Exclusive: New York City Subway Trains Caught Running With Graffiti Art!
On February Friday the 13th I decided to hop on the #5 train to see if there was any cool new rooftop graffiti I could photograph along the line. I must’ve been crazy because it was about 10 f with a windchill of about -13 f. Still, I packed my camera, threw my hand warmer packs in my pockets, and walked to the station. When I got to the station I saw that everyone was packed inside to avoid the bitter cold of the outdoor platform. I decided to wait out onto the platform cold or no cold (photo ops don’t wait for good weather). The train finally arrived and I stood next to the window to take flicks. The views from the window are always dope. I never get tired of seeing the Bronx from up high. The train finally made it to the East 180 stop (East 180 is also a yard for the 2/5 train. You can always see trains laid up there.) As we pulled into the station I saw what is a rare sight today…..Graffiti on trains!
As most people know, The Metropolitan Transit Authority makes it a point to keep these trains from running. The public is never allowed to see them in the system. This policy was instituted by David L. Gunn in 1984. He was the MTA president who was responsible for the “clean train” movement. This dictated that trains with graffiti were to be pulled from the system immediately. In 1989 the trains were declared free of graffiti.
I was very surprised that these were out in the open. They most likely had just discovered these and moved the other trains out of the yard to inspect the hit trains (my guess at least). I was hype to say the least and some of the commuters waiting on the platform liked the trains. One older guy told me he thought it was “so cool” and that “it was great that they left the windows unpainted so that you could still see outside.” He was bummed when I told him they wouldn’t run. A conductor from across the platform yelled out to me “damn, that’s mad old school” as I took pictures. It was a cool experience. The public is no longer allowed to be a part of it, except for old photos and video. Unless, you count the ugly vinyl wrapped trains that corporations pay thousands of dollars to the MTA for (wonder where they got that idea).
So, who are the writers, you may be asking? They aren’t local. Most likely European writers. “Clean Trains” are still the holy grail of graffiti and our system attracts writers from abroad. From front to back the writers on this train are Munis, Drem, Hurtos?, Hasno, Now, and Jabato. Feel free to let them know about this article if you know them.
Getting up on trains today is no easy feat and in case you believe the MTA is letting their guard down, here is an excerpt from NYPD vandal squad webpage:
“The Citywide Vandals Taskforce is charged with the responsibility of tracking and preventing vandalism in all boroughs. The unit falls under the direction of the Transit Bureau, and with good reason. Though there are many vandals who do not ‘tag’ in the subways, explained Captain Selover, The transit system is still at the heart of the graffiti culture. We address this crime aggressively throughout the five boroughs, but effectively combating graffiti in the City means being able to do so in the subway system.”
Enjoy the pics and keep your cameras handy. You never know what you might run into.
Be sure to check out the metal heads section of our forum to get your train picture fix. Also, feel free to comment below on how you feel about graffiti and our transit system. We appreciate the love and feedback.