Table of Contents Foreword by Fuzz One
Getting Down by Ket One
Letter from Zeno to Charlie
Cooling out on the 4th of July by JA One 55 Bombing the System by Duel Brooklyn Represents by Noxer
Introduction by Ket One
1987 was a strange year to decide to become a writer. Strange because New York City was going through a huge drug boom and graffiti was the last thing on anyone’s mind. Most writers at the time had quit and moved on with their lives, which for many meant either selling or using drugs. The glory days of writing on trains had passed, it seemed, and all the famous writers that I had heard about had quit. In addition, New York was a violent and dangerous place, and writers would travel through all kinds of neighborhoods at all hours of the night to get up, you had to be crazy and ballsy to do this. I was a skinny sixteen-year old kid from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where tough Puerto Rican gangs like the Dirty Ones once lurked and where abandoned buildings were the neighborhood playground; you had to be aware of your surroundings lest you wound up with lumps for being on the wrong block. This environment made me acutely sensitive to my surroundings, so I was aware of the newer gangs like the Decepticons that roamed around Brooklyn robbing kids for their Triple Fat goose jackets and Walkmans. Still, it took being robbed a few times at knife-point, for my jewelry and pocket change, for me to wise up and start carrying ice-picks, screwdrivers, knives, machetes, and sometimes a sock with a cue ball in it; really anything that could scare off the knuckleheads and crack a head if necessary. I was a new writer even though I had been hanging out with writers in school and taking pictures of the trains. My school friends gassed me up with stories of train yards and their escapades, Subway Art moved me to hunt for the burners and the guys that were making them. In short time I was hanging out with Reas and Ven, two young white writers that I met when they came over to paint my home train lines, the J and M lines. They were such an oddity, benching trains in my Puerto Rican hood. It turned out that Ven and I ended up going to the same high school and that helped us become close friends. He was getting up a lot and I respected the artwork that Reas, Mesh, Web, and he were creating. I wanted to be down. Cars like the Dope Agony Idaho end to end showed that
Detail of a Smog, Cavs, Help (Ghost) whole car, 1988.
they (AOK crew) were determined to be down in the history books for style and creativity. I worked in the Burger King on Canal Street in Manhattan, where there was always a line of writers at my register getting free food. Burger King was our unofficial hang out, the streets of Canal being where writers made money hustling, and the official hang out spot being Reas’ crib further down Canal. Canal Street was a wild place filled with Asian gangs, drug addicts hustling fake gold chains and boxes filled with rocks doubling as cameras, we even had a rack spot at Pearl Paint, and beer and food racks. Who could complain? EPMD was the shit at the time, and along with Ultramagnetic MCs they provided the theme music to my movements. During lunch-breaks on the weekends or after I got off from work I made it a habit to go and try and paint trains. I got thrown down with the RIS crew in the spring of 1988 in the subway tunnels that run below Canal Street. It was during one of the first few times that I ventured into these tunnels alone to paint. The lay-ups below Canal Street had a bad reputation due to the HOT crew robbing people. As they snatched pocket books in the streets they would escape to the tunnels to hide out. Not the best place for a 115-pound kid on a solo mission. I remember that particular day like it was yesterday. I met up with Ghost and Reas in the tunnel, and Ghost was shocked to see such a young, skinny kid like me walking into the lay-up to paint by myself. Being that we knew each other from hanging out with Ven and the fact that I was willing to paint alone, Ghost threw me down with the crew. It actually happened the day I painted my first train piece. I took a crack at it and didn’t know much, but I was proud to be down with Ghost and what he represented – bombing and getting over. At the time Ghost had started taking over the lines with throw ups and pieces. The year before him and Saint killed the B and D trains with huge throw ups,
Throw ups galore at the ghost yard, 1991.
The Fuzz One comeback came complete with beer, cheeba, and bombing.
We provided steady work for the cleaning crews around town.
Above: Saneo Ghost rooftop, Queens, 1989 The Caine dedication was done because under this piece was a Peak Ghost piece that had a Caine dedication. On the first wall we wrote “Special Forces Caine One”. I didn’t really understand what the Special Forces were, but Peak and I ran into this guy on the train that said that he used to hang out with Caine One and that he and some other guys had created a thing called Special Forces as a dedication to Caine. So that night we went out and did a piece and wrote it – Caine One Special Forces. Everyone in that neighborhood, which was Caine’s neighborhood, was happy after that. I think me and Sane did the new wall because dudes started nipping the old pieces, so I decided to go over the first wall and I threw up Caine again. - Ghost
Below: Graffiti Lives track house by Ghost and Sane, Queens, 1989 I had my arm in a sling from getting into a fight, I had fractured it in two places. Anyway, we decided to paint the track house. We were painting and doing fine when the money train came. It pretty much stopped right in front of the house so we had to get out of there. I didn’t get to finish the “graffiti lives” I did on the side. The next night I called Sane to go, but he couldn’t, so I went by myself. In the photo you can see that I wrote, “I just had to come back”, because I didn’t want to leave it unfinished. The funny thing is that since the piece was kind of tall I had to hang myself up with my bad arm to outline it. As I was painting the money train came again and it parked right on the edge of the house. I hid on the side of the house and if the driver simply had turned his head he would have spotted me. So basically I climbed down the side of the pole of the elevatedtrack and hung with one arm while my other arm was in the sling. In the street below there was a lot of traffic. The cars that were stopping at the red light were honking and the drivers pointing at me as if saying, ”what the fuck are you doing?“ To them it must have been insane to see a guy hanging off the elevated with one arm in a sling. When the train left I boosted myself up to do the finishing touches. The next day I came back to take the pictures. - Ghost
VFR has killed the city with tags for over twenty years straight. This page: Noxer and Ghost all day.