We were walking across Kenmare Street yesterday to get to the 4/5/6 train and we saw quite a bit of graffiti. I took pictures of the two that really stood out to me. I really miss the warm weather, when it’s possible to just walk around New York taking photos. Of course, I miss having the time to just walk around and take in the scenery too. It seems like I’m counting minutes these days. Hopefully this summer I can take a break by getting a part time job and just worrying about bills and having fun for a bit, instead of constant deadlines and research. Two more semesters after this, or maybe two and a summer class, and then I’ll be done with my BA and MA. College is fun, but every now and then I need a break from fun.
Anyway, the featured image above is by a guy that has a pretty simple landing page at BradleyTheodore.com which redirects to an Instagram account. Check it out. He’s got some other cool stuff on there.
We also walked past this collection of graffiti. I think I like the lizard hand and the “You go girl” message better than the bottom graffiti, because it has more attitude.
On Thursday, my wife and I were walking downtown and, mixed in with advertisements, I saw this graffiti on the barrier walling off an empty lot. The first thing I thought of when I saw the images were the animal paintings in the cave at Lascaux, France. Those are some of the oldest cave art images in the world. I remember reading about them in an Art History course I took a few years ago. But, when I saw the humanoid figures, I was more reminded of the style of North American Petroglyphs, which I’d seen in… ::cough, cough:: … Ancient Alien History channel specials, with that white guy with the crazy, curly looking hair:
Anyway, I like most of the graffiti I see anyway, but I especially appreciated the attempt of the person who did this to present something historical. I wonder if aliens painted this graffiti, in an attempt to remind us of the eternal truths of the petroglyphs in the southwest United States?
This graffiti is located on Varick Street, between Watts Street and Broome Street:
This post is long delayed. I meant to write it up and publish it on Monday, October 29th, but that night was the night Sandy flooded Lower Manhattan and caused our power to go out. By the time we got our electricity and internet back, I was scrambling to catch up on papers that needed to be written, reading for class (I use eBooks as much as possible) and generally in just getting life back into a rhythm. You know how it goes. Grocery shopping. Cleaning. Chores. Things just don’t do themselves, and when you spend all of your time trying to do the essentials, like finding food and water, things start to pile up. I really feel bad for the people that still don’t have power, even now. But, that’s a story for another post.
On the Saturday of the last weekend of October, my wife and I went to see the “Nights of Horror” event at Coney Island’s Luna Park. The attractions seemed to be themed primarily for teens, but we had a great time anyway. We walked around the neighborhood, looked at the boardwalk, rode some rides, and walked through the two mazes. I wonder how torn up this place was after the storm?
Right after getting off the Q train, we saw this mural:
I thought it was really surreal and cool so I took some photos of it and then enhanced the colors. At the time I was taking the photos, I jokingly told my wife, “Just in case it gets washed away by the hurricane.” I wonder if it’s still intact? (Pictures of the rest of the mural is in the gallery at the bottom of the post.)
After having a junk food meal at McDonald’s, we walked down to the boardwalk to look around. I think I’d been there before, as a kid, but it’s been so long that I can’t be sure anymore. It was nice.
I’d like to go back and have a look around next summer. Hopefully by then the damage done to the area will have been repaired.
Luna Park itself was done up pretty well. My favorite part of the whole themed event was the fact that they’d hired people to walk around in scary costumes and randomly scare people who weren’t paying attention. For example, they might get up behind you in line and lean in real close, and then scare you when you turned and found them right in your face. Or, you might be looking at a ride up in the air, and when you looked down, there’d be a person in costume standing right in front of you, staring at you. It was good fun.
The rides were good. We only went on a few, both because we were running out of time and because we just didn’t have the guts to get on some of them. There was one where you rode in a thing that looked like an airplane. The whole ride was spinning and each airplane-car was also spinning on an arm that took the plane into sort of a barrel roll. We took it easy. We stuck with the Tickler, a roller-coaster that spins like a top while going down the track, and the swing that takes you way up and spins you around real fast. We also rode a thing that was like a giant surfboard that went back and forth like it was on waves, while also spinning in circles. That one was sort of relaxing.
I made the mistake of forgetting to take my hat off while we were riding The Tickler. There’s one long drop on it and after exiting the ride and looking, I saw that my hat was one among many laying on the rocks below the tracks. I talked to a few employees, all of which said they couldn’t do anything about it and told me to talk to someone else. I was beginning to feel like I was going to have to leave my hat behind, but it was frustrating because it was just out of arm’s reach. My wife got tired of me being a punk and just grabbed a nearby broom, hooked my hat and gave it back to me. Maybe I’m too conditioned to follow the rules? Maybe it’s a leftover from my military days.
