Tag Archives: Graffiti

‘Gentrification in Progress’ banner appears on 5Pointz building


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER

Two artists are making sure their voices are heard as the demolition of the buildings that were once home to 5Pointz continues.

Artists gilf! and BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) collaborated to put a large yellow tape around the Jackson Avenue side of the Long Island City building with the words “Gentrification in Progress,” according to a Twitter post. The banner was reported on the site Sunday morning.

After a long fight to save 5Pointz, the LIC graffiti mecca, years of art was whitewashed overnight last year. The owners of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, the Wolkoff family, ordered the action to be taken in November. Rallies were held throughout that same month to save the site, including a gathering just three days before the whitewashing, requesting the building with its art be landmarked.

Since the whitewashing, the demolition process has slowly begun with signs of asbestos removal crews at the location.

 

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Ridgewood newsstand razed, problems persists across street


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Office of Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley

One long-standing Ridgewood problem down, and one more to go.

The troublesome newsstand on Metropolitan Avenue near Fresh Pond Road, which had been an eyesore in the community, attracting garbage and graffiti for more than two decades, has finally been taken out of sight.

The MTA/LIRR, which owned the land, demolished it on Friday with $100,000 allocated from Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley.

“After long delays from both the DOT (Department of Transportation) and LIRR, I am happy to see persistence pay off,” Crowley said.

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre 

Crowley called a press conference in 2009 with Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assemblymember Mike Miller to announce that they would remove the structure, and transform the space into a community garden.

But those promises were derailed due to complications with the LIRR and the DOT, which both have rights to the property.

The city was reluctant to have any work done in the area, according to Crowley, because of the renovations on the nearby bridge on Metropolitan Avenue.

Community leaders appreciate that the site has finally turned a corner, but now they want elected officials to focus on the other problem — literally across the street.

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre 

The DOT assumed control of the abandoned gas station on Metropolitan Avenue across from the newsstand site several years ago, but the property has also attracted graffiti. However, unlike the newsstand, the gas station is fenced in, meaning community volunteers can’t clean it up.

“The city takes available property, because they have to fix the bridge and then they let it go,” said Bob Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association, which has cleaned up the newsstand site in the past. “They don’t keep it up, and this is a disgrace. If we, regular property owners, did that, we’d get fined.”

Photo courtesy Bob Holden

Plans aren’t complete for what the newsstand site will become, but for now the DOT “will make it nicer,” according to a Crowley spokesperson.

 

 

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Graffiti duo busted in Richmond Hill


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYPD

Police busted two vandals in Richmond Hill on Saturday.

Sergeant Jimmy Conwall, Detective Christopher Diaz and P.O. Anthony D’Ascanio, dressed in plain clothes, spotted two people sitting on a subway bench at the Jamaica Avenue and 111th Street station around 1 a.m. on Jan. 11.

The pair, Tommy Martinez and Jeremy Cautin, was sitting near “fresh graffiti vandalism” on a J-train car, police said.

Diaz saw a knapsack stuffed with spray paint cans next to Martinez, 19, of Brooklyn. He tried to close the bag as the officers approached, according to police.

Diaz then saw Cautin, 21, of Richmond Hill, wearing one green latex glove and a spray paint can sticking out of his jacket pocket.

Later, cops determined the fresh graffiti belonged to the two. Cautin acted as a lookout while Martinez tagged “FEAL” on the subway car, 10 feet wide and over three feet high.

They were both arrested and charged with criminal mischief, making graffiti, 15 counts of possession of graffiti instrument and criminal trespassing.

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New Park Pizza in Howard Beach vandalized


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo via mrsquinn1118/Instagram

The iconic Howard Beach pizzeria, New Park Pizza, was reportedly vandalized early Friday morning.

An angry customer tagged “worst service ever” on the pizza spot’s front windows for all of Cross Bay Boulevard to see, according to an Instagram picture posted Friday morning.

An employee said the graffiti was washed away by the time he came into work.

New Park Pizza was the site of a 1986 hate crime in which a black man, Michael Griffith, was killed.

 

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Graffiti artist Banksy makes his way to Queens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Eric Benaim

A “residency on the streets of New York” would not be complete without coming into Queens for one artist.

