Art By Lyfr

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Day in the Lyfe Graffiti Magazine’s Online Blog Updated daily with graffiti, street art and original photography from around the world.

Tag: subway graffiti

brazil

Acid-etched graffiti on an A train in Manhattan. Officials say only the newest subway cars, which have plastic-coated windows, are resistant to the indelible markings.

Acid-etched graffiti on an A train in Manhattan. Officials say only the newest subway cars, which have plastic-coated windows, are resistant to the indelible markings.

Of all the images from the 1970′s and 1980′s of a city out of control, perhaps none is etched more deeply into the public consciousness than that of the graffiti-covered subway train screeching into a station, every inch of its surface covered with a rich patina of spray-painted slashes and scrawls.

It took decades of work and millions of dollars to clean up the trains. But now officials are seeing a fresh surge of subway graffiti, in which windows are irreparably damaged with acid. Raising the specter of the bad old days, transit officials are vowing to fight a problem they say is even more menacing than the graffiti of decades past.

“Not on my watch are we going to have what John Lindsay had when he was mayor,” said Barry L. Feinstein, the chairman of the Transit Committee of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, referring to the mayor who came into office in 1966 just as the craze for marking subway cars with slogans, gang names and signatures — known as “tags” — hit its stride.

“I’ve seen it on every line, on almost every train,” said Andrew B. Albert, chairman of the New York City Riders Council, a state-sponsored advocacy group, who said the acid-based graffiti first appeared on subway windows about six months ago. Mr. Albert is a nonvoting member of the Transit Committee, which met yesterday.

He said the most common material used by the new breed of graffiti vandals is Armor Etch-All, an etching acid sold in art supply stores that is used by craftspeople to etch into glass or other materials. To create graffiti with the acid, it is mixed with paint or shoe polish, Mr. Albert said. And when applied to subway windows, it most commonly leaves broad, sweeping, indelible marks, which subway crews cannot remove in subway yards, as they do with painted graffiti.

Transit officials said that most subway windows are vulnerable and pose an expensive problem because they cost up to $130 each to replace. Only the newest of subway cars, acquired since about 2000, are resistant to the new generation of graffiti, because their windows are protected with Mylar, a plastic coating that can be peeled off and replaced.

Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times

Opponents of a citywide ban on the possession of “graffiti instruments,” including etching acid, call it an infringement on freedom of speech.