New York Times Worries About Shortage of Walls for Graffiti Vandals to Vandalize

A decade of Tom Wolfe mockery should have brought an end to upscale liberal stupidity like this. But of course it never dies. And so the New York Times puts out a story “worrying” about where graffiti vandals will be able to spray paint.

The masked artist hovering over the Bronx sidewalk is but a phantom. The cinder block wall on West Farms Road near East 172nd Street, which for years was a gallery of graffiti murals, is gone, too… In January, construction is set to begin here for 237 units of about 1,300 apartments at modest prices in what is a marginal industrial area in West Farms. The demolition eventually will go one block west to Boone Avenue, whose warehouses and garages have long been a world-famous showcase for artists such as Cope, the Royal Kingbee and Skeme.

So cheap and affordable housing for minorities will replace graffiti. In crazy liberalville… this is a bad thing.

The gradual loss of these walls, like last week’s sudden whitewashing of 5Pointz in Queens, has street artists wondering where they — especially younger, less established artists — will be able to paint.

The same place they seem to be “painting” now. Other people’s property. Occasionally businesses hire them to throw up an ugly mural.

But like the New York Times, I am also deeply concerned about the lack of places for graffiti vandals to vandalize. Can I recommend that they explore using the New York Times Building at 620 8th Ave as their canvas?

It’s okay for the New York Times to offer up buildings in minority and working class neighborhoods to be vandalized. So why not help the endangered graffiti artist by letting them mess up their building. Considering how ugly the Times’ generic skyscraper is, it could use a few gang tags.

For J. J. Ramirez, an “original school writer” whose tag, Mico, covered subway cars and walls starting in the late 1960s, the implications are clear.

“The whole thing boils down to class warfare,” Mr. Ramirez said. “People all over the world are wondering why they did that to 5Pointz. My answer is, why not? Do we really think some landlord is going to give a damn about the culture of the working class? This was an art form invented by the children of the working class, not children with last names like Trump or Rockefeller.”

This really is class warfare. It’s about people with no class and people with class.

If you spray paint graffiti on trains, you’re not practicing an art form and you’re not working class. You’re the criminal underclass.  And while elitist liberals did not invent graffiti, they do subsidize it by buying it and promoting the laughable idea that “THUG4LIYFE” is art.

Here’s some of Mico’s authentically working class art. (This was not invented by anyone named Trump. It was probably invented by a bored Egyptian playing around the pyramids with some chalk.)

MICO on steel - IRT Subway, New York (1973)

It’s like Rembrandt, if Rembrandt were blind, retarded and completely talentless.

“The writers’ community is concerned,” said Carolina Diaz, an artist who works under the name Erotica67. “A lot of the writers say they won’t have the freedom to express themselves. People might take art into their own hands, like it was back in the ’80s.”

If you need that translated from thug to English, they’re going to randomly vandalize things. Which they do already anyway.


Here’s a sample of Erotica67’s art/writing. It does consist of letters so it counts as writing and it vandalizes a subway station so clearly “people” are taking art into their own hands.

The murals are the only warm touch on an otherwise bleak stretch tucked between the Sheridan Expressway and townhouses that rose from the rubble of 1980s abandonment. Recent zoning changes paved the way for a large residential development planned by Signature Urban Properties. While the plans were met with some grumbling about losing the open-air gallery, Gifford Miller, the former City Council speaker and a principal in Signature, said the Bronx had more pressing needs.

“We have a lot of respect for the artwork,” he said. “But we believe the community feels strongly that affordable housing is critically important and will hopefully make this area safer, too.”

So the people don’t have a pressing need for graffiti? Shocking. The New York Times clearly disagrees.

Alfred Bennett, the Royal Kingbee, understands those needs. And though he makes his living doing artistic and commercial work, he says the dwindling number of walls will push younger artists to the streets. Already, the blue barrier that circles the lot on West Farms Road has been hit by local taggers.

Let us vandalize walls… or we’ll vandalize walls.

I don’t see an upside here except that giving them walls to vandalize makes a neighborhood look trashy, but supposedly controls the spread of graffiti.

That worries Wilfredo Feliciano, known as Bio, whose Tats Cru rules Hunts Point. Not just anyone can go into their turf, just as they would not paint somewhere else without letting the local artists know.

For years they painted murals on the Lower East Side, paying building owners up to $1,000 to paint ads and personal pieces. But over the last 10 years, he said, he has gone from 15 walls to only one, as most were replaced by upscale housing, restaurants or billboards.

“There are hardly any spots left in the city for graffiti writers,” Mr. Feliciano, 47, said. “It’s going to mean that everybody’s going to be fighting for space. And you know what happens if they don’t have space to express themselves.”

Wait… how can artists possibly express themselves without walls?

Why they would have to get some kind of indoor space and paint on canvas. And that’s not art. But wait…

Granted, he and his friends have a canvas nearby. Behind their studio is a full-size plywood replica of a 1980s subway car, which they cover regularly with intricate pieces and figures.

