jwolman / tags / new york

Tagged with “new york” (2)

  1. Clean Trains | 99% Invisible

    In just about every movie set in New York City in the 1970s and 80s there’s an establishing shot with a graffiti-covered subway.

    Saturday Night Fever

    That graffiti was like illegible technicolor hieroglyphics—a language that even most New Yorkers couldn’t read. It gave you a sense that the subways controlled by wild gangs of teenagers. And they kind of were.

    For city officials, train graffiti was a sign that they had lost control. So, starting in the early 70s, mayors of New York vowed to eradicate graffiti. First, Mayor John Lindsey formed the first anti-graffiti task force.  He also re-classified graffiti from a nuisance, like littering or loitering, into a crime.

    Still, subway graffiti persisted. For two decades, the MTA failed miserably in its attempts to fix the problem, sometimes, laughably. Like the time they decided to repaint 7,000 subway cars white.  They called it “The Great White Fleet.” Of course, this only provided a fresh white canvas for the graffiti writers and then before you knew it, the fleet was covered in spray paint again.

    The graffiti-resistant white paint was not as graffiti-resistant as the MTA had hoped. From nycsubwayhistory.org.

    Then there was Mayor Ed Koch’s “Berlin Wall” method. Koch surrounded the train yards with two fences topped with barbed wire and guarded by German Shepherds. This worked until graffiti writers realized they could distract the dogs with food and cut through the fences.

    Credit: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork

    In 1984 David Gunn became President of the New York City Transit Authority.

    Courtesy of Amtrak

    David Gunn had already cleaned up subways in Boston, Philadelphia, DC, Toronto, and also headed up Amtrak for a while, too. Yet even Gunn was intimidated by the state of New York’s subways; he called the job a “suicide mission.”

    For decades, authorities treated subway graffiti like it was a sanitation issue.  Gunn believed that graffiti was a symptom of larger systemic problems. After all, trains were derailing nearly every two weeks. In 1981 there were 1,800 subway car fires—that’s nearly five a day, every day of the year!

    When Gunn launched his “Clean Trains” program, it was not only about cleaning up the trains aesthetically, but making them function well, too. Clean trains, Gunn believed, would be a symbol of a rehabilitated transit system.

    Systemically, train line by train line, Gunn took the subways off the map for graffiti writers. While they were fixing it, they didn’t allow any graffiti on it. If graffiti artists “bombed” a train car, the MTA pulled it from the system. Even during rush hour.

    May 12, 1989 was declared the official day of the city’s victory over train graffiti.

    But of course train graffiti has never stopped.

    Courtesy of CETE

    There is still subway graffiti—it just never leaves the train yards. Artists—many of them from abroad—paint subway cars knowing full well that they will get cleaned before they’re ever seen by the public.

    Courtesy of CETE

    The only place most people can see NYC subway graffiti is on social media.

    The primary place New York City subway graffiti lives today: #cleantrain on Instagram

    Given that graffiti artists won’t have their work seen as widely as they once did by painting the trains—and with a substantial risk of jail time and severe fines—subway graffiti in New York may be dying out.

    And if it did, how would we even know?

    Credit: Alexis Janine

    Reporter Ann Heppermann spoke with artist Caleb Neelon; former NYC Transit Authority director David L. Gunn; Vincent DeMarino, Vice President of Security the MTA and New York City Transit; and graffiti artist CETE (which stands for “Clean Trains”).

    Recently, CETE was arrested by the Vandal Squad (the NYPD anti-graffiti unit). CETE was charged with more than 180 counts of misdemeanor counts including “Possession of a Graffiti Instrument,” plus a few felony charges. CETE took a plea deal and agreed to pay nearly $19,000 in restitution fees. He is now on probation.

    Production help provided in this episode by Robie Flores.


    Music: “Subway Theme” – DJ Grand Wizard Theodore; “Theme from ‘The Warriors’” –  Barry De Vorzon; “Five Fingers” – Aesop Rock; “Dark Heart News” – Aesop Rock; “Orem Owls” – OK Ikumi; “Scythian Empire (live)” – Andrew Bird; “Cavern” – Liquid Liquid; “None Shall Pass” – Aesop Rock; “Try” – OK Ikumi; “Theme De Yoyo” – Art Ensemble of Chicago; “South Bronx Subway Rap” – Grandmaster Caz; “Vazgone”- Melodium



    —Huffduffed by jwolman

  2. Spinning on Air: The World’s Most-Used Musical Sequence! (July 06, 2014)

    What do Beethoven, David Bowie, Green Day, Mozart, *NSYNC, Pete Seeger, Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Duke Ellington, The Supremes, Rihanna, and many others all have in common? The Andalusian Cadence! Also known as the Diatonic Phrygian Tetrachord—sometimes written as i-bVII-bVI-V (or, in the key of A, the descending sequence A, G, F, E)—this sequence of four notes, this musical pattern, chord progression, or bass line shows up throughout the ages in all styles and genres, underlying music that ranges from sad to joyful, delicate to badass.