Since the start of the month, the mysterious, ghost-like and notorious British graffiti artist only known by the name Banksy has hit the streets to tag his way around the Big Apple. In a unique show titled “Better Out Than In,” Banksy has been going around each day of the month and leaving his stenciled pieces for people to find. The artist also stencils a phone number with each piece so whoever is curious can call and find out a bit more on each artwork.

The artist began his “exhibit” on October 1 with his first piece appearing in Manhattan with reports saying it was on a building in Chinatown. Each day the official website for Banksy, www.banksyny.com, gets updated with images of the new stencils.

According to reports and the Banksy official website, on Sunday the artist set up a stall in Central Park and sold original signed canvases for $60, which normally go for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

After hitting Manhattan and Brooklyn, Banksy made his way to Queens on Monday and stenciled on a blank wall in Woodside. After reports of the piece appeared throughout the Internet, fans flocked to the 69th Street and 38th Avenue wall where the artist had written the quote, “What we do in life echoes in Eternity” from the movie “Gladiator” and stenciled a man trying to wipe off the words.

Even with all the admirers, on Monday night the Woodside piece met the same fate as other New York Banksy pieces, as a different graffiti artist painted over the work.

 

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5Pointz to become apartment complex after final vote


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Developers have reached the final step in seeing the Long Island City graffiti mecca, known as 5Pointz, become two apartment towers.

The City Council voted on Wednesday, October 9 to approve the land use application that would allow the Wolkoff family, owners of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, and developer G&M Realty to build apartment towers to larger dimensions than allowed by current zoning rules.

One tower would reach 47 stories and the other 41 stories, with close to 1,000 rental apartments, 32,000 square feet of outdoor public space and 50,000 square feet of retail space between them.

According to Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, developers agreed to build and staff the two buildings with 100 percent union workers, bringing more than 1,000 jobs to Long Island City, and also increase the number of affordable housing units from 75 to 210.

“The concessions provided under the compromise will give Western Queens residents as well as artists a wide variety of interactive amenities future generations will benefit from,” said Van Bramer.

As a “commitment to the arts in this building,” Van Bramer said the developers agreed to keep the altered plans they made in July after listening to comments from Community Board 2, which voted against the application.

G&M Realty’s plan will now include an addition of 10,000 square feet to the initial 2,000 square feet planned for artists’ studios. Borough President Helen Marshall approved the application in July.

Van Bramer said the Wolkoffs have also given a written agreement to offer Jonathan Cohen, widely known as Meres and curator of 5Pointz, the chance to select art on the new building’s walls and panels.

“It was important for me to honor the history of the building over the last 20 years and to recognize what it had become to the graffiti and aerosol art world,” said Van Bramer.

However, according to Marie Cecile Flageul, 5Pointz artists are furious a second hearing, previously promised by Van Bramer, never happened and although 40 speakers stood up to speak at the October 2 public hearing, no one really listened.

“It was a beautiful horse and pony show,” said Flageul. “About half way through the testimonies, almost every council person had left the room. Every single person that took the day off to come and speak, wasted their time because there has been no follow up.”

Flageul also said to date no 5Pointz artists have been contacted or offered to work within the art studios or be featured on the art panels. There have also been no commitments in writing stating everything promised would actually take place once the towers come up.

“[The artists] feel disrespected, they feel profiled,” said Flageul. “We’re all volunteers. We all work our butts off.”
Although the artists have until December 1 to leave the property, Flageul said business will continue as usual with artists from around the world currently putting up their work and more making the trip to the borough.

“We’re going to continue doing what we’re doing. That’s the beauty of art, no matter how much corruption or unfairness there might be, right now we’re continuing what we have been doing for 11 years. We are going to continue the beautification of Long Island City,” said Flageul. “We’re never making the move. We’re here till the end.”

Sunnyside battles graffiti with new removal program


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District

Sunnyside will soon shine brighter, thanks to a monthly graffiti removal program.

With the help of a $2,500 donation from the TD Charitable Foundation, the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID) launched its efforts to combat vandalism.

“We are extremely grateful for this generous award from the TD Charitable Foundation, which will sustain our increased graffiti removal efforts in the neighborhood,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines BID.

