Monday, September 29, 2008

Graffiti in Morningside Park

One of New York's most famous forms of urban blight, or, if you prefer, street art, has all but disappeared from Morningside Park. A stroll through the park turned up very few examples of graffiti, and park-goers and employees are quite pleased about it.

The roughly 30 acre park has playgrounds, baseball fields, a swampy pond, and only eight instances of graffiti. The writing is small and relatively unassuming - nothing too large or colorful. 

One of the tags was poignant. Penned on the steps of the park's southwestern entrance were the words, "RIP Daddy." Some were simple exercises in self-promotion, featuring only a clearly written name. Others were nearly illegible.

Parents watching their children on the playground say they feel the park is safe and clean. Under a close watch from both the NYPD and the Parks Enforcement Patrol, the park is improving - and one of the most visible signs of that change is the lack of graffiti. 

"It used to be much more unsafe," says Parks Enforcement officer D. Louis. "Basically we try to patrol around the premises as much as possible." 

Park visitor Maria Lancaster is satisfied with their efforts.

"It's fine," she says. "It's clean enough. There's no graffiti or garbage on the ground."

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