Author Archives: jedendny12

What does 5 Pointz mean to Graffiti?

Our trip to 5 Pointz was an interesting look into the current state of graffiti culture.  What once was “bombing” trains and going “all city” just to know that your work is being seen in a sort of traveling display, to signing up for space and being judged on your work in order to determine how long it will stay up for raises an interesting question for me, is the graffiti we know today the same as it was in it’s surge on the scene in the 80’s?

There can be two simple reasons to answer both yes and no.  Yes, because the act of graffiti is still illegal and to do it is still an act of defiance.  No, because the materials and technology has changed so that the actual paint choice has become an art form in choice vs. the material you are painting on.  But in both, I feel there is another reason that 5 pointz displays clearly.

Is it the same?  Yes.  There is still a pioneer sprit in those who are creating at 5 pointz.  Writers are always trying to modify their style as to be identified as different and more skilled in a certain areas.  One could also argue that not only is it the same, but in fact better.  In the 80’s, a writer had to go to train yards in the middle of the night in order to create and have their work be seen by the masses.   At 5 pointz, you can make an appointment and take as much time as needed in order to express yourself as you see fit.  Creating new styles and inventiveness that one would not be able to create given other circumstances.  You can then photograph it and send it to people across the world and it is totally acceptable, bringing about an acceptance to what is deemed illegal by society.

Is it the same?  No.  Where 5 Pointz is a place where one can freely express themselves without fear of prosecution, it has also lent itself to be a place that might defy against the true nature of the first writers, rebellion.  How can someone rebel against society and express himself or herself in a way that might bring notice to their situation if they have to sign up for space to do it?  And if his or her work is not “good enough” or “as good as”, then it is painted over by someone who is next on the list.  Going “all city” was the first realization of many writers that their name could be seen by thousands of commuters in one day of existence on any given subway line in the city.  At 5 points, no matter your message, if no one shows up no one sees it.  And if it is not “good enough”, it is gone, unable to be recreated the same way because each piece is an individual work.

5 pointz is an attraction and the work there outstanding and pushes creativity to new levels, but at what cost.  I feel it’s existence has changed the landscape of the graffiti in NYC, but has also brought about what I think is necessary acceptance of a truly innovative and unique art form. Did the original “bombers” of the subways ever dream of graffiti coloring books?  Probably not, but I don’t think that is what they were striving for  in the first place.

Graffiti Art Coloring Book
Graffiti Art Coloring Book

Article in Metro About Child Homelessness

City shelters filling with more homeless children

Published: November 26, 2012 6:15 p.m.
Last modified: November 26, 2012 6:21 p.m.
They’re everywhere — on subway platforms, in phone booths, in elevators and on taxi TV screens: the faces of some of the city’s youngest homeless.
The advertising campaign by the Coalition for the Homeless reveals that about 20,000 children are homeless this year in New York City, up from about 16,000 last year.

And those numbers only include children sleeping in shelters with their families each night.
“If anything, it understates how bad the problem is,” said Patrick Markee at the Coalition for the Homeless.

“It doesn’t include people living in a precarious situation, like doubled-up families or kids sleeping on the couches or floors of friends or relatives,” added Carla Brown, Partnership for the Homeless director.

A Department of Homeless Services source said they do not encounter homeless families on the street.

Markee acknowledged that the economy is partly to blame. But he and other advocates also blame the cessation of a program that helped transition families out of shelters.

In February, the city stopped subsidizing the rent of approximately 7,000 families through Advantage, a rent-subsidy program that provided monthly vouchers for up to two years.

Brown said people are now stuck between a shelter and rents they cannot afford.

“It affects people’s ability to move out of the shelter system,” Brown said. “The hope was that people would get back on track, but there aren’t that many avenues to help a family move out and get into someplace stable.”

Markee said the ads are meant to be “a wake-up call.”

“A combination of factors, including the economy and the loss of Advantage state funding, has led to an increase in the families with children census — but we are actively linking heads of household to employment supports and the services they need to regain self-sufficiency and rejoin communities as quickly as possible,”?DHS spokeswoman Heather Janik said.

A day in the life of a homeless child

Cavita, a domestic violence survivor, lives in a family shelter with her four daughters. They sleep on bunk beds and have a small bathroom and kitchen to themselves.

The kids attend school and do homework at an after-school program until Cavita picks them up after her job caring for the elderly around 6:45 p.m. They have a regular routine like any other family: dinner, shower, bedtime.

But they’ve already had to change schools multiple times with every new move, and chances are they’ll do so again if Cavita can’t find an apartment in the same area.

“They get accustomed to where they are, their friends, their teachers,” Cavita said. “But it’s going to be hard to bring them back and forth on the train every day and get to work too.”

The girls are happy in school, for the most part, she said. But some of the other kids know they live in a shelter and make fun of them.

A classmate teased her daughter, “Look, homegirl right there lives in a shelter.”

“She was crying,” Cavita recounted. “There’s just not anything I can do about the situation right now.”
But she’s been saving money since August and is hopeful they can move soon.

“Once they have their own home, they’ll be OK,” Cavita said.


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