12/02/16 1:08pm
8 DIY ways to turn post-Trump hate graffiti into something positive

Turn anti-semitic graffiti into a discussion of 2002’s fine cinema. Left photo via QNS; right illustration by Chris Giganti.

There’s no denying that for many of us the days since Nov. 8 have taken on a nearly apocalyptic portent. Those who warned us that no presidential election could lead to changes overnight woke up the next morning (and every morning after) to visions of a new and surreal reality, as though we had passed into the timeline of The Man in the High Castle (maybe we’re living Season 2). What’s been so world-shaking in the aftermath is that not only did we not accurately know our country, but we don’t even know our own city, or even our Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Not even a full week after the election, The F.B.I. reported a 6 percent rise in reported hate crimes, and only a few days after that Brooklyn Heights’ own Adam Yauch Park was found tagged with swastikas. While we have to leave most of the hate crimes to authorities to handle, people around the city have taken up the call to get rid of the hate messages themselves. So here are some suggestions for DIY graffiti solutions to defuse the messages of hate you may find in your own neighborhood. This is New York City, after all: if we can’t win a tagging war on home turf, what the fuck are we even doing? (more…)

10/19/16 9:32am

A photo posted by Monet Cruz (@lifeauthentica) on

Sometimes you see some graffiti that’s just so … [Italian chef kiss] mwah.  It is easy to clown on people who move to Brooklyn’s luxury buildings, since we’ve turned those ever-present newly constructed buildings into too-shiny, too-expensive glass totems of what’s wrong with Brooklyn’s development. It’s particularly easy, however, to dunk on the people who are moving to 365 Bond St., the first luxury rental building built on the Gowanus Canal, with apartments that cost up to $7,200/month that offer a view of the notoriously toxic waterway. The apartments are being marketed to people as if the waterway were a picturesque riverside, with marketing materials that say it’s “located on the newly created waterfront esplanade park.” They included a photo of people dangling their feet over the fetid waters.

So yesterday, DNAinfo reported on this graffiti that appeared adjacent to the building, reminding them that despite what marketing materials say, the Gowanus has a long way to go before it’s like the romantic canals of Venice, Italy (or even Venice, California, for that matter). (more…)

06/06/16 1:36pm
Would your rather have this or $500? Via Flickr user carnagenyc.

Would your rather have this or $500? Via Flickr user carnagenyc.

New York City is at its best when it’s unpredictable, which means the artistic side of it can assault you at any turn. You get on the subway and the showtime dancers are actually really great, pulling off vertical balancing-on-the-pole moves that should earn them a shot on one of those TV talent shows, if not the Olympics. You pick up a free book on a stoop and end up discovering an author who speaks to you in new ways; you check out a comedy show on a whim and Ilana Glazer or Louis C.K. are doing a drop in to work out new material. It’s on this fault line of coincidence and street-level art where graffiti exists: Some of it is the spraypaint equivalent of an overturned trashcan, blowing unsightly tags and crude messages down your street in a chaotic jumble. Some of it is awe-striking works of of majesty, big burners of intricate designs that turn a bland wall into “how the fuck did they get up there?” feats of color and imagination.

Cities everywhere have been battling graffiti for decades, and New York has long tried to shed the image of the 70s and 80s crime-ridden metropolis where tag-covered subway cars were a symbol of urban decay. But did you know you can get $500 for snitching on graffiti to the NYPD? Would you do it? (more…)

01/23/15 2:40pm
bushwick street art

WAR! via Instagram user Zexo

Bushwick might be hot enough to be the world’s seventh-coolest neighborhood, have shitty hotels “inspired” by it and get SNL and SantaCon to take a look at it, but that doesn’t mean it’s Park Slope. Bushwick can still be ravaged by WAR, although in this case it’s a graffiti vs. street art civil war that ANIMAL found, as spray paint can holding brother is turning against spray paint holding brother in a defacement battle over authenticity and gentrification. We haven’t enjoyed a Bushwick story like this since the one where Droid907 was interviewed sitting in a ditch and waiting to hop a freight train. (more…)

