I love these examples of NYC subway graffiti in the early 80’s! I looked at A LOT of these types of photos when I was writing WHITE LINES. I remember being a little kid and not knowing that subway cars WEREN’T supposed to have graffiti on them–that’s how pervasive and normal it was to see it. That the graffiti was cleaned up in the 90’s, and a lot of these trains dumped in the OCEAN (yeah, that was a good, eco-friendly idea . . .) is one of my biggest pet peeves with NYC in its present incarnation. Those cars were art, not an eyesore. I loved the bright colors, the creativity of the designs, the way that it made NYC look like nowhere else in the world. The city is too cleaned up now for my taste–sanitized, really, which makes me sad. More and more when I visit New York, I feel that I don’t know it anymore, that magical land of my childhood where colors were neon and glaring, and I once followed a pair of footprints outlined in purple paint halfway around the East Village–a performance art piece from the late 80’s–is gone forever. It’s a different city now, and some might say a safer, cleaner, better city–but it’s not MY city. Not even close. And it’s definitely not Cat’s city, the protagonist of WHITE LINES, the gritty, slightly seedy city where the sweet stench of clove cigarettes permeate St. Marks Place, and swooping, brightly colored graffiti shines down from the walls of every building she passes on her way home.

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