Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dope-Ass Graffiti

Like most New Yorkers, I take the subway to work every morning. One sees the whole panoply of age, race, religion, and class all democratized by the need to commute. Most of these people look haggard and harried, unexcited by the prospect of spending long hours at work (the cliched "grind"). The most notable exception, however, are the tourists. Without fail, usually once a week or so, a group of them will board the #1 train (my train) in midtown around 8 AM. (Oh, and they're usually headed to South Ferry, presumably to see Ground Zero).

It's easy to tell that they're tourists since they're usually blond or otherwise fair, and usually very wholesome and middle-American looking. Mostly these are school trips are usually teenagers accompanied by panicked teachers. And man, these kids are PSYCHED to be on the subway! It's so WICKED to be in New York! A couple of weeks ago I overheard a girl in one of these groups say to someone, "It's so cool you get to spend your birthday in New York."

Yesterday, another slice of the heartland got on the subway. It was a small group. Two of them were very chatty girls, one of whom immediately began to coo over a small boy in our subway car whose shoes were lighting up. (She even took her picture with him.) Another girl asked me what happened to the train after it got to South Ferry, the end of the line. (I told her it just turns around and snakes back uptown.) Shortly thereafter this same gal began talking to the flashing-shoe lover and indicated that, now that they were in New York, she really wanted to see "some dope-ass graffiti." Not just any ol' graffiti, graffiti of the "dope-ass" variety.

And it made me wonder: is graffiti, "dope-ass" or otherwise, something maybe we here take for granted? After all, it's something most New Yorker find offensive and barely tolerate. And yet ... would we miss if it ever went away? Is graffiti, at the end of the day, the only truly urban art form, the city speaking back to itself? That, dear city-dwellers, is one to ponder on.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

And so ... here we go again

Well ... not really, that's just me ripping off Hunter S. Thompson. I've decided to start this blog since blogs - like the light bulb, telephone and electric eyebrow-tweezer - have transmogrified from a luxury into a necessity. In order to make even the slightest blip in the white noise of present-day Americana, one must blog or perish.

This blog will try to limit the narcissism-factor and be more about my external world than my internal life. I strongly doubt even my family or dearest beloved wants to read about my daily agita. Instead, this electronic diary will be about all things New York City. What's going on here, what's in the news, and what I've seen on our rapidly Disney-fying streets. I will only insert myself when relevant to the plot, otherwise my presence will be that of an amused observing narrator (think Nick Carraway or Henry Hill).

That, dear readers, that focus on all things New York, will be the thrust of this blog. Come here and learn more about the great city from this native's unique POV. Now, where shall we begin?