When you say Writer’s Bench nowadays people automatically think of the famous 149th & Grand Concourse station in the Bronx, but the reality is there were writer’s benches in every borough and on every line. I misspent most of my formative years skipping school to study at the Brooklyn Writers Bench at Atlantic Avenue in the back of the platform on the uptown I.R.T. #2 and #3 line. This was my art history, theory, and appreciation classroom. I witnessed most every car painted in the glory days from ‘77 to ‘82, many freshly painted with the windows intact. If only I had been photographing them, I’d be a wealthy man today. I couldn’t afford a camera or film and processing back then, and the reality is I would have been vamped for my camera anyway. Vickings, Vampings, and general Bogartry were the order of the day in that time and place.
The only IRT lines that didn’t come through Atlantic were the 6 and 7 (which held little of interest in comparison to the 2, 3, 4 and 5) and of course, the famous #1 Broadway Local. After having gone to High School uptown and linking up with the FC boys (soon to become FC Kings) my interest in the #1 line increased a hundred fold. Sure, the Ones would still never come to my neighborhood (unless they happened to switch cars to the 3 line) but my boys and a lot of writers whose style I respected would surely see them. So by 1985, if you were part of FC, TC-5, IBM, FBA, 156, COD, NTA, X-MEN or any of the related crews smashing Broadway, there was only one place to be on a Monday morning. 125th Street platform, uptown side, meet me there and bring a blunt. Oh, and bring a whole lot of heart too, or you might leave lumped up and penniless.
When the new car you pulled off this weekend rolls in, IF it looks tight enough, we will send Lil’ Chama to pull the emergency brake cord and everyone can flick it up and critique the estilo. Sorry though; No Toys Allowed.
Left to Right: PAR TC-5, Lil’ ol’ me KEO-SKI, WEST FC, over West’s shoulder with the Cazals on is KAZE FBA, and the face peeking out from between me and Par is FC O.G. Slin2. Peep my standard work uniform; Fisherman Bucket, black Leather-Front sweater-jacket, grey Lee’s and a LeTigre polo buttoned all the way up.
DANE2, Myself, RISK FC, and part of POKE IBM’s shoulder. Although this flick is blurry, you can see the first proto-type of my patented Wolverine X-MEN Glove (which everyone kept mistaking for a “Freddy Krueger” glove due to the popularity of that new Horror flick).The finished version featured four integrated box-cutters which could be flicked out from the fingertips with that satisfying SCHNICT sound-effect, but this earlier model only had one razor at the index finger. Also, note that I am making my “Leave-That-White-Boy-Alone-He-Look-Crazy-Or-Something-Face” which may, in retrospect, have added to the whole “Freddy Krueger” confusion.
The moral of the story, Kids? Angel-Dust does NOT an angel make.
All photos copyright WEST ONE FC.