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JUST WRITING MY NAME
2003-05-12 08:23
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

JUST WRITING MY NAME AND GRAFFITI ON THE WALL

In the shadow of Yankee Stadium, you will find the 149th street subway station on the Grand Concourse. "The bench" as it used to be known, was a famous meeting spot for graffiti artists in the late '70s and early '80s. This spot was immortalized in Henry Chalfant and Tony Silver's documentary "Style Wars." You may have caught it on PBS over the years. If you haven't, it has just been released on DVD, with all sorts of extra goodies, and it is well-worth checking out. Not only because it captures a bygone era in New York City history, but because the young kids that are interviewed in the movie are priceless. The movie was filmed in 1982, when Graff writers and B-Boys (and DJs of course) were the most popular arms of the Hip Hop tree. (Nobody thought you could make any money rapping yet.) Unlike the rap game, Graffiti didn't exlude Latinos and white kids from getting down; "Style Wars" features middle-class Jewish kids, Italian kids from Brooklyn, Spanish kids from the Bronx, and black kids from Harlem. For a rich, poignant, and funny (not to mention aesthetically appealing) look at New York in the early 80s, look no further than "Style Wars."

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