Each month Sunnyside Shines identifies graffiti in the area, which is later removed by a specialized contractor.
Last month, tags were removed from 22 businesses.

By removing the graffiti on a monthly basis, Sunnyside Shins hopes to assist in beautifying the neighborhood and making Sunnyside an enjoyable area to shop and do business.

“Removing graffiti on a monthly basis helps maintain a clean and safe commercial district, and also helps attract new businesses to Sunnyside,” said Thieme.

To report graffiti on your business, call Sunnyside Shines at 718-606-1800 and the business will be added to the list of upcoming sites to be cleaned.

 

Before and after photos from the graffiti removal program:

 

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Woodhaven graffiti surges


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Terence M. Cullen

Tag, you’re it.

About 60 percent of mailboxes in Woodhaven are tagged right now, according to Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) president Ed Wendell. By the end of last summer, nearly, if not all, mailboxes and fire poles in the neighborhood were graffiti-free, he said.

But during the winter, when Wendell said it’s harder to do cleanups, the vandals went back to make their mark on their favorite “canvas,” USPS mailboxes.

“It’s not really good painting weather,” he said. “You just do your best. When the springtime comes, you just do it all again over.”

Captain Elwood Selover, head of the Citywide Vandals Task Force, spoke to the 102nd Precinct Community Council on Tuesday, March 19 about how the NYPD combats graffiti.

While it’s considered a relatively minor crime, Selover said graffiti in a neighborhood can give a certain feel of lawlessness. By tracking certain marks, the division has been able to arrest taggers for up to 100 charges, he said, across several boroughs.

Captain Elwood Selover at the 102nd Precinct Community Council meeting about graffiti. 

“The little things take care of the big things,” Selover said. “People are doing jail time for it.”

Because vandals traditionally like to have their own tags, the unit has been able to track handwriting, and determine which are gang related.

Wendell said he hopes to have Selover or someone from the unit speak at a WRBA meeting soon so residents can get an idea of how the NYPD tracks taggers. He said he and other WRBA members will start going out and repainting mailboxes when the weather gets warmer.

“When you leave it alone,” he said, “You’re telling the people who did this ‘We’re not serious about enforcing it.’”

 

 

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Lindenwood graffiti cleaned up


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Joann Ariola

Lindenwood residents united to take down a tag.

On the weekend of September 29, vandals hit nearly an entire wall of the medical building located at 82-12 151st Avenue, residents said.

Dr. Anthony Napolitano, who practices in and owns the building, noticed the graffiti, according to Lindenwood Alliance President Joann Ariola.

Napolitano planned to pay to remove the tags out of his own pocket, but Ariola said she advised him there were several options to remove the graffiti: one through the mayor’s office, and another through Councilmemer Eric Ulrich’s office.

Ariola said Napolitano opted for Ulrich’s cleanup program, City Solution — contracted through the Woodhaven Business Improvement District.

By Monday, October 8, City Solution was at the site to remove the vandalism.

The 106th Precinct is investigating this as a criminal case.

Napolitano’s next step is to coat the wall to prevent further marking, along with installing lights and video cameras around the area. He plans on paying for the preventative measures.

Ariola noted the quick response was thanks to a community effort to keep the neighborhood clean and safe.

“Once again, The Lindenwood Alliance proves that working together gets things done,” she said.

Graffiti cleaned up in Glendale


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of State Senator Joe Addabbo's office

The 104th Precinct has a new ally in its war on graffiti — a new power washer.

“There were certain buildings — like brick — that we wouldn’t paint over, but now we can clean up the graffiti,” said Police Officer Justin Dambinskas.

The power washer was used to remove graffiti from the road barriers along 80th Street adjacent to Atlas Park on Saturday, September 15. Alex Maureau, constituent liaison in State Senator Joseph Addabbo’s office, joined the clean-up to rid the area of trash and overgrown weeds.

The paint, gloves, brushes and trash bags were provided by the senator’s office.

Dambinskas said that while there is still some graffiti in the area, the problem has waned.

He said the 400 graffiti arrests in the precinct last year have been cut in half.

