights, a Latino neighbourhood in the north of Manhattan, graffiti is not the main issue, however - it is only a symptom.

"Graffiti doesn't happen because people wake up with spray cans in their hands," he says.

"It's kind of a tell-tale sign of the times. Graffiti is an indicator of where people are economically. We should not tolerate anyone going after private property, and it is our responsibility to bring resources so that our teenagers use their energy in the right place."

More mature

The massive police offensive starting in the 1990s enhanced to a great extent New York graffiti's subversive image, and hence its popularity among a number of anti-establishment contemporary artists.

It also forced New York artists to reconsider subway cars as their primary outlet and pushed some of them towards the world of fancy urban galleries.

The continuing criminalisation of graffiti provoked deep changes in the art form. Unable to perform the most dangerous (and what they consider the noblest) type of graffiti art - covering subway cars with gigantic tags - artists had to find new ways to express themselves.

"You can't stay 15 forever. You can't do heroin forever," says Sharp. "Change is inevitable."

For Lee Quinones, a well-known graffiti artist who now sells his paintings for hundreds of thousands of dollars, the change does not alter the soul of his art.

"Graffiti is a state of mind, it's not a thing, it's not a form," he insists.
The movement, he says, has become more mature over the years and more powerful: "We worked hard back then, now we work smart."

The success of artists like the UK's Banksy, whose paintings took over Bristol Museum this summer, indicates graffiti's durability as an art form, but it may also signal the decline of New York as the cutting-edge of the movement.

Sharp himself seems to accept this evolution: "People who contributed the most to the stylistic changes, and evolution of our culture, are not Americans. They are Europeans. The home of this culture is in New York city but this is by no way something indigenous to NYC.

"This is a global movement and it has been since (sic) more than 25 years."


September 5th, 2009, 09:17 AM
Graffiti is rarely art and often vandalism.

September 5th, 2009, 09:23 AM
a well-known graffiti artist who now sells his paintings for hundreds of thousands of dollars

September 5th, 2009, 01:27 PM
^ Nothing wrong with that; more power to him.

You generally can't sell a painting that's on a building owner's wall. That's where the vandalism takes place.

Not sure it's a worthwhile trade off: an occasional artistic success story with paintings secreted in the living rooms of the rich vs. the indignity the public must suffer when whole neighborhoods get trashed.

You could say the unwilling public has been forced to subsidize the graffitiste's path to success. Maybe he could learn to paint on his own walls, and spare us from having to witness his flounderings.

Speaking for myself, it's a raw deal.

December 1st, 2009, 07:00 AM
I don't know about the practicality of doing this, but I think it's great news from a general aesthetics point of view, even if graffiti is cited as the only reason.

Council Curtails Stores’ Use of Rolldown Security Gates


Mary DiBiase Blaich for The New York Times Rolldown metal gates, like the one above on Port Richmond Avenue on Staten Island,
which was vandalized in August 2008, will be fully prohibited as of 2026.

Citing high rates of graffiti, the City Council voted unanimously on Monday to gradually ban the use of rolldown metal security gates, a move that would eliminate what has been an enduring if forbidding feature of the urban streetscape.

Other kinds of security gates — like rolling or sliding grilles, which permit passers-by to gaze into plate-glass store windows and are seen by some as being harder to vandalize — would still be permitted.

The Bloomberg administration gave its support to the legislation — championed primarily by Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr., a Queens Democrat who is chairman of the Public Safety Committee — only after the Council agreed to a lengthy grace period. Not until 2026 will the rolldown metal gates be entirely banned.

The bill applies to two categories of structures under the city’s buildings code: Occupancy Group B, which includes banks, beauty salons and copy shops, and Occupancy Group M, which encompasses retail stores, drug stores and department stores.

This bill would require that after July 1, 2011, any rolldown gate that is being replaced must be replaced with a gate that allows at least 70 percent of the covered area to be visible.

By July 1, 2026, all of the businesses covered by the legislation must have the new higher-visibility gates installed.

“We wanted to give a reasonable phase-in period to small businesses,” said Jeffrey Haberman, a lawyer who works on drafting legislation for the City Council. “The typical gate, with regular maintenance, lasts anywhere from 10 to 15 years. Most businesses that have rolldown gates now will have replaced their gates over the normal course of business by 2026.”

In arguing for the legislation, Mr. Vallone said that opaque metal gates are unattractive and easily vandalized. He also noted that many police officers and firefighters considered the gates that allow partial visibility to be preferable from a safety perspective.

“This bill not only helps first responders when they are called to protect our businesses, but it carries the additional benefit of beautifying our city’s landscape,” Mr. Vallone said in a statement. “Currently, many of our vibrant blocks quickly transform into dark, graffiti-strewn metal alleyways when solid security gates are rolled down at night. We are now giving business owners a new tool to improve their communities at their own pace.”

