Tag Archives: Vandal Squad: Inside the New York City Transit Police Department

March 17-19 What to do?

I apologize for the tardiness of this e-mail; I stayed home from work today and have been lying about sleeping and drinking tea and feeling sorry for myself. Since I am posting so late in the day I will skip Monday events altogether and move right along to… St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day in NYC involves beer at noon, girls wearing very little green (and nothing else) and a whole host of other absurdities. Here are a few to consider:

Pot of Gold

Pot of Gold

  • A, who actually is Irish (born and bred), is planning to party at some less traditional spots- The Brass Monkey and Cielo in the Meatpacking District. Now Meatpacking is not always my thing; on weekends the whole velvet rope business can get out of hand, but St. Patrick’s Day is usually a pretty friendly and inclusive occasion so it might be the right time to head west.
  • For a cozier and less high maintenance crowd check out Black Rabbit in Greenpoint; their fireplace will be as cozy as always plus they will have Jameson specials and the sort of Irish music we generally know and love (the Pogues and the Waterboys).
  • Generally speaking there will be drink specials and people wearing green throughout the city so go out and join in the madness (just be safe everyone!)!

There are 2 ongoing things I’d like to mention before I forget. First, the play ‘Fire Throws,’ which A and I saw some time ago and which I reviewed, is in it’s final weeks at 3LD. While I had mixed feelings about it I do think it’s visually stunning and a unique theater experience. Secondly, The Best of Slamdance Festival at the IFC has some great selections to choose from, including two tonight.

On Wednesday, if you haven’t been to the Mixer Music and Reading Series at Cakeshop this is a good week to go; it’s their 2-year anniversary and they’re celebrating with a great selection of artists- Jedediah Berry, Matthew Zapruder and Leni Zumas will read and there will be music from La Marcha as well as special performances from your hosts Melissa Febos and Rebecca Keith; go and get your dose of poetry and cupcakes for the week!

If that’s not quite enough poetry to satisfy your literature related cravings on Thursday the St. Mark’s Bookshop Reading Series is happening at Solas again; JERRY STAHL and FRANCIS LEVY will be reading.

If you’d like to be part of a much more controversial discussion, the first public discussion between the graffiti community and the ‘Vandal Squad’ will be taking place in response to the release of a book by a former ‘Vandal Squad’ officer:

The recent book release Vandal Squad: Inside the New York City Transit Police Department, 1984–2004 has caused consternation throughout the global graffiti community with charges that author Joseph Rivera is profiting off the very criminals he spent his career incarcerating.

In response, the powerHouse Arena will host a conversation between former members of the Vandal Squad and the graffiti writers, the first such event of its kind. With the intent of providing an open forum for public discussion to discuss the issues regarding the methods that the Vandal Squad employs and their impact on the lives of the writers themselves. Panelists include Vandal Squad author Joseph Rivera, former Commanding Officer Lieutenant Steven Mona, original Vandal Squad Lieutenant Ken Chiulli, graffiti legend COPE2, graffiti activist Ket, and street artist Ellis G. The event will be moderated by Stern Rockwell, Streets Are Saying Things.

Founded in 1980, the Vandal Squad’s mission was to protect the subway system from hardcore criminal acts of destruction like kicking out windows and throwing seats out of train cars. It was only with the Clean Car Program of 1984 that graffiti became the primary focus of this specialized Unit. On a mission to catch those who gained fame under tag names, the Vandal Squad had to identify and locate these individuals cloaked in anonymity (and often so transient they were referred as “ghosts”) using every means available, including the NYPD computer database, Search Warrants, subpoenas, and even vandals themselves. These strategies, and their impact on the lives of the vandals, as well as concerns about the publication of the book, will be the focus of the conversation.

Vandal Squad: Inside the New York City Transit Police Department, 1984–2004

Vandal Squad: Inside the New York City Transit Police Department, 1984–2004

Also on Thursday, Black Rabbit will be hosting a speed dating event with a Smiths soundtrack. I know, speed dating sounds a bit sketch, right? I will have you know that I once dated someone for 2 whole months after meeting him speed dating AND we’re still friends (a true rarity for me). Think about it- you spend 5 minutes talking to someone and either you like them and want to talk to them further or you aren’t that interested. It’s much much less painful than going on a date with that guy from Match.com who looked so hot in that one picture… At any rate, be optimistic, feel sexy, go make some first impressions!

I will add more events as I come across them (and as this dreadful virus leaves my system).