“Because of the arrests and because it gets cleaned within a week, people won’t spray paint here anymore; they’re leaving the precinct to spray paint,” said Dambinskas, who is on the precinct’s graffiti unit.

Last year, the 104th Precinct removed graffiti from more than 1,600 spots; this year the number is 800, he said.

Lady Pink: Graffiti’s feisty first lady


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

DSC_1963w

Graffiti was a man’s world— until she painted it pink.

Lady Pink, graffiti’s first and fieriest female figurehead, still reigns supreme as an icon in the American art arena. While her medium switched from subway cars and cinderblock walls to canvas over the years, the Astoria-based creative is still spreading her message — art is everywhere.

Lady Pink, born Sandra Fabara, emerged on the scene in 1979, when girl power prevailed and the public worshipped fierce, feminine idols like Charlie’s Angels and Marsha Brady. Riding on pure personality and perseverance, at 16, she busted into the proverbial boys club, proclaiming that girls could do anything boys could do, only better. The older male artists adopted her as their little sister and influenced by her fixation on historical-romance novels, they bestowed upon her the intentionally girly and definitely regal moniker, “Lady Pink.”

In the early 1980s, she scaled fences and scrawled her designs on subway cars.

“It was all about the adventure and the fame,” she said. “It was less about the art then, it was just teenagers having fun.”

She was expelled from the High School of Art & Design in Manhattan after some kids from the Bronx shot up the school during her first graffiti exhibit. While no one was killed, a stray bullet struck a kid in the back and injured him. After a heated argument with the principal and the dropping of a single f-bomb, Lady Pink’s show was shut down and she was told to leave school.

She said she didn’t like school anyway, but went on to graduate from public school.

In 1982, Lady Pink starred in the film “Wild Style,” a graffiti hip-hop amalgamation that elevated her to cult figure status. Regardless of the seemingly inseparable connection between the musical genre and the art style, Lady Pink says it’s a lifestyle she never subscribed to.

“The grassroots beginning are connected,” she said. “Other than that, there is little we have in common. They lump us up as background art so it can be a nice complete culture that can be packaged and sold. The truth of the matter is most graffiti writers are only exposed to the music of the area they come from.”

While working, Lady Pink listens to The Beatles and Metallica.

Graffiti remains, according to Lady Pink, very much its own entity, retaining what she feels is an incredibly sexist attitude.

“My background grants me respect but I see other young ladies struggling to be heard and seen,” said Lady Pink. “We have to bust our butts twice as hard to be seen and noticed.”

When she and her husband, another prominent graffiti artist whose tags terrorized multiple mayors throughout the 1970s and 1980s, work together on projects for their professional muralist company, she has him deal with the overtly-macho and occasionally misogynistic contractors and construction workers. She believes it’s about playing the game and not fighting nature.

A lifetime of running the streets, she says, prepared her.

“Graffiti to us when we’re young is like what people go to college for,” she said. “It’s boot camp for artists — how to work fast — how to work with sharks at your throat. It’s how to survive in the real world.”

Even though a portion of the population still regards graffiti as a nuisance and an eyesore, Lady Pink believes the art form gained legitimacy through sheer exposure. The artist has shown work in countless galleries and museums including the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles and the MoMA PS1. Nevertheless, there are always people waiting below her scaffold, ranting about the bright colors of the mural she’s painting.

“I get robbed, I get insulted, I get harassed by the police,” she said. “I welcomed the invention of the Walkman. I put on my music and shut them out.”

Lady Pink mentioned the newly announced demise of 5Pointz – graffiti’s holy land, recently fated to be closed and turned into high-rise apartment buildings. She hopes the displaced artists will find artistic refuge somewhere else, but recognized the city’s shortcomings in artistic preservation.

“That’s progress in New York City,” she said. “All murals are fleeting. You paint it and kiss it goodbye.”

The loss, she says, will be devastating in the annals of art history.

In contributing to the continuity of art, Lady Pink teams with kids from the Frank Sinatra School for the Arts. They design and paint public murals around Astoria and Long Island City, covering walls under the Hell Gate Bridge with sweeping images from Greek myths.

“I put the kids in big situations because that’s what happened to me,” she said. “Kids perform better when they’re given responsibilities and tasks beyond their comprehensions — their confidence grows.”