The legislation, which would take effect Jan. 1, directs the Department of Buildings to develop an outreach program to alert affected businesses, development corporations, chambers of commerce, and community boards of the new requirements. A violation would carry a penalty of $250 for a first offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense. Between 2011 and 2026, any business cited for having the incorrect gates will not have to pay fines if the violation is corrected within 90 days or if the owner can prove the gate was installed before 2011. After 2026, businesses will be able to avoid fines if they replace the rolldown within 90 days.


December 1st, 2009, 07:59 PM
I am sure this will stop all those that wish to vandalize storefronts.

December 1st, 2009, 09:52 PM
The best way to combat graffiti on storefronts is to have an active business inside with a well maintained facade and some lighting at night. Solid roll down gates basically say "We don't trust you" -- they create a visual black hole, a barrier that engenders aggression.

December 2nd, 2009, 05:23 AM
Turn a Roll-Down Gate Into a Thing of Beauty


One of the city’s many decorated roll-down security gates. Could you have done better?

When the City Council voted this week to ban the roll-down metal security gates (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/01/nyregion/01gates.html?_r=1&ref=nyregion) used to protect storefronts after hours, it was promised that one effect would be a “beautifying of our city’s landscape.”

But what if the gates themselves were beautified?

Perhaps New Yorkers could see in them the promise of an empty canvas, rather than the unattractive metal shell of a shuttered business.

The gates could be turned into community murals (http://www.francothegreat.com/artworks/gates/01.html), used as street-level advertising billboards (http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2374/2274857295_8a3f36464e.jpg&imgrefurl=http://flickr.com/photos/jackszwergold/2274857295/&usg=__1rV5NHyI6zTPVL9C4jFGWzAArGc=&h=375&w=500&sz=168&hl=en&start=2&um=1&tbnid=Q-LmHcRKUhEytM:&tbnh=98&tbnw=130&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dnew%2Byork%2Bmetal%2Bgate%2Bmural%26h l%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26hs%3DxQB%26sa%3DG%26um%3D1) or, around this time of year, two-dimensional holiday displays. This type of public art has a long history in New York (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/20/ask-about-new-york-citys-community-murals/).

“We would really advocate for it,” said Conor McGrady (http://www.conormcgrady.com/), communications manager for the Groundswell Community Mural Project (http://www.groundswellmural.org/). “Our goal is to use the city as a canvas.”

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/12/01/nyregion/gates-1/articleInline.jpg (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/12/01/nyregion/gates-1/custom1.jpg)
Click to Enlarge and Save. (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/12/01/nyregion/gates-1/custom1.jpg)

Of course, the gates have long been a preferred canvas for vandals (http://www.globalgraphica.com/main/archives/are_main_wide.jpg) as well — the curved metal surface best suited for spray paint — which is part of the reason the City Council, with the endorsement of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, voted unanimously to start requiring the see-through mesh variety to replace the opaque garage door-style gates. But some business owners will encourage local artists to create murals.

“They are an interesting canvas, but a difficult one,” said Jane Weissman, co-author of “On the Wall: Four Decades of Community Murals in New York City (http://www.upress.state.ms.us/books/1123)” (University Press of Mississippi, 2009).

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/12/01/nyregion/gates-2/articleInline.jpg (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/12/01/nyregion/gates-2/custom1.jpg)
Click to Enlarge and Save. (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/12/01/nyregion/gates-2/custom1.jpg)

The most famous artist of the medium was Franco Gaskin, who calls himself Franco the Great, who painted approximately 200 metal gates with landscapes and street scenes during the 1970s on stretch of 125th Street that became known as Franco’s Boulevard.

Other artists continue with similar work. “We’ve done many, many gates,” said Bio Felicano, an artist with Tats Cru, a company that paints street murals. “It’s a New York tradition at this point. It dresses up the whole front of the store really nice if done properly.”

What do you think? Should the city allow the gates to be transformed into works of art?

What would you do with such a canvas? (Maybe an adoring Mao-style portrait of sitting City Council members?) Using one or both of the “blank” photographs offered above as a canvas, design your best roll-down gate art over the security gates shown and e-mail your artwork to City Room (cityroom@nytimes.com) in the form of a jpeg file. A selection of your submissions will be posted incrementally during the rest of this week.


December 3rd, 2009, 06:15 AM
December 3, 2009
Bringing Down the Curtain on a Symbol of Blight

Gates like this one at a restaurant on First Avenue in Manhattan must eventually be replaced.