“We’ve been reduced to painting at the office,” Mr. Feliciano joked. “We can’t go painting trains at our age. At least this is easier in the backyard. And it has that shape we enjoyed in our youth.”

If Feliciano can somehow be taught to move from plywood replicas of trains to plywood and then canvas, why no one’s wall would have to be vandalized at all.

And this is what Tats Cru “art” looks like.


  • Tim N

    “have long been a world-famous showcase for artists such as Cope, the Royal Kingbee and Skeme”
    Artists?? How about vandals.
    I absolutely hate, loathe, and despise graffiti and graffiti vandals.
    Where I used to live, my fence got tagged from time to time. My policy was to go out with the belt sander and sand that garbage off the next day. I moisture sealed the wood to make it hard for the paint to sink it.
    These so called artists are just cheap trash and they trash up wherever they leave their illiterate tribal marks. Worthless.

  • edlancey

    Wankers !

  • edlancey

    and no doubt private owners have to pay to remove it from their buildings

  • objectivefactsmatter

    There is no right and wrong until the left defines it. That’s the world they live in.

  • Biff Henderson

    If there’s one thing liberals are good at it’s legitimizing criminality. What America lacks is a Criminal Indulgence Czar to formalize the process.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      isn’t that Eric Holde’rs job?

      • Biff Henderson

        True, but I see him more as a dumb animal put on a scent,

  • alericKong

    They’re setting the stage for Villheim’s new New York.

    Next issue they’ll describe the comforting warmth of fluid discharge spray, and self-awarness via battering.

  • UCSPanther

    You know its getting silly when the crude scrawlings from “markin’ up da hood” are considered “art”…

  • Calvin

    You’re a fucking idiot.

    • Biff Henderson

      One man’s vandal is another’s subversive cultural force who niggles their objections through an outlawed form of “art.” These attuned intellects are the engines that can change the world. I know the drill and it’s crap.

      Let’s put this “art” in perspective. Like many artists Norman Rockwell signed his work. Aside from his work his signature is a distinct logotype that separates him from the crowd. Pabst Blue Ribbon verses Heineken. Fubu verses Nike. How the shameless self-promotion of branding in the form of a unique logotype that desperately screams “LOOK AT ME!” is construed as a valued niche in the artistic community escapes me. This egomaniacal, reductionist claptrap offered up in the same way one rapper hollah’s I’m the best there ever was. When “art” is reduced to self-aggrandizement for its own sake that’s where I draw the line.

      Haters be hating, right Bro?

  • Mr. C

    There is some whack bullshit happening on this page that I cannot even bend my mind to understand. You act like graffiti is not one of the most pervasive, and widely spread forms of visual art that has ever come out of america. That the artists are not some of the most celebrated and widely known names in the art world in recent years… In fact you sit here and and basically say that by using aerosol you become LESS of an artist. That writers are “THUGS” and “GANG MEMBERS” which, if you actually read interviews from members of vandal squads you would know is completely and equivocally untrue.

    You points about graffiti not being “Working class” is bullshit as well. If you ever read a history of working class stuggles, especially those on unions and their clash with police, you would realize that the the terms “working class” and “criminal underclass” are practically synonymous. Laws that are created by the RICH do only one thing, which is ensure those with power STAY in power, and that those without power wither away. You want a 5 day work week? They would throw you in Jail. Women’s rights? Jail. End racial segregation? Beat you into a PULP, and if you don’t die? Jail. I do not pretend that these issues necessarily relate one on one with graffiti art, but my point is that graffiti was built out of poverty. Its criminalization and gentrification has a lot to do with just that. It makes the powerful feel less powerful, the rich feel uncomfortable, and the misguided public feel “unsafe”, so its got to go. FUck these ideals about “Oh, its private property and blah blah blah”. It is but a wall. A train on a track, and a stop sign. New york city is a heap of shit, with homeless people and pollution running rampant and you are worried about a bit of color on a wall?

    You have also taken pictures of Graffiti taken in the 70’s and 80’s (Times in which the STYLE of graffiti had never been defined, when subway writers were no more then 17 or 18 years old (many were much younger)) and compare them to Rembrant, a highly train fine artist of the baroque period that had YEARS of training under a master, and NEVER suffered the economic hardships that these young children endured (Yeah thats right bitch. Graffiti writers have formal educations too). It is not even a comparison. There is barely anything to compare. Its like comparing cave paintings to the painters of the Italian renaissance. The BEGINNINGS of an art form to where art ended up after the mistakes of generations. Straight Ignorance, and no depth of understanding.

    I could go on and point out EVERY flaw in this article, as there are a lot, but my major points have been made. Graffiti is VERY important to many people on this planet, and they will never give two shit about the opinion of a laymen like you Daniel Greenfeild. Stick to “Radical Islam” and stay the fuck out of topics you will never relinquish a bias from.