    David Garland has assembled more than 50 recordings of music from over five centuries to vividly make the case that this four-note progression, the Andalusian Cadence, is the world's most-used musical sequence.

    PLAYLIST ——Set 1 Heinrich Ignatz Frans von Biber - Passagalia For Solo Violin - Andrew Manze, violin Louis Armstrong - It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) (composed by Duke Ellington) - The Great Summit: The Master Takes Manitas de Plata - Mi Sentimiento The Beach Boys - Good Vibrations Del Shannon - Runaway Benny Goodman - Topsy - The Great Benny Goodman, Vol. 2 Tennessee Ernie Ford - Sixteen Tons - Vintage Collections King Crimson - Epitaph - In the Court of the Crimson King Paul Simon - Anji (composed by Davy Graham) - Simon & Garfunkle Live from New York City, 1967 Simon & Garfunkel - A Hazy Shade Of Winter Moondog - Stamping Ground - Moondog Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Blank Generation Nina Simone - Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood Meredith Monk - Greensleeves U2 - Twilight - Boy The Four Tops - Bernadette Rihanna - The Hotness Zager and Evans - In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus) Ray Charles - Hit the Road Jack - Anthology ——Set 2 The Ventures - Walk Don't Run - Walk Don't Run Lallo Gori - Seq. 3 - Operazione Luna Herman Stein - Stranger - The Intruder Hans Reichel - Bubu And His Friend - Yuxos Matti Bye - The Girl In the Tree - Faro Carl Orff - Ruhiger Tanz - Orff-Schulwerk Volume One/Musica Poetica Mozart - String Quartet #15 In D Minor, K 421: 1. Allegro Moderato (performed by the Cleveland Quartet Chuck Willis - Night of Misery - A Tribute to Chuck Willis Green Day - Hitchin' a Ride - Nimrod Hall & Oates - Maneater - The Essential Daryl Hall & John Oates The Grass Roots - I'd Wait a Million Years - The Millennium Collection: The Best of the Grass Roots Shakira - Objection (Tango) - Laundry Service Jerry Jeff Walker - The Ballad of the Hulk - Mr. Bojangles Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 14 In C Sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2, "Moonlight": I. Adagio Sostenuto (performed by Alfred Brendel) Pete Seeger - Waist Deep In The Big Muddy - The Essential Pete Seeger Henry Mancini - Top Shelf - Bachelor In Paradise The Lovin' Spoonful - Summer In the City - Platinum & Gold Collection: The Lovin' Spoonful Jeff Gibbs - Fahrenheit 9/11 trk 4 - Fahrenheit 9/11 ——Set 3 101 Strings Orchestra - Carol of the Bells (Shchedryk) - Home for the Holidays The Turtles - Happy Together - Happy Together Ennio Morricone - L'ultima Volta - I Malamondo David Bowie - China Girl - Let's Dance Ennio Morricone - Two Nice Tramps - Occhio Alla Penna (aka Buddy Goes West) Ennio Morricone - At The Tailor - Occhio Alla Penna (aka Buddy Goes West) Quilapayun - ¡El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido! - The People United Will Never Be Defeated! Johnny Dankworth & Cleo Lane - Let's Slip Away - 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning' *NSYNC - Bye Bye Bye - No Strings Attached Dave Van Ronk - One Meatball - Van Ronk Paco de Lucía - Punta Umbria - Antología, Vol. 1 ——Set 4 Bob Dylan - One More Cup of Coffee - Desire Michael Jackson - Smooth Criminal - Bad Maury Laws - The Baron - Mad Monster Party Mötley Crüe - God Bless the Children of the Beast - Shout At the Devil Diana Ross & The Supremes - Love Child - Number 1's: Diana Ross & The Supremes Joe Meek & the Blue Men - Orbit Around The Moon - I Hear a New World Dick Dale - Miserlou - Guitar Legend: The Very Best of Dick Dale The Beatles - I'll Be Back - A Hard Day's Night Claudio Monteverdi - Lamento della ninfa: "Amor dov’è la fe" (performed by Montserrat Figueras & Hespèrion XXI Disney Chorus - Pink Elephants On Parade - Dumbo

    —Huffduffed by jwolman