New York City’s storefront gates, like its fire escapes and stoops, are there but not quite there: the unnoticed wallpaper of New York at night. They have been battered by vandals and defaced by graffiti taggers. They have secured diamonds, handmade tortellini and other valuable commodities. They have provided the clattering soundtrack of dawn and dusk, the steel canvas of struggling artists, the most compelling evidence that the city does, indeed, sleep.

And now, on orders of the City Council, roll-down gates have joined the ranks of fatty foods and cigarette smoke: they have been legislated against, some right into extinction.

The Council voted on Monday to ban the kind of security gates that completely shield commercial storefront windows and doors from view — ones that resemble old-fashioned auto garage doors, with narrow horizontal slats that rise up like a steely sort of curtain — while permitting the kinds of gates common in suburban shopping malls that allow passers-by to see inside.

Along Court Street in the Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn, a gentrifying commercial and residential strip in what remains an Italian stronghold, the gradual ban on solid gates — there are probably tens of thousands of them — was as well-received as a property tax hike. Not a single owner or manager who was interviewed was aware of the Council’s vote.

The head-scratching dismay expressed by Pyung Lim Lee upon learning that City Hall had taken a regulatory interest in the rickety old solid gate outside C.H. Plaza Dry Cleaners, 400 Court Street, Brooklyn, N.Y., 11231, was typical.

“If the government pays, then O.K.,” said Mr. Lee, the owner of the shop, who was not surprised to learn that the government would not, after all, be covering the cost of a new gate. “They make law, law, law, and people’s life is more difficult.”

Frank Caputo took a more nuanced approach. He is the owner of Caputo’s Fine Foods, a narrow little hub of homemade mozzarella and pastas, down the street from the church where Al Capone was married long ago. Since Caputo’s was opened by his parents in 1973, the shop has had two gates, both of them the solid, no-peeking-in type. “I was afraid that someone was going to break the glass,” said Mr. Caputo, 47.

He has had the second gate — a $4,000 model with an electric motor that allows him to turn a key or press a button to raise or lower it — for about two years, and he figured that by 2026, when the ban fully kicks in, he would need to replace it, anyway. “If they would have told me I had six months to replace it, I would have been upset,” Mr. Caputo said.

Council members said the bill, which passed 45 to 0, was intended to deter vandals from spraying graffiti on flat-surface gates, to help beautify neighborhoods and to give police officers and firefighters the ability to look inside in an emergency. The ban applies to numerous businesses, including banks, barber shops, beauty salons, health clinics, dry cleaners, dental offices and retail stores.

All businesses affected have until July 1, 2026, to install security gates that allow at least 70 percent of the area they cover to be visible. Any gates installed after July 1, 2011, must comply with the new requirements.

“We took great pains in this bill to make sure we balanced quality-of-life issues and graffiti eradication with the real-life financial challenges small businesses are facing in this recession,” said the Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn. “That’s why the bill has a lengthy time frame.”

The city’s many storefronts, like their proprietors, have their own bedtime rituals. In the diamond district in Manhattan, many shops do not bother with roll-down gates: employees can be seen removing the jewelry, item by item, from the window displays, bound for parts unknown.

On one block of Court Street, the window of a barber shop with no gate afforded a full view inside (the old-fashioned cash register’s empty drawer left open and the bill holders up), but the insurance office next door seemed to contain more secrets, with a solid gate, marred by graffiti.

The metal gate covering G. Esposito & Sons’ pork store offered a peek inside, but what was visible just inside the door would probably attract only the most desperate sort of burglar: a giant apron-clad, wide-eyed piggy statue.

Karen Van Every, the owner of Serimony, a card and gift shop, has a see-through gate, which she wanted so that passers-by could look inside when the store is closed. “People walk by and they see a piece of jewelry in the window and they want to come back,” she said.

Still, Ms. Van Every, like many other Court Street merchants, said she opposed the ban because of its eventual impact on businesses’ bottom line. “Every little cost associated with having a small business could put you under,” she said.

The solid gates have a forbidding quality, recalling the bad old days of 1970s-era New York, when a desire to encourage window-shopping was superseded by a concern over rampant crime and occasional looting.

In some cases, they were no deterrent. In 1973, for example, five young burglars in the Bronx broke into a clothing store with a roll-down gate by cutting a hole in the roof.

But in other cases, solid gates might have helped. During the blackout that struck the city in the summer of 1977, looters ripped off nonsolid storefront gates by hooking chains to them, attaching the chains to cars and then stepping on the gas.

But sometimes no gate could have withstood looters’ fury during the blackout. Jonathan Mahler, in his book “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx Is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City,” described the scene in Bushwick: “They were taking crowbars to steel shutters, prying them open like tennis-ball-can tops or simply jimmying them up with hydraulic jacks and then wedging garbage cans underneath to keep them open.”

