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Thread: Graffiti

  1. #211
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    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."

    The Times wrote of the gates, "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." Many people would like to see the gates saved, maybe turned into art.

    One of those people is filmmaker Neil Goldberg.



    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.



    Today, many of the businesses in the film have vanished.



    ReelNY interviewed Goldberg 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."



    Thanks to Mr. Goldberg for providing stills from his lovely film.

    http://vanishingnewyork.blogspot.com...own-gates.html

  2. #212
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    Graffiti’s Story, From Vandalism to Art to Nostalgia

    By DAVID GONZALEZ

    slide show

    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.

    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,” 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.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/05/ny...l?ref=nyregion

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  8. #218
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    In Two Bridges (Chinatown) from Manhattan Bridge.



    http://www.flickr.com/photos/glark/4...-18964236@N00/

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  10. #220
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    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://therealdeal.com/newyork/artic...rce=feedburner

  11. #221
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    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)











    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.”

    http://www.dnainfo.com/20110812/wash...#ixzz1VBlbVIdi

  12. #222
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    Chinatown (again).

    (downloading disabled)

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephan...n/pool-curbed/

  13. #223
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    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
    .

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...rl-and-splash/

  14. #224
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    Well I guess that's technically graffiti

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