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Shake'n it Up

A Gallery of Art. One Mile Long.

USA | Friday, 10 July 2009 | Views [326]

Today's exhibit, graffiti. Street art is a common occurrence in New York City and it's something that's clearly lacking in Portland. Sure, gangs will tag brick walls and dilapidated buildings with their colors and cryptic letters, but there's so much more. The Williamsburg Bridge, which connects the Lower East Side to Brooklyn, is a never-ending visual display of typography, figure drawings and advertisements. The standard white pedestrian icons are overlaid with sharpie figure drawings which bring the shapes to life. Radio advertisements that date back to the 90's are still holding onto the brick buildings projecting their bubble letters and tasteless color palette. My favorite visual attractions are the messages people leave to each other, written in sharpie, crayola or spray paint:

"Be my friend." 
"Look up."

I'll have to venture back with my camera and document my findings. Maybe my next project can be me writing a story with gibberish that I pass on my daily commute. Hmmmm.

I was very fortunate to encounter all of these visual stimulations on my first run in the city. I left behind my music, my chatty running companions and was introduced to the chaotic sounds of the city. Construction, the clitter clatter of the trains passing below me, honking, sirens and, what's this...singing?! Sure enough, midway through my run, I look down at the traffic and spot a plump, African American man tucked inside a white van (covered in graffiti) singing some R&B tune. He could have easily been a contestant on American Idol, his voice was so powerful and unexpectedly beautiful. I was clearly running faster than the bumper to bumper 2pm traffic, so I could only catch a couple of verses. Sure enough, a mile and a half later on my final stretch back to my apartment, the same van pulls up beside me and the tunes keep flying by. This New Yorker was clearly enjoying his commute.

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