The gates, like all endangered species, have their own unique history. They have kept people in as much as out: In 2004, advocates for immigrants complained that janitors were getting trapped inside locked and gated groceries until managers arrived the next morning.

In Bushwick years ago, some graffiti-tagged gates were painted over, without charge, by New Yorkers with little choice in the matter: petty criminals sentenced to perform community service.

On Court Street, many of the solid gates are marked with graffiti, but others have been used as billboards to advertise the stores they protect. Acorn Real Estate features an image of a giant acorn; R.P.T. Physical Therapy, nearby, had an artist paint its blue logo on its gate, a silhouette of a man over the phrase, “Let Us Help You Reach Your Goals.”

Solid roll-down gates like this one on First Avenue become canvases for the spray-paint crowd.

Some gates are decorated with merchants' logos, or, like this one, bear relevant messages.

Open-weave gates, like this one, which let passers-by peer in, will still be allowed.


December 4th, 2009, 03:00 PM
Hopefully the city never decides to ban graffiti on trucks. It's one of the few places I can stand it.

lucky_dog (http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucky_dog/2786525816/sizes/l/)

December 7th, 2009, 06:20 AM
I think they're all terrible :eek:! And an open invitation to be graffitied over. Get rid of 'em and replace with reinforced but attractive grilles (an entrepreneurial opportunity there?).

Ban Them! No, Paint Them Legally!


After the City Council decided this week to begin phasing out (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/03/nyregion/03gates.html) the ubiquitous solid-front security gates that serve as the eyelids of storefronts put to sleep for the night, readers were invited, using photographs by Robert Stolarik of “blank” gates, to consider whether a more beautiful or useful design for roll-down gates would make them worth preserving. Below, how five readers envisioned a future for the gates; additional submissions appear in the slide show above.

Jay Goldberg, Chief Executive of Bergino Baseballs

“In my eyes, New York is the most beautiful city in the world. Every inch of it. Even the graffiti-covered roll-down metal gates. My concept was simple: New York on New York, inspired by a beautiful baseball. And, as a bonus, this metal gate is old school GPS, helping New Yorkers (and tourists) find their way.’’

Robert Werthamer, Architect

“The idea of the multicolored panels was to be responsive to resources and time: to keep costs down, use paint that may be left over, or donated; may be of varying quantities; only certain portions may need to be repainted over time.”

Colin Montoute, Architect

“I can imagine whole blocks or neighborhoods having great paintings from galleries around the world. You could have a Metropolitan Block, A Louvre Block, A National Gallery Block and a Hermitage Block. What an amazing way to bring art to the people. It is what New York should be!”

Macdonald Love, Artist

“I suggest the city hire its artists or seek volunteers to paint these gates. The vibrancy would be a huge boon to the community and would even extend the city’s tourism revenue through all of the spectators who would travel to explore them. Truly, this would make New York the city that never sleeps. It should also be noted that statistically, graffiti artists are much more inclined to tag neglected areas than beautified ones. That’s why graffiti appears where it does. Stop neglecting these gates. Give us permission to paint them!”

skki©, Graffiti Artist

“The designs should be simple because, as you know, if graffiti is applied on the design it will be faster to fix back by the owner himself. Straight lines are the best (this is my opinion as ‘a graffiti artist!@#), and in this case I used the first letter of the name’s store, M. The gates are also very boring and rusty. By putting some visuals on them we can really give the store energy for the public to see on the street and even graffiti artists will respect the designs.”

Kurt Strahm, Freelance Web Developer and Artist

“I have negative feelings about most of the ‘beautification’ efforts by the city. From all the Cemusa ad-platform bus shelters, to the ‘urban shed’ competition, and bike trails that just happen to parallel the new luxury condo belt growing along the Brooklyn/Queens waterfront, the projects all seem intended to bring the rest of the city into sync with the suburban, chain store, glass and aluminum condo monoculture that’s killing N.Y.C., and turning its ‘eight million stories’ into a few dull corporate promotional


December 9th, 2009, 05:25 AM
Making a Name for Himself, With Just 3 Letters



Slide Show (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2009/12/09/nyregion/20091209_BNE_index.html)

The man in the hooded sweatshirt and cargo pants was not recognizable, but the three letters he was rendering as a 15-foot mural on the wall of a Hell’s Kitchen building certainly were: B.N.E.

This mischievous monogram, posted by marker, spray can, roller and especially stickers, has become part of the landscape of New York and cities worldwide, thrilling graffiti admirers and roiling public officials. Its saturation has provoked one of the more enduring Internet mysteries: What and who is B.N.E.?

After a thorough interrogation of the suspect over the weekend ... well, he would not really say. In what he said was his first interview with a journalist, the man in the hooded sweatshirt said he was responsible for this viral dissemination of the three-lettered puzzle, but refused to divulge his name, age or many details about his background and method, for fear of arrest. He also refused to have his face photographed or to say what B.N.E. stands for. His initials, perhaps?

