~ Sunday, April 04, 2004 ~
The Ubiquitous Octopus
What this city lacks in the tree department it makes up for with graffiti. New York graffiti is kind of like New York pizza; even when it's in bad taste, it's still more enjoyable than the usual fare. Walking around the more interesting parts of the city is like walking through an art gallery. Granted, it's not always good art--there's plenty of crudity (and sometimes carrots and tomatoes too)--but most of it has a good reason to be there. For example, the subway ads advertising Ringling Bros./Barnum & Bailey Circus (performing at Madison Square Gardens) were edited with messages like "cancelled due to animal cruelty", which is the sort of thoughtful wall message I don't mind seeing every so often.
Every time I go to the lower east side, I see a particularly delightful piece of graffiti (or "tree") spraypainted around. It's a simple cartoony doodle of a smiling octopus (although only four tentacles are visible...maybe I should have titled this "the ubiquitous quadropus"), with gaze directed optimistically upward. Here's one.
The first one I saw was just outside of Battery Dance Company, where Ring O' Bells rehearses. I don't wander around the lower east side enough, so for a long time I felt all special, believing the octopus was unique to that building. Initially, when I started seeing more of them, it was a bit disappointing--the one I noticed wasn't unique after all--but soon I realized how ubiquitous they were, and it just seemed so charming that I stopped being disappointed. I found two pages photodocumenting the octopi, so if you want to look at more examples, here are some and here are some more.
Nature doesn't live here so much, but people create here. Okay, it's technically against the law and all that, but it makes me happy to see New Yorkers owning and changing their surroundings. I'd rather see a four-tentacled octopus on a dirty wall than not notice the dirty wall at all.
Current Music: Misery, Green Day...step step step hop...
~ prattled by Miriam at 11:35 a.m. [+]
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