12/15/14 4:15pm
tea lounge park slope

How meta! Photos by Vijith Assar

Despite the fact that a couple of regulars are trying to make sure that the Tea Lounge goes on under a different name, the people who went to say goodbye to the Tea Lounge last night couldn’t be blamed for thinking it was the end. As such, tipster Vijith Assar said that when he went to pay his respect last night, he noticed plenty of goodbye messages scrawled on the wall of the coffee shop’s bathroom. Of all the time for bathroom graffiti, this seems the least offensive time to do it. (more…)

12/13/13 11:25am
5 Pointz is gone, but street art like this TK off the Classon Stop is still all over Brooklyn. Photo by Brittany Allen

5 Pointz is gone, but street art like this mural off the Classon Stop is still all over Brooklyn. Photo by Brittany Allen

If you’re even a marginal fan of street art or have ever had cause to ride the 7 train, the whitewashing of the graffiti behemoth 5 Pointz likely struck a chord. The place was meant as a mecca, a museum, and a hub for five boroughs worth of aerosol-spun talent. Even though we all know graffiti is ephemeral by nature – as it’s usually illegal – this is a big loss. Sucks to your ass-mar, gentrification.

But! There’s a light at the end of the tunnel! Or more specifically, various lights adjacent to the G and L and M subway tunnels! In honor of 5 Pointz’ passing, we’ve compiled five fantastic walls in four neighborhoods that merit a trip from any graffiti fan. This tour is one of a thousand one might take through Brooklyn – the other great thing about quality street art in our borough is that once you start looking for it, it tends to materialize. So for all those days when paying a price of admission for one at the MOMA feels like trading in meals for a week, do yourself a favor and look around. Look up! Up first… (more…)

12/12/13 3:52pm
836 dekalb avenue

If you lived here, you’d be gentrifying home by now

Just in time for that whole “Bed-Stuy is the new Williamsburg” thing, Bed-Stuy is getting some fancy new apartments of its own, like the ones at 836 Dekalb Avenue. Some people aren’t too happy about that, at least judging from these pictures snapped by a local resident who passed them on to us. We’ve got a few more pictures after the jump. (more…)

11/20/13 9:03am
5 pointz whitewash

The whitewash in progress. via Instagram user joshiku

Early Tuesday morning while most of us were sleeping, 5 Pointz, the vibrant Long Island City graffiti temple that welcomed 7 train riders to Queens, was painted white. The space’s whitewashing marks the end of a protracted legal battle between Meres One, the space’s coordinator and curator, and the building’s owners, developers Jerry and David Wolkoff, and the end of the building as a cultural touchstone.

In August, the NYC Planning Commission approved the Wolkoffs’ proposal to demolish 5 Pointz in favor of new luxury high-rises. Meres and other artists sued claiming 5 Pointz was legally protected from alterations because the art covering it belonged to its creators, but graffiti was ultimately exempt from such protection and the lawsuit was dismissed. Then came the whitewash, one of the more depressing gestures of gentrification and sloppiest demonstrations of power I’ve ever seen in this city. (more…)

05/10/13 9:39am
It only gets better from here. via The Brooklyn Paper

It only gets better from here. via The Brooklyn Paper

Controversy in Bushwick usually sends reporters scurrying over here in search of ridiculous young people to talk to, in the hopes they’ll say something ridiculous. Which, to be fair, almost always happens.Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Reporters have to sell papers get web hits and young people have to be ridiculous. But somehow, the best thing about a story about a giant mural of grotesque naked women on Johnson Avenue offending people isn’t even the giant mural of grotesque naked women. (more…)

04/18/12 7:00am

Oh crap, you guys: blog commenters have taken to the streets! Our friend Hannah Maxfield spotted this around N. 7th and Berry in Williamsburg yesterday.

The tiny text on the bottle says “Triple Gentrified,” in case you can’t read it. Which is of course a spoof on these Bushmills ads. Up next we expect to see a spoof ad of this movie poster, with the words “THE TRANSPLANTER,” in which some clever photoshop person tells people to GO BACK TO OHIO because, obviously, only people born in Brooklyn have a right to live here, even if the transplants are Statham cool. (more…)