“Let’s just say it has a meaning that’s personal to me,” he said, acknowledging the conjecture online: Breaking and Entering, Bomb Nuclear Explosion. “At this point, it means whatever you need it to mean.”

The postcard-size stickers bearing the three simple black letters are affixed to mailboxes, phone booths, signs, walls, parking meters and streetlights, mostly in New York and Japan, but also in Bangkok, Prague, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur. He goes through 10,000 stickers a month. In 2006, B.N.E. so blanketed San Francisco that the city’s mayor, Gavin Newsom, offered a reward of $2,500 for information leading to his capture.

In relentlessly spreading his tag, B.N.E. follows graffiti writers with nicknames like Taki, Revs and Cost. The idea is to leave one’s mark in as many places as possible, in wry, brash and mischievous ways — a process known as “getting up.”

This weekend, B.N.E. was not spray-painting surreptitiously, but creating a sanctioned mural on a concrete wall in a temporarily vacant building at 595 11th Avenue, near 44th Street. It is part of an exhibition of his work that opens Thursday, sponsored by Mother, a Manhattan advertising agency.

“B.N.E. has single-handedly created a globally recognized and valued brand in the new social economy,” Mother officials said in a news release. “His presence in Flickr photo galleries and YouTube pages dwarfs that of many multinationals.”

But Peter F. Vallone Jr., of Queens, chairman of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, condemned the show. “This isn’t even someone who’s decided to go legitimate,” he said. “This is an unrepentant criminal who has cost honest taxpayers a lot of money, and he’s profited from it.”

The show itself is a taunt, featuring metal plates and canvases with the B.N.E. tag stamped over images of Mickey Mouse, Bart Simpson, Spider-Man and Bugs Bunny.

“I don’t see other graffiti writers as my competition anymore,” B.N.E. said. “Now I’m going up against the Tommy Hilfigers, Starbucks, Pepsi. You have these billion-dollar companies, and I’ve got to look at their logos every day. Why can’t I put mine up?”

The interview was arranged by Bucky Turco, the editor of Animal, an online magazine, who is helping B.N.E. produce the show. B.N.E. said he would skip the opening party because police officials routinely showed up at such events with video cameras and handcuffs. Anyway, he is heading to South America to blanket another city.

Daytime is for scouting: What are the most trafficked areas? How intense is the enforcement? Do local officials clean their phone booths, or will a tag there last? Nighttime is for tagging, to avoid being seen or photographed.

No, B.N.E. said, he has never been arrested. Yes, he said, he has been chased and shot at by outraged citizens, including the gutsy old man in a Madrid suburb who kicked him in the rear end and yelled at him to get lost.

Yes, he uses only prepaid disposable cellphones. No, he never takes pictures of the work, travels with stickers or paint equipment, or saves anything to his laptop. Yes, his mother thinks he is crazy (she is one of a few family members and old buddies who know he is the man behind B.N.E.)

“You kind of isolate yourself, living this life,” he said. “You meet a girl and she asks, ‘What do you do?’ and right way, you have to lie.”

B.N.E. said he was in his early 30s and funded his tagging through part-time jobs — again, no details. His accent and knowledge of local artists suggests he is from New York. He said he began 15 years ago painting in the old-school graffiti style of flashy lettering, then simplified his style and, 10 years ago, started with stickers.

“I can’t do 500 tags in a day, but I can do 500 stickers,” he said.

Designed with illustrating software and printed on vinyl, the stickers have an iron-grip adhesive. “This is my voice, and if you try to remove it, you’re shutting me up,” he said. The font is the serious-looking Helvetica Neue Condensed. Once, on City Island, he said with a chuckle, workers carefully painted around the stickers as though they had an official purpose.

“I’ve always rebelled against authority,” B.N.E. said. “Like any kid, I wanted to write the whole neighborhood. Most kids like that would then want to go out and do the whole city. In my case, I wanted to do the whole planet.”
Speaking of the planet, Mr. Turco showed a photograph of a huge B.N.E. mural, in a Japanese suburb, that he said was “visible from space.”

Asked how he could prove he was in fact the guy putting the mysterious moniker everywhere, the man in the hooded sweatshirt and cargo pants seemed delighted at yet another layer of mystery. Sure, anyone could use the same graphics and impersonate him for an art show. One could only wait to see if the real B.N.E. would emerge.

“If someone was having a show of my work without me,” he said, “I know I’d show up and cause some problems.”


December 9th, 2009, 09:36 PM

I think skickers and those giant portraits are cool however.

