Cops roll up and rush the corner. They search the crowd of kids who were, up until that moment, just chilling the fuck out and causing no one any harm. When one cop frisks Crime SWC, they feel a can in his coat. “Is that spraypaint?” Derpycop asks. To which Crime replies, Nah, it’s a SCUD missile.
Crime SWC did some subway tunnels back then. He went on to crush all the rooftops along the Astoria elevated, before disappearing from the graff scene.
It always struck me that on the corner, we were just chilling in a big crowd. When we’d get chased away by random cops, that’s when we’d go bomb, or mug people, or who the fuck knows what some of them guys did.
At one point Crime was dating this chick Liza, who wrote… Liza. She beemed with pride one night saying she went over me in the pit. It seemed more like friendly fucking around than something brawl over. Back then you’d be lucky if your throwy ran for a week in the pit anyway. I wasn’t all that serious about writing, so I didn’t give a fuck. Nearly blind and hanging out with crooks, I didn’t really give a fuck about anything back then at all really.
If you don’t know where the pit is, you’re not from Queens.
I think I waved to Sane once when I was hopping the turnstyle. I didn’t know who he was at the time.
Years later I met Smith. Running tunnels with him helped make me who I am today.
Seeing this Mal throwy reminded me of another story from 1991. So there was Mal, and this other dude Mala. They eventually decided to fight one night over who got to keep their tag (yes, that was a thing back then). Mala lost and changed his tag to Malas.
That extra S… that takes more time to fill in. One night he was blasting this rooftop near 34th ave. he was almost done when this home owner came out of his window with a bat. Or maybe he was unarmed? Whatever the case, he was angry as fuck. Some say Malas was pushed off the roof, others say he jumped. Either way he broke his leg. The cops caught up with him at some hospital on Staten Island. Maybe should have gone to Jersey?
Both Mal and Mala still have a very limited amount of tags in the subway tunnels today.
1991. It was a prime year for NYC graffiti. The crack epidemic was in full swing. There were more murders in NYC than ever, and writers were running wild in the tunnels. RIS/XTC crews, ID UGG. Sane, Smith, JA.
When I see tags from back then, I have to stop and shoot them. In my mind, 1991 wasn’t long ago.
6 6 6
Best known today for his destruction of Banksy garbage, Omar is an innovator and subway tunnel god in his own right, hitting obscure subway spots most people never even heard of before the internet.
To some people these are all just names on the walls. But to me, they’re people. Sometimes they are people I’ve met. Other times I have no idea the faces behind the names. But it matters not. If you scrawled your name down here, there’s a 90% chance I respect you.
And I respect the workers too, especially those who scrawl some weird shit down here. I wish I was cool enough to be in the danger gang, or to own tunnels like Thor, MR, and the Sea Honk.
I am often but a witness to history, the unseen photographer, rolling through tunnels solo or with a rotating cast of kooks. Where others have come and gone, I remain.