She insists her apprentices bring their own music to listen to while they paint.

“Music makes better art,” said Lady Pink. “I don’t know how art can happen in the quiet.”

Together, they put on their headphones and drown out the noise of the world.

Many Woodhaven mailboxes stay graffiti free


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

DSC_0775w

They delivered for you.

Much of the graffiti that littered the blue or green mailboxes in Woodhaven has been painted over, and the boxes have stayed clean for the most part, said Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA).

On Sunday, August 26, Wendell and two other residents went out to clean about nine mailboxes that were tagged. By the end of the day, all 80 mailboxes in Woodhaven — across three zones — were cleaned.

Zone A, which spans from Woodhaven Boulevard to 98th Street, has not needed to be cleaned in nearly a month, Wendell said.

“We haven’t touched that one now in three-and-a-half weeks,” he said. “We’re definitely seeing some progress.”

After researching graffiti statistics, Wendell said the best way to fight consistent graffiti was by repainting the mailboxes as soon as they have been tagged.

The Courier reported in early August that the WRBA had been tracking tags in an effort to combat the markings throughout the neighborhood.

The Block Association has continued to give information to the 102nd Precinct to help fight the problem.

If graffiti continues in the neighborhood, Wendell said residents would be open to staking out boxes that are common targets, in conjunction with police efforts. He and other residents plan on taking the Civilian Police Course this fall that will inform them of correct legal procedures.

“We did speak to [the police] about doing stake-outs,” Wendell said. “We have got about a half dozen residents, myself included, who are going to the Civilian Police Academy.”

The neighborhood leader said if a vandal is caught, residents will work with law enforcement to make sure the proper penalty is imposed.

“Now when someone gets arrested for tagging in the neighborhood, we’re going to be following up,” he said.

Op Ed: Reclaiming our streets


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY ED WENDELL

A recent tour of Woodhaven found that just over 50 percent of mailboxes, both the blue and green variety, were covered in graffiti vandalism.

Highly visible vandalism in a community does a couple of things. First, it contributes to a sense that the community is not secure. It tells anyone passing through the community that the rule of law is not respected here; that your property will not be safe. This lowers the value of your homes and reduces sales in your business district. Think about it – would you buy a house on a block that is covered in graffiti? Would you pull over and shop in a community with graffiti on all the gates?

Secondly, it contributes to the growth of anti-social tendencies of those involved in the vandalism. With each act of vandalism that goes unchecked, the excitement is diminished, therefore requiring larger and bolder acts of vandalism to achieve satisfaction in the future. Thus, the vandal moves from one act to graffiti, to a dozen, to tagging everything in his path. And, eventually, only more destructive acts of vandalism will do.

This is not art, nor is it a mere nuisance crime. It is a costly societal cancer, one that takes money directly from the pockets of homeowners, business owners and taxpayers alike.

The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association recently took to the streets of our community with Assemblymember Mike Miller and City Councilmember Eric Ulrich to paint green and blue mailboxes as well as red fireboxes. We concentrated on one large zone of Woodhaven where 44 percent of the mailboxes were tagged. By the end of the day, the mailboxes in that zone were 100 percent clean. Within a few days, that percentage was back up at 56 percent tagged. Instead of being discouraged, we hit the streets again and within an hour we were back up at 100 percent clean.

By no means are we claiming to have won the war. But we are actively engaged in the battle and feel good about our chances. Why? Because we are able to go out and proudly paint in broad daylight, unafraid of getting arrested. When we remove criminals’ tags from public property, we are literally reclaiming our streets.

Our opponents, on the other hand, have to commit their acts of vandalism under the cover of darkness, fearful of being seen or caught by the police. And with each mailbox we clean, we force the vandal to come back and re-tag it, increasing the odds that they will be caught by the police and punished. Because with each and every act of vandalism, the law of averages dictate that they are more likely to be seen and arrested.

If you are interested in helping to rid your community of graffiti vandalism, contact your local civic group or your local Community Affairs officer and inquire as to what programs they have in place.

And if you live in Woodhaven and would like to learn more, please call us at 718-296-3735 or email us at info@woodhaven-nyc.org.

Ed Wendell is president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association

The good & ugly


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE GOOD . . .