February 3rd, 2010, 04:22 AM
Roll-Down Gates

(click images to enlarge)

Someday, thanks to Bloomberg's City Council, the flat-front security gates of New York will all be gone. As EV Grieve wrote, it's "another step toward making NYC completely sanitized (http://evgrieve.com/2009/12/city-leaders-take-another-step-toward.html)."

The Times wrote of the gates, "They have provided the clattering soundtrack of dawn and dusk (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/03/nyregion/03gates.html?_r=1&hpw), the steel canvas of struggling artists, the most compelling evidence that the city does, indeed, sleep." Many people would like to see the gates saved, maybe turned into art (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/03/nyregion/03oldgates.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss).

One of those people is filmmaker Neil Goldberg.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_dqXIF9MH3lk/SxfjzLkMMRI/AAAAAAAAImw/Ol4-i7g11Y4/s320/NG_Hallelujah_2_3.jpg (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_dqXIF9MH3lk/SxfjzLkMMRI/AAAAAAAAImw/Ol4-i7g11Y4/s1600-h/NG_Hallelujah_2_3.jpg)

Back in 1996, Neil Goldberg put together a short video called "Hallelujah Anyway No. 2." In the film, it is early morning on First Avenue in the East Village. Businesspeople are rolling up their metal gates. One after another, the gates clatter up into the eaves. They are rusty, noisy, and covered in graffiti. They are emblematic.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_dqXIF9MH3lk/SzExCZhM1AI/AAAAAAAAIvw/xqmRDcd7A4o/s320/7.jpg (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_dqXIF9MH3lk/SzExCZhM1AI/AAAAAAAAIvw/xqmRDcd7A4o/s1600-h/7.jpg)

Today, many of the businesses in the film have vanished.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_dqXIF9MH3lk/Sxfjyp_op-I/AAAAAAAAImo/l98qB2MNjII/s320/NG_Hallelujah_2_2.jpg (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_dqXIF9MH3lk/Sxfjyp_op-I/AAAAAAAAImo/l98qB2MNjII/s1600-h/NG_Hallelujah_2_2.jpg)

ReelNY interviewed Goldberg (http://www.thirteen.org/reelny/previous_seasons/reelnewyork2/i-goldberg.html) about the film in 1997. He said:

"I would notice when I pass someone opening their gates in the morning that I would have totally different reactions to it depending on how I was feeling that day. Like, 'Oh, how depressing, starting yet another day of selling, whatever, selling Drake's Cookies.' Or 'Yes, okay, we can do it,' you know, and feel ridiculous optimism."

"Also, I'm interested in dance... So, I love the particular gesture of lifting those gates, and the way that same movement passes over different bodies."

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_dqXIF9MH3lk/Sxfjybg53XI/AAAAAAAAImg/3ZIjVZ5jOrY/s320/NG_Hallelujah_2_1.jpg (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_dqXIF9MH3lk/Sxfjybg53XI/AAAAAAAAImg/3ZIjVZ5jOrY/s1600-h/NG_Hallelujah_2_1.jpg)

Thanks to Mr. Goldberg for providing stills from his lovely film.


February 5th, 2010, 05:43 AM
Graffiti’s Story, From Vandalism to Art to Nostalgia


slide show (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2010/02/05/nyregion/20100205GRAFFITI_index.html)

Eric Felisbret stood by a chain-link fence, watching three men spraying graffiti on a backyard wall in Upper Manhattan. One man smiled and invited him over.

“You can go around the corner and when you see a sign for a seamstress, go in the alley,” the man said. “Or you can jump the fence, like we did.”

Mr. Felisbret, 46, chose the long way. Not that he is unused to fence-jumping. In the 1970s, that was one of his skills as a budding graffiti writer who stole into subway yards. Using the nom de graf DEAL, he was part of the Crazy Inside Artists, a legendary crew from East New York, Brooklyn. This time, though, instead of wielding a spray can, he pulled out a camera and took a quick snapshot of the artwork, done with the landlord’s permission.

“It’s really retro,” he said. “Look inside the 3D letters, how he added all those spots.”

He would know, and not just because the artist was his brother, Luke. Over some 30 years, the two men have amassed a photographic archive of New York City graffiti that is among the most comprehensive collections anywhere. Since 1998 much of it, along with interviews of artists, has been showcased on their Web site, www.at149st.com (http://www.at149st.com/).

And now Eric Felisbret has published a thick, glossy new book, “Graffiti New York,” a survey of the art that mirrors his own life trajectory — from outlaw origins to mainstream respectability.

What started in the ’70s as a visual assault on commuters has attained a certain acceptability, if not cachet, thanks in part to the city’s crackdown on subway graffiti in the late ’80s. Today, ambitious aerosol canvases hang in galleries, while corporations like Nike, Coca-Cola and Sony hire graffiti muralists to paint storefront advertisements. Vintage photographs plucked from archives have inspired a small industry of coffee table books.

