• I remember when the "straps" were made of leather and when the trains & stations used light bulbs that screwed in turning the opposite way to avoid theft!
  • You used to be able to walk from train to train. The doors were unlocked most of the time. Unbelievable today!

Graffiti Subway 1978 NYC Subway MTA B Train on The El 50th - 55th St Brooklyn

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Subway Graffiti inside a West End line train in 1978. So prolific was graffiti in the 70s, it was actually considered an act of insanity to even speak of attempting to remove any of it.
The best Graffiti I ever saw was written across 4 train cars reading:
"CHICO'S BAD CHICO'S TOPS - CHICO AIN'T AFRAID OF THE TA COPS."
I have a pic of one of the cars somewhere but I would have needed a motordrive to get all of the cars in. You used to be able to walk from train to train. The doors were unlocked most of the time. Unbelievable today! [ Lesser know fact today" The TA Transit Authority Police were a separate enforcement agency from the "regular" NYC police force. I think the were absorbed into the larger force in the early 80s ]
ADDENDUM: I had no idea I had captured a part of the graffiti history of NYC before the comments on this posting! See my main photo sets B4 you leave. TNX:
www.flickr.com/photos/badwsky/sets/

NewYorker248, and 91 other people added this photo to their favorites.

View 5 more comments

  1. retrosigns 57 months ago | reply

    Mini Wdes are a rare marker to have today....They are no longer made and highly prized by collectors,I was told that the injection mould was in a fire and a new mould is like 30 to 50 thousand dollars. fFor WESCOSA to spend that much on a new one, they would have to sell a hell of a lot of markers just to break even. I have photos of these markers on my stream

  2. The Canarsie Kid 54 months ago | reply

    Don't forget NIF on the door. CW in effect! I still have my mini somewhere!

  3. MaD-pics 52 months ago | reply

    Unbelievable! I love this shot! I was´nt even born in 1977 and graffiti became famous in Germany much later (early 90s), but real graf-art for me means NYC in the late 70s...

    I´ld love to see more pics!

    Greets from Germany

  4. missrivs 51 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Public Transit Magic, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  5. Crunchy Pickle [deleted] 48 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Transit Inside, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  6. lino200rk 48 months ago | reply

    UGH! I was at NYU back then and took subs almost every day. They were in sad shape, broken doors lights out bad motors that caused slow trains..and spray paint and marker on every surface. You couldn't read the maps and often the side windows were so splattered you could not see the station 'till doors opened. The subway is still a pissy mess but nothing like that!

  7. boomchucker 45 months ago | reply

    I just read Jonathan Lethem's Fortress of Solitude, and recommend it to anyone who finds the photos in this group compelling. Not only is it set in 1970s Brooklyn (actually Boerem Park/Gowanus, not Boro Park), but tagging plays an important part of the story -- first time I've encountered that in literary fiction. I grew up in a small town about as far from Brooklyn as you can get, but I you really captured the time.

  8. Whiskeygonebad 45 months ago | reply

    Boomchucker,
    I have yet to find the very few
    photos that I took on the train.
    I did not often whip out my
    Minolta SRT-102 for the big tease.
    The mid 70s were often "unkind"
    as in when I donated my gold
    chain to an inquisitive total stranger.
    I took this somewhere along the
    55th-50th-Ft Hamilton segment of the B line
    4 sure I was likely on the way to Manhattan
    to buy chemicals... for the darkroom that is.
    Safety is Last in this case, so I took the photo.
    Oh joy, what a hero.
    MTA = Good Luck
    What do you want for 35 cents:
    To live forever?

  9. oliverchesler 44 months ago | reply

    Thank you for adding a creative commons license to this great photo. I used it on this blog post: www.wiretotheear.com/2010/09/16/work-in-progress/

  10. vendalism 44 months ago | reply

    Yo Oliver what are you doing posting under graffiti photo's, you was a Westchester kid in these times. LOL.

  11. Robrx777 40 months ago | reply

    this is EPIC

  12. cfknott 33 months ago | reply

    Tony, this a really good picture and it looks like it made a hit with quite a few people. I only regret that the first Spanish I ever learned is covered over. Remember, at each end of each car, "Aviso. La via del tren subteraneo es peligrosa. Si el tren se para entre las estaciones, quedese adentro. No salga afuera! Siga las instrucciones de los operadores del tren o la policia. (Sorry, I don't know how to get accent marks or up-side-down exclamation marks on Facebook.) I read that a thousand times while I was in high school learning Spanish and still remember it, word for word.

  13. whitespy 31 months ago | reply

    From what I remember, somebody would buy a gallon can of Flowmaster black ink from a printing supply shop in the 1 gallon can. The markers were an old homemade apparatus. It was a used, wide under-arm dispenser refitted with a maxi-pad, and filled with ink. I remember this from having to start my job as a in-house messenger at Shearson-Lehman-Hutton at the 110th floor of 2WTC. I started at 6AM. I would see all the expended "artist's tools" left behind after they ran out of ink. I used to catch the "B" train at 55th Street at 4:40 am in the late '80's.

  14. "WHATCHUWRITE?" 30 months ago | reply

    I would of gotten riffed at by tha fellas I had racked "maxi-pads" as a tip for a homemade jammy lol. I used the classroom erasers instead but the things we as "writers" made use of never ceases to amaze me........

  15. KR.ONE 25 months ago | reply

    Great shot, but I dont think this is from 1977. Most of these guys were'nt up like this yet. Maybe 79.

  16. vendalism 25 months ago | reply

    Good point KR.

  17. Whiskeygonebad 25 months ago | reply

    The latest I could have possibly taken this was close to '78, when I graduated FDR HS.
    I remember many things, including what year songs came out by a "certain feel". Granted, I could be a bit off on this one. It was over a third of a lifetime ago. Thanks. - Tony

  18. KR.ONE 25 months ago | reply

    You have great photos Tony! Thanks for putting them on flickr so nutjobs like me can say...hmmmmnnnn.....that color flow Master ink really did'nt look like that till 1970something...lol

  19. Whiskeygonebad 25 months ago | reply

    One of my rare instances of wall markings....more like an "I was here moment"....
    but isn't that what graffiti is? Look at the wall for, "AC 77" and my bro did "RUSH"
    much earlier. Both were done with those big wax-like, heavily pigmented crayons
    that seemed to me would be used for marking girders for construction or the
    street for work. As you can see, they wore well in this photo, fully exposed to the
    elements from 1977 to 1985 when this was taken.
    =============================================================
    Tony's 1957 Chevy Model 210 Restoration - Spring 1985

  20. AARBEE 24 months ago | reply

    WOW cant believe there is no KB TSS tags on there??

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