2003-05-22 / Top Stories

"Taggers" Deface Wall Mural With Graffiti IDs

By Neil S. Friedman
"Taggers" Deface Wall Mural With Graffiti IDs By Neil S. Friedman

By Neil S. Friedman

This mural at E. 82 Street and Flatlands Ave. was ruined by graffiti artists’ “tags” and will soon be completely painted over.     Neil S. FriedmanThis mural at E. 82 Street and Flatlands Ave. was ruined by graffiti artists’ “tags” and will soon be completely painted over. Neil S. Friedman

For years graffiti artists were the bane of urban quality of life, defacing hundreds of subway cars, as well as public and private property. The artists usually left a unique "tag" that was, in effect, their signature. Unsightly graffiti has dwindled in recent years, but it continues to be a source of vandalism. Nevertheless, in some instances, storeowners would solicit certain artists to decorate bare walls outside their businesses. This practice mushroomed, especially following 9/11 when patriotic and dramatic murals began appearing in Canarsie and other communities across the city.

Several graffiti artists recently spray-painted their ‘tags’ on portions of a non-9/11-related mural, thereby ruining it, on the wall at East 82 Street and Flatlands Avenue, forcing police to have painted over it through a program run by the New York City Probation Department.

Sgt. Joel Dickerman, the 69th Precinct’s Community Affairs coordinator, told the Canarsie Courier this week, "Generally, most graffiti is unwelcome. Vandalism, in any form, doesn’t deserve respect. It often leads to nuisance crimes, such as hanging out that can lead to drinking or smoking pot and things can get out of hand. Any graffiti identified by an artist’s ‘tag’ is an eyesore on the community. In Canarsie we are making an effort to stop it as soon as it appears. We immediately notify the Probation Dept., which sends a crew out to cover it."

Dickerman explained that since ‘taggers’ targeted the East 82 Street mural, it would have to be completed covered. That process, he said, should be completed "in the near future."

If the storeowner wants another mural," Dickerman said, "he’s going to have to contact an artist to have it done again."

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