Old-school graffiti — with intricate tangles of kinetic letters and cartoonish characters — is just about everywhere except the place that was once its sole domain: the metal skins of subway cars.

While the city seems far removed from the days of entire trains slathered in spray paint, Mr. Felisbret believes there is probably just as much illicit graffiti in town, only more scattered — on trucks, rooftops or the upper floors of buildings. His book shows examples of all sorts.

But today’s renegade writers dazzle more with risk taking than artistic merit. Unlike the artists who executed elaborately drawn and colored tableaux decades ago, younger outlaws have little chance to develop into accomplished painters.

“The train yards used to provide the opportunity to do things illegally and creatively at the same time,” Mr. Felisbret said. “You had privacy and time. Now if you do something illegally, you have to be quick. You can’t stand on a corner and paint for hours.”

His Web site’s name is a nod to one of graffiti’s most famous spots — the “writer’s bench” at the 149th Street and Grand Concourse stop on the No. 2 line. During graffiti’s heyday, the bench was where artists gathered to trade ideas and admire rolling canvases.

Then, as now, photographs were the only lasting evidence that a piece had ever existed. But today the photos reach an audience that far outstrips that of even the most hyperactive All-City Bomber from the ’70s.

“The trains used to move your name around,” said Mr. Felisbret, who is a freelance graphic designer. “Now the Internet moves your name for you.”

Henry Chalfant, the photographer and filmmaker who was among the first to document graffiti’s boom years in New York, said Mr. Felisbret’s Web site and insider’s perspective have helped propel graffiti onto a global stage.

“His site is the most important one, along with Art Crimes (http://www.graffiti.org/),” Mr. Chalfant said. “It has transformed the scene internationally, where everybody can find out everything they need and link up with people.”

The site’s current mix of elaborate pieces and quickly written tags also underscores a tension in a community of artists that now spans several generations. To some younger artists, the beauty of an intricate wall done with permission — and time to spare — is no match for the adrenaline rush of fast and dirty bombing on the sly.

“You could paint 100 pieces legally, put them on the Internet, and somebody in Germany will say, ‘Wow!’ But they won’t know that the writer took no risks,” Mr. Felisbret said. “Face it, there are two ways to get credibility — artistic merit or the assumption of risk. And for traditionalists, the assumption of risk carries far more value in the culture.”

That might be why some European aficionados arrive and immediately start asking how they can paint the side of a train. (Mr. Felisbret says some also think that teenagers rule the city and all graffiti writers are break dancers.)
“They have this idealized view of the culture,” he said. “They have fetishized something that does not exist anymore.”

The teenagers who could once slip through fences and dart among the rails are now middle aged. Some, like Mr. Felisbret, stopped writing graffiti long ago and embarked on more mainstream jobs in the arts. Others, like Joe Lopez, consider themselves weekend writers who don’t need to break the law to pursue their art.

“You get a job, you make some money, you get married and things slow down after a while,” said Mr. Lopez, 52, who started tagging CLYDE when he was a teenager in the Melrose neighborhood of the Bronx. “The last time I did the trains was in the ’70s. Then I branched out to other things, Central Park.”

Where? “The whole park,” he said. “The rowboats, everything. Every boat was mine. For about two years I burned it.”

Now his name can be found — legally — on walls in the Inwood section of Manhattan, not far from the fabled “ghost yard,” a sprawling maintenance depot that runs north of 207th Street along 10th Avenue. He does his art for fun, not for money — and with permission from landlords.

“I don’t have to hustle,” he said. “I have a good job.”

His days of sneaking into a train yard are over. He can walk in through the gate.

“I work for the Transit Authority,” Mr. Lopez said. “Believe it or not, I’m a supervisor in the No. 4 yard.”


May 18th, 2010, 09:04 AM








July 14th, 2010, 11:29 PM

July 14th, 2010, 11:44 PM

July 14th, 2010, 11:50 PM

July 15th, 2010, 02:01 PM

September 4th, 2010, 12:26 AM
In Two Bridges (Chinatown) from Manhattan Bridge.



