Flashback Flick Friday: Dequindre Cut in Detroit

By - Friday, June 12th, 2015

The Dequindre Cut in Detroit is the closest in comparison to the subway tunnels of New York. This 3.5 mile stretch (from Jefferson (riverfront) to Mack (Eastern Market)) of abandoned tracks was a graff haven. At some points, it is 25 feet below street level. With this element, writers could spend extra time on pieces and not worry about being interrupted. The Dequindre Cut or more commonly known by writers as the Market Yard is bordered by numerous abandoned buildings, abandoned cars, homeless people and several underpasses with hidden walls beneath several layers of paint. Each trip down there, you never knew who or what you would run into. But the best stories of the market yard come from the writers themselves. See what they have to say below: 

“Way before the yard is the way it is now, there used to be a rock/dirt path all the way down from the river to Eastern Market. I used to drive this beat up ass S10 pickup. One day I wanted to go paint, and instead of walking from Eastern Market to the end. I just pulled my truck in at Mack and floored it down the path. I got close to the Lafayette Bridge and noticed people down there so I kept going. When I got close they all took off running. I stopped under the bridge and was waiting for them to come back. It was Army, Tead, Iges, Kasto and Sehv. Tead was rather pissed at me because Army had apparently trampled over him while running up the hill during all the commotion.” – Brzm (SYW, ISH)

“Just the feeling that that’s the what Detroit was. Kids running around in the weeds writing on shit. I woulda never guessed they’d renovate it. I’m most upset that with the latest renovation they buffed the Justo/Dame from 94. Nothing ran long but what glimpses you did get taught you more than what the internet could. You could see a writers’ thought process in motion. Writers like Stori, Tead and Kosek come to mind.” – Porab

“Justo (MH) got my number somehow and called me up at work. He was inviting me and Dibs down to the yard to paint with him. I felt honored to be invited by such a dope writer at the time. So we left work right away and met him down there. It took me a minute to find the place because I had never been down there before. When we got there we were stoked to see Game (DBS) and Harp (MH) painting. So from then on everyday after school, we would go down to the yard in hopes of catching Justo down there. He was tough on us even though were toys and if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have turned into the writer I am today. This was bout the spring of “93.”- Sect One (EBC/DFW)

“I first started goin to the yard in ’96. There was some amazing shit to see to see back then. It was the first time I saw organized graffiti in person. Back to back full color pieces from Detroits’ greats: Game, Justo, Harp, Sect, Sehv, Fosik, Fel and Malt. Until then I only saw a few freeway and alley spots from these guys; mostly quick stuff tags and throws. Sect was one of my favorites, I was heeled to catch a full color piece down there. I had just started writing back then and I would go with my sis. We would run into other writers down there but they wouldn’t talk to us. Everyone was on some super secret quiet shit. Later in ’97, I did my first Army piece down there, which quickly got gone over by Fel. I couldn’t be mad, it wasn’t the first time I was burned, Dibs got me too. Over the next year or so I got better and met a lot of writers. It was a big deal to me to paint there, it was my only graff outlet and it was dope! You could stay there all day/night and there wouldn’t be any cops fucking with you. It sucks it’s being renovated, RIP Eastern Market Yard”- Army (TSR/AFD)

In 2003 the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy took over half of the Dequindre Cut. They built a bike and walking path that extends to the Detroit Riverfront. Now they are expanding that walkway and clearing out the remaining railroad tracks to pave a track down to Mack (the back of Eastern Market). Some spots are getting buffed or bridges are being torn down and not replaced due to the expansion. They have invited artists/writers including Fel3000ft, Malt and The Hygienic Dress League to paint large-scale murals. The remaining graffiti from the early ‘o0s is still hanging on. The city is leaving it like that, for now. Sometimes you’ve got to take the good with the bad…

Story by attng3tr
Photos by filc0

There are 0 comments...

You must be a 12ozProphet member and logged in to participate. Registration is FREE and it only takes a minute, so Sign Up now. As a 12ozProphet member you’ll be able to comment, save and vote on content, message other users and get access to many other member-only features.

Click here to Login or click here to Register for an account on 12ozProphet.

You must be a 12ozProphet member and logged in to comment. Login or click here to Register for an account.