Southern Brooklyn

East 19th Street A Haven For Graffiti?


When a resident of East 19th Street first began complaining to us – months ago – about the graffiti here, we shrugged it off. We figured, “This is New York City, there’s always going to be graffiti. You just gotta report it and remove it, like everyone else does.”

When the resident continued to complain, saying the vandals were targeting homes, we thought it was weird and worth checking out. But we got caught up in other things and never went to take photos.

To that resident, we’re sorry. Very, very sorry. You’ve sent us these photos and shocked us. Then we went to take a walk of our own and saw even more graffiti, including on residential property. We dropped the ball on this one.

But we’re not the only ones. I’ve seen the way the the police handle your complaints at meetings. They have the same reaction we initially had. But it’s obvious that East 19th Street between Avenue X and Avenue W has a higher level of graffiti and vandalism than surrounding blocks. It could be because it’s not particularly well lit, and the United States Post Office sorting facility, the auto repair shop, and the apartment building prove to be appealing canvases.

Whatever the case, police officers ought to be making more frequent night patrols down the block and local leaders should work with the business owners to install security lights. This is preventable.

Comment policy


  1. This block has been like this forever. The causation factors you mention are right on target. Better lighting alone would accomplish much. So would more immediate graffiti removal.

  2. Could you add the people who dont pick up after their dogs to that list. I walk by there every day and its notorious for waste.

  3. Believe it or not, that has actually been covered. That block is notorious for a number of reasons. But they do have some residents who really give a damn, and try to change things.

  4. some kids use to do the same thing to my grandmother's house in queens. they kept spray painting stupid tags on the garage door and every day my grandfather would always have to paint over it. the graffiti would NEVER stop. it wasn't even pretty looking, just ugly.

  5. There must be a lot of hardware stores selling to kids. School art supplies is where they get the big markers from.

  6. There's something about East 19th Street. Perhaps just a co-incidence, but it seems to be a very troubled strip. Over the years I have read or heard about quite a number of murders on various blocks of that street.

    Maybe 19 is an unlucky number.

  7. No, it's something else. East 19th Between W and X is certainly a “focus”.
    Whomever owns the Auto Body shop obviously doesn't care to remove the
    graffiti. The Postal Building, which is federal property (owned or leased,
    doesn't matter) clearly doesn't care enough to clean it off their walls
    either. This encourages the rest of the area to be targeted. Maybe someone
    should speak to the owners and to the manager at the postal building and get
    the ball rolling on something.

    The building on E19th and V also has a lot of Graffiti on the face.

  8. The block between Avenue W and X does seem to be a focal point. But I also remember that there used to be a lot o trouble on the block between Y and Z as well, especially the north end of the block.At one time there was gang activity on the corner where the store is, an several murders took place on the north end in the 90s. I also remember a murder on the block between U & W as well, I think it was a domestic dispute that got out of hand.

  9. There was a murder in a lot on 19 street and U 30 years ago. Had to do with the bar that used to be there. Maybe it is that 19 st runs behind the apartments on Ocean Ave. There is some sort of drug activity with cars in the area also.

  10. As a long time tenant, who actually moved away a number a months ago, I recently return to the building. I actually witnessed DURING BROAD DAYLIGHT 3 teenage boys graffiti the plastic green grassy fence on the block. People walked passed and just stared at them as they did this. I was in my car and yelled at them to stop and they cursed at me. Eventually they walked passed and then were going to spray paint again, the garage attached to the building, this time i drove right up to the group and yelled once again. They cursed some more, but did walk away towards Ave U. What's going on here? And I agree…who is selling this to them? Cameras need to be installed to protect the block!

  11. For the problem to go away (ie move elsewhere) the graffiti needs to be totally removed as soon as it goes up. The other solution is to smash with a 5lb hammer the fingers of these artistes. First offense a warning, second offense smash all five fingers on one hand. It that doesn't help smash the other. The problem would go away quickly. We need need politicians with balls. Anybody ever been to Singapore?

  12. I remember that one. In fact, I know people who were in Costello's that night. I stopped going there because the crowd was getting too ugly. At one time a lot of the musicians I knew went there.

    The incident I was thinking of took place some time after that.