November 3rd, 2010, 06:18 AM
In Chinatown again:



July 2nd, 2011, 04:59 AM
Metal security gates now officially illegal


As of today, it's officially illegal to have roll-down metal security gates protecting storefronts in New York City. According to the Daily News, the new law, which was passed by the City Council in 2009 and went into effect today, gives business owners with solid metal gates until 2026 to replace them with gates that are at least 70 percent see-through. Though some small business owners have complained about the cost of the new gates, which they also say are less secure, the intent is to allow law enforcement officials to see inside locked-up stores should they ever respond to a call late at night. "When the police or firefighters roll up to a place at 2 a.m. to respond to a call, they'll be able to know right away whether a cat set off the alarm or whether there's a guy in there with a machine gun," said Peter Vallone, chair of the City Council's Public Safety Committee. The law was originally proposed in 1996 by Anthony Weiner. Vallone is, ironically, now seen as a possible candidate to fill Weiner's seat in the House of Representatives following the congressman's Twitpic scandal. [NYDN] (http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2011/07/01/2011-07-01_queens_pol_picks_up_where_weiner_stumbled_to_ba n_magnets_for_graffiti_rolldown_g.html#ixzz1Qs6F5Q J5)


August 16th, 2011, 07:13 AM
Upper Manhattan Cleans Up Graffiti and Litter

Community members complain that graffiti has marred the beauty of Upper Manhattan. (NYC Community Cleanup)

By Carla Zanoni

(see article for clean-up effort photos)






(http://www.dnainfo.com/20110812/washington-heights-inwood/upper-manhattan-cleans-up-graffiti-litter#comments)UPPER MANHATTAN — Uptown is getting serious about cleaning up its streets with three recently launched initiatives seeking to remove graffiti and litter from Harlem to Inwood, where resident complaints have reached a fevered pitch.

“It’s like people stop caring at 125th Street,” said Maria Villanova, 27, who moved to Washington Heights from the East Village 13 years ago. “Even there the storekeepers would sweep the sidewalks and paint over graffiti more often.”

"It can't just be that we wait for the city to clean everything up," she added.

With that in mind, several groups and politicians are taking a step toward making such cleanups regular and more of a community effort.

City Councilman Robert Jackson announced his allocation of $25,000 toward the cleanup of graffiti in his district Friday, which his office said will seek to “keep all storefronts, roll-down gates, sidewalls and street furniture graffiti-free.”

Jackson’s office is working with Community Boards 9 and 12 along with local nonprofits Washington Heights-Inwood Coalition, Hamilton Heights Business Association, the Bodega Association of the United States, the Community League of the Heights, Broadway United Businesses and DONAR Inc. to clean streets from Harlem through Inwood.

On Thursday, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital teamed up with anti-litter and graffiti initiative NYC Community Cleanup Thursday to remove graffiti from a stretch of their building along the West Side Highway, near the on-ramp for the George Washington Bridge.

And last month, City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez launched a street clean up initiative where residents and community leaders volunteered time to pick up trash in the vicinity of Dyckman Street and Broadway, where Washington Heights and Inwood meet.

"Northern Manhattan is filled with people who love their neighborhoods, and who worked to preserve them through the years when it seemed like no one really cared about the area,” Rodriguez said last month.

“Unfortunately, many of us here have noticed an increase in garbage on our streets and sidewalks, and we are coming together as a community to clean it up.”


November 18th, 2011, 07:30 PM
Chinatown (again).

(downloading disabled)


November 16th, 2012, 09:13 PM
Hidden, Until the Storm’s Whirl and Splash

Daniel Barry for The New York Times
Hurricane Sandy knocked down a wall facade South Street in Lower Manhattan,
exposing, among other things, a time capsule of 1970s graffiti.

One of the less calamitous pieces of damage done by Hurricane Sandy was this: It knocked the facade off a wall on South Street just north of Broad Streets near the East River, revealing a time capsule of hand-carved 1970s graffiti that included ancient phone numbers and declarations of love. Daniel Barry, a freelance photographer for The Times, came across it on Oct. 31, after the storm water receded.

Daniel Barry for The New York Times
Sophia’s disco-era affection for Harry was revealed by the storm.

Daniel Barry for The New York Times
The great James was here, as were many others.


November 16th, 2012, 09:15 PM
Well I guess that's technically graffiti

November 20th, 2013, 02:27 PM


September 19th, 2014, 10:10 PM
Manhattan Bridge




September 21st, 2014, 12:14 AM
can't believe they're letting that stuff fly in 2014

February 7th, 2015, 04:26 AM
^ Me neither.

London Terrace apartments, Chelsea, on the upper left (2014).

Edit: Correction - Knickerbocker Village, Chinatown.



February 7th, 2015, 10:01 AM
That's Knickerbocker Village in Chinatown.

February 7th, 2015, 12:54 PM
correct, it's not even close

February 7th, 2015, 11:39 PM
Oops, yes, it's Knickerbocker Village :o. The two have similar towers, but I didn't look properly. I did wonder how there could be so much graffiti in Chelsea.

April 29th, 2015, 08:23 AM
This isn't really graffiti, but it sure is awesome.


Based on the famous photo VJ Day in Times Square by Alfred Eisenstaedt:


More pics (http://www.kuriositas.com/2012/06/kobra-mural-in-new-yorks-chelsea.html)