Taking back our streets.

We applaud the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) — and all others like it — in their efforts to curb vandalism.

Though we are lovers of art, we feel that graffiti is a blight on our communities.

It lowers the value of area homes and reduces sales in business districts.

And though the NYPD has resources allocated to graffiti removal, it is an uphill battle.

Often, spots that have been cleaned of vandalism will be retagged days — sometimes hours — later.

So bravo, WRBA, for your vigilance in finding, chronicling, and cleaning graffiti.

And, working with the NYPD, we hope that your efforts will help take some graffitists off the streets, making Queens a cleaner, more beautiful place to live.

THE UGLY . . .

In unrelated incidents, a two year old and a four year old fell victim to the latest spate of gun violence.

That brings the tally to three.

Three children, all under the age of five, have been hit by stray bullets this summer.

When will the madness end?

If the massacre in Aurora, Colorado, which left 12 dead and 58 injured, is not enough to spur action, then this should be.

We MUST urge our legislators to increase gun control. It is time we stood up.

Write, call email – TODAY – and tell your local senator and congressmember – even the president – that you are in favor of gun control.

 

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Phone: 202-456-1111

 

Senator Charles Schumer: 322 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington D.C. 20510

Phone: 202-224-6542

 

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: 780 Third Avenue Suite 2601

New York, New York 10017

Phone: 212: 688-6262

Uphill battle in Woodhaven fight against graffiti


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

On a recent rainy Saturday afternoon, Ed Wendell stopped the car every few blocks to inspect one of the graffiti-covered mailboxes in his neighborhood.

If untagged, he and fellow Woodhaven Residents Block Association (WRBA) member Alex Blenkinsopp felt it a small victory. If retagged, Wendell rolled down the window, despite the raindrops, and snapped a picture of the graffiti on the box.

Over the past two years, the WRBA has been trying to clean up graffiti in the neighborhood, which is mainly found on mailboxes or fireboxes. In the last few months, members have gone out to repaint them — sometimes to find them retagged a few days or weeks later.

Wendell, president of the WRBA, and members have mapped out the neighborhood into three zones to keep track of common graffiti areas.

They went out to clean up “Zone A” on Saturday, July 14, where Wendell said 44 percent of the mailboxes had been tagged. By day’s end the entire zone — bordered by Park Lane South and Atlantic Avenue — was cleaned, he said. By Tuesday, July 24, however, Wendell said 56 percent of the mailboxes in Zone A were tagged again.

Residents, armed with green and blue paint courtesy of the U.S. Post Office, have not only been recording which boxes are marked, but the tags as well, in an attempt to combat consistent graffitists.

“Now what we’ve added to it is keeping track of the tags themselves,” Wendell said, noting that Zone B extends from 85th Street to Woodhaven Boulevard, and Zone C from Eldert Lane to 80th Street .

The 102nd Precinct currently has two officers who, along with regular duties, are assigned to specialize in graffiti: identifying, removing and preventing.

Wendell and Blenkinsopp said the association has been working with these officers.

“I’m sure they have a lot of information they can pass along to us,” he said.

A precinct spokesperson said officers had been in touch with the block association, which has been forwarding emails and information to the graffiti officers.

Wendell said he’s hopeful some of these taggers will be caught, noting that he would be open to those guilty helping in the clean up efforts.

“I’d love to see when they catch one of these guys,” he said.

Despite a plethora of mailboxes covered sometimes in several, varying tags, Wendell said graffiti in the neighborhood is not as bad as it was in the 1970s, when an entire subway car could be covered in spraypaint. One popular tag throughout the neighborhood back then, he said, was called “Fred board in the head.” The tag featured a man’s face with a board of wood nailed to it.

Today’s popular tags run the gamut, he said.

Blenkinsopp and Wendell also mentioned that others have argued graffiti is a form of expression or artwork, but mailboxes or other public landmarks were not the correct medium.

“This is different,” Blenkinsopp said. “They’re getting their name out there and they’re marking their territory.” He went on to mention 5pointz in Long Island City as a positive place to use graffiti, as it was designated for such.

“I’d like to hear more of a citywide effort to solve this,” Wendell said.