  13. stfu u idiot ur not gonna do shit about i did graffiti right there and i see my tag in the picture. try breaking my fingers il fucking break ur neck and stick a spray can up ur fuckin ass

  14. If you had real man balls you would make something of your life instead of destroy-ing hard working peoples things.

  15. I know this is the internet, and I know you think nobody knows who you are, and you think you’re anonymous. But I want you to really ask yourself, is it really the smartest thing in the world to admit to a misdemeanor crime on a public website, and then threaten felony assault afterward?

    When those tags get cleaned up and you get ready to retag those buildings, remember, someone is gonna be watching….

  16. hahaah werdd these people need to realize this shit is a way of life and it makes new york what it is…its art its been around for thousands of years get used to iut and stop bitching…

  17. Or maybe some people have to get used to the idea that there are laws and people who break them will be held responsible for breaking them. Laws have been around for thousands of years so get used to it and stop attempting to excuse lawbreakers.

  18. soo how is that a vandalism problem if it was a domestic dispute why should other people be punished for doing art on the streets when u “claim” there are murders being held… i think thats hte real problem not kids being kids and expressing themselves through art

  19. The murders are not a problem, they occurred some time ago, and their perpetrators were tried forr them. This “art” violates property rights and has no aesthetic value.

    The context between the two is explained earlier.

  20. geez this site is living proof that you dont need to take an IQ test to post on the internet (or run a blog) If you dont think it takes “balls” to brazenly break the law, to hang from a ledge over the highway 20 feet up just to scrawl your name on a metal beam, then you need to take a fertility test yourself. It may be stupid but its not ball-less. Lisanne, it has no aesthetic value TO YOU. I dont know if you know, but it IS possible for other peoples opinions to vary from yours. What about legal graffiti murals that are artistically drawn? Are those OK to you aesthetically? FromSB2GV, why didnt you call the police immediately? Are you charles bronson? This makes your “story” completely implausible, unrealistic and most likely BS. Al, if you think Singapores legal system is so superior to ours, then by all means, feel free to move there (they also dont believe in trial by jury and have MANY laws restricting freedom of speech). Just because its a law doesn’t make it right. Not that long ago it was LAW stating that women and blacks couldn’t vote. Was it ok then just because it was a law? You dont like it? Clean it. Dont wanna clean it? Pay someone to. Cant afford it? Start a neighborhood watch. Dont want to? STOP COMPLAINING. The kids dont like the clean streets and theyre doing their part to make a change, shouldnt you “responsible law abiding adults” be more proactive than a bunch of “snot nosed graffiti punks”? If you showed as much passion for upholding the law as they do for breaking it, then we wouldnt have this problem.

  21. That’s what amuses me about this, Paul. All these little high school twerps running around tagging shit up and going “its art, its art!”

    In reality, they’re just dumb shits thinking they’re being rebellious. I’m a big fan of graffiti and street art. I’ve traveled far to see it – and I don’t mean LIC or Manhattan galleries – I’ve gone across continents, and I’ve gone to dangerous places, and I love it.

    But these kids are just shmucks, and they’re making it worse for the real artists out there by slapping their ugly tags on people’s private property, causing a total crackdown on graffiti everywhere. Kids, you want to be artists? Practice in your basement. Then go out and do it in places where you won’t fuck up civilian’s homes, take photos, and get commissioned to do stuff. That’s what a real artist does. You just suck.

    On a side note, though I find RuFuS nearly intolerable, I’m not as gung-ho against the RFP art as some people on this site are. While most of his art sucks, he’s got a few good pieces, and overall does it in far more subtle, less intrusive ways. IMO

  22. Oh, and just to add to that, ALL of the actual graffiti artists – emphasis on artists – are articulate, thoughtful, and make good arguments in defense of their work. As opposed to the illiterate babbling these hacks vomit out. They can barely spell “art”.

  23. Hey GS, you’re aware that you can’t write for shit, yeah? Purple and white? Double outline? That ‘S’ is a riot, too. Real style you got there.

  24. OK FIRST OF ALL THAT the double out line is called 3D and wtf is wrong with purple and white?
    and i just did that shit fast to go over the other kid wich i got beef with.

  25. Before I edited this, the last line read “So keep your comments to yourself”, only written like an illiterate monkey with the most foul case of Tourette syndrome I've ever seen.

    I find it odd that some talentless douche who writes his fugly hack scribbles all over other people's property has the balls to come onto our website and tell us to keep our comments to ourselves.

    GS, I sincerely hope your “beef” ends up with you as someone's beefcake behind bars. There the “D” in 3D has a significantly different definition…

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