The Writing Is on the Walls, and the Signs and the Trees

A woman on her bicycle pulled over in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, on Thursday to greet a couple of familiar faces. She jumped right into the conversation.

“Bad,” replied Gina Argento, indicating some illegible scrawls across the street. It is a far cry from “good,” the 1970s-era murals that made artists of lanky youths with spray paint. Which, for the record, no one seems to want, either.

Greenpoint’s graffiti problem is as stubborn as unchecked mold. It is everywhere, even greeting visitors to Brooklyn upon their arrival from Queens over the Pulaski Bridge. There is graffiti on brick walls and painted walls and on glass doors and poles. Trees are tagged with paint. Someone scrawled on a “Stop Bed Bugs” sign on a remote corner. In the men’s room of the Manhattan Three Decker diner, someone wrote “Shy Guy” on the plastic sign that says employees must wash their hands. And in a small room in St. Anthony of Padua Church, people have been known to scratch names or short prayers (“Please help me”) into the feet of the statues of saints.


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