None of the rides seemed particularly Halloween-themed, but there were two Halloween mazes. One was called the Cudie Farm. I can’t remember what the other one was called, but they were both set up in a similar fashion and both were a lot of fun to walk through. My wife was a lot more startled than I was, but I think she was just enjoying the moment. More than anything, I was interesting in how well done the costume makeup was on the employees, given the scale of the park.
When we finished going through the mazes, we decided it was time to leave, but no trip to Coney Island would be complete without stopping in at Nathan’s Famous (the original Nathan’s) on the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues. I was tempted by seafood dishes, but I decided to get what Nathan’s is Famous for: the all beef hot dog. So, I got my chili cheese dog; my wife got her chili dog, and we stood there in the street watching the people while enjoying the good food. It wasn’t boring. A man dressed like a gay stripper Super Mario walked by.
But, then it was time to go home. Back to Manhattan. It felt disappointing. There was something comfortable about Coney Island. Maybe it was the lack of tall buildings. Maybe it was the atmosphere. Everything there felt more relaxed. We thought about how nice it would be to live in that area. Of course, we don’t think it would be that great to live there now, considering the recent catastrophe, but the place just has a really good vibe to it that I can’t describe. It’s casual in the way the Metropolitan Museum of Art isn’t. We’re really looking forward to going back.
The following gallery includes additional images of Coney Island and Luna Park:
You may remember this guy. He was in the last graffiti and wall murals post. I only post it again because I wanted to mention that it was a good thing I took a photo of it when I did, during the winter when that tree had no leaves on it. It’s going to be pretty well hidden until Fall comes around.
I found the next mural on the opposite side of the building. I’m not sure why I never noticed it before. Maybe there was a building or something there the last time I walked through the area.
These last few are graffiti from a public restroom.
I’m not sure about this one. I’m still trying to figure out how they get from Sharpie to Sandwich, or what it has to do with staining.
Pretty deep, right? I mean, for toilet art anyway.
This wall mural, located at 5th Street and Bowery, caught my eye right away. I have no clue what culture the figure is supposed to represent, but it looks like a fusion of African and Asian to me. The mixed background patterns and colors were a nice touch. If you look on the left side, there’s a small depiction of a blonde girl, with her hair up in short pig tails.
Here’s a view from the building opposite the mural:
The photo has some blurry looking spots because I took the picture through a window screen. That’s Cooper Square in the background.
As a bonus, I found this image on a large metal shipping container on the street in front of and to the right of the mural:
This is obviously an artistic rendering of the right wing denial of climate change and global warming. The figure in the image is intentionally covering her eyes to scientific fact. The way the image has been slightly torn away just makes it more interesting, to me. Haunting in a way, too, sort of like something you’d find in a post apocalyptic city where denial of science and fact has led to catastrophic disaster.
If you enjoyed this post, keep your eyes out for more. I’m constantly keeping an eye out for cool images and wall art like this scattered around New York City.
This is a topic I could make many, many posts about, so I’ll just label them all “New York city Graffiti” with a different part number. Unlike some other places I’ve lived, including other places here in the US, graffiti and murals are prolific here in the city. In fact, you could almost say it’s encouraged as a method of self-expression. Some people become so good at painting them that they make a name for themselves. I can’t think of any offhand, since I just moved back after being gone for quite a long time, but my mom sometimes sees artist ‘tags’ (their signatures on the graffiti) and recognizes them.
Here are two examples of graffiti:
This one is obviously political in nature and is on Avenue C around 5th or 6th Street. I should have taken another photo of the long message to the left of the main slogan. Maybe next time. Click the image to see a larger version where you might be able to make it out.
This one is a mural for a business: Urban Vets Animal Hospital. It’s really nice looking and it’s the cat to the left that caught my eye. I thought my wife would appreciate seeing this. Unfortunately, the veterinary hospital itself has something of a bad reputation so I’ll probably never go in.
… you might wind up with a ride that looks a little something like what you see above.
Over the last 10 years or so, New York City has really been cleaned up. I heard recently that crime has gone down by a third during roughly the same amount of time. Still, that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down when it comes to making sure you keep yourself and your property safe.
Without checking actual statistics I would say that New York City is probably a safer place than Manila, but even so I know people who don’t go out after dark, just to be on the safe side. Women get snatched up and raped, people get robbed, and there have even been fatal shootings in the neighborhood around where I’ll be staying.
In the week that I was in New York (before the trip I’m currently on to visit family in Georgia), we heard someone fire off about 6 rounds from a pistol on the street behind our apartment building and we walked down a street just a few short hours before two people were found dead in a vehicle there.
So, while I can relax a little bit compared to being in Manila, I’ll still be keeping my eyes open and listening for trouble.
Well, I guess we know where Jesus, hobbits, Aragorn and Gandalf are hanging out these days.