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Is Anyone Nostalgic for the Graffiti Covered Subways?

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With the impending demolition of 5 Pointz, New York City's preeminent graffiti canvas of the last twenty years will vanish. But this weekend, the sight of a tag on a Manhattan-bound Q train prompted Second Avenue Sagas' Benjamin Kabak to harken back to a time when subways served as the predominant target for the city's aerosol art, a gritty time that featured not just graffiti but shirtless children lying on subway benches, interminable trips to Coney Island, and quite a bit of grime. The beginning of Kabak's memories coincide roughly with the point in time when the city got serious about cleaning up the subways and he also includes some mostly forgotten tidbits—the scandal surrounding the computer-controlled train cleaning system in the late '80s, for instance, and the fact that, throughout the following decade, the New York Times repeatedly declared that subway graffiti had returned (making subway graffiti something like the Williamsburg of the '90s.) In the end, no one (well, almost no one) is getting all that weepy over the loss of the subway art—as Kabak points out, by the time the city got around to dealing with it, most of it just wasn't very good.
· Looking back at the battle against subway graffiti [2nd Avenue Sagas]
· From Graffiti to Gentrification, Capturing NYC in the 1980s [Curbed]
· Riding the Subway in 1987: Graffiti, Trash, and No Shirts [Curbed]