I have always been fascinated by graffiti. I am naturally drawn to it and when visiting a new city it's often the first thing to catch my eye. I'm no expert or anything, but I take bunches of pictures and really admire many of the artists.
The flip side of the coin is of course that graffiti is illegal and costly. I have to admit that if I owned a piece of property and someone tagged it (is that the correct lingo?) I would not likely be pleased and it would cost me money and time to correct the problem. And as tax payers, wouldn't our money be better spent on something like education as opposed to cleaning up graffiti?
I ran into a compromise of sorts this morning. 90% of the time I pretty much follow the same pathway to work and this morning I was greeted by the following:
A few hundred meters further (this measurement reference is meant to please our non-U.S. audience - for Americans this is approximately 656 foot long hot dogs placed end-to-end) I ran into a couple more:
The "compromise" to me is that chalk will eventually wash away. Thanks to the wonder of the InterWeb it only took me one quick Google search on "2010ELLISG" to stumble upon the artist's site. This is one of the videos featured on the site that talks about his work and it appears that the pieces I rode over this morning are shadows of his bike - which he rides without a helmet. Dude has no hair so he definitely is not worried about helmet head. It does appear that he has a child and if you are reading this ELLISG, wear a helmet for the sake of your offspring.
As I scrolled down further I also stumbled upon a news story noting that said dude was arrested by the police for his chalk art. The judge did throw the case out.
The crazy thing to me is that not a single day in NYC passes where I do not see someone throw a cigarette on the ground, spit their gum in the street, or just carelessly toss garbage on the ground. It infuriates me and police are always around and I have never once seen a ticket issued for littering. Just like I have never seen a ticket issued for honking when signs are clearly posted on NYC streets stating that it is a $350 fine for honking your horn.
I would love it if NYC would emulate Singapore. The following comes from Wikipedia:
Litter in Singapore has very rare and unusual restrictions. Singapore is known for its strict laws against littering of any kind. In order to maintain their reputation as the cleanest city in the world, fines can range from S$1,000 for dropping a simple piece of trash to S$20,000 for the authorized consumption of illegal drugs. The Corrective Work Order requires repeat offenders to spend a few hours cleaning a public place wearing bright jackets, and in some cases, the local media are invited to cover the public spectacle.
All this to say, I was happy to see a little color on my commute this morning . . . along with the ever present garbage. If you have pictures of bike related art you can always send them our way and if you think I am an out of touch grouch you can let me know that in comments.