Instead of your average #TBT, we’re going to take a look back at some of the classic articles from Mass Appeal‘s past as part of #ThrowUpThursdays. Today we revisit the Staten Island Issue from _____ to bring you a piece from Menic One.
I was always an artist and liked to draw. I used to go and visit my cousin in the Bronx just to see trains. I remember seeing Lee, Blade, and Tracy 168 pieces on the lines around 1973. Some of the earliest graffiti on Staten Island started popping up around 1973-74 in the Stapleton area. There was a guy that wrote Sonic 123 that used to get up with Geronimo, Paul 2, and All 2 that did trains in the city. They did some pieces out on the Stapleton piers back then: The only thing left of those piers is seaweed-covered stumps out in the water.
Dirty Slug and Doc 109 (Fab5), lived on the island and did a lot of pieces in the Stapleton/Parkhill area, along with Mono. At the foot of Victory Blvd., on Bay St., near the tracks and Kromwell pool, the Savage Skulls had a Lee/Slave piece on the inside of their club. Lee had done a character riding a skateboard. Slug did a lot of pieces on the Stapleton handball courts, the back of the Parkhill shopping Plaza, the Paramount movie theatre, and the backs of grocery stores in the area. One of his last pieces on the island was D-Slug in brown and beige with a star and a hose in between the “D” and the Slug. A kid that wrote Angel helped him do the fill-in. Two other, almost forgotten Fab5 members, were Professor 165 and OG (Octavious Glen). They had some pieces at Kromwell pool, which. was a traditional spot. Fritz, Rican, and Wise used to do the area too.
I had met Slug on Sand St. where we traded respect and I picked up some new ideas. Story had it that Slug used to go to Gelgieser hardware store, across from the projects, in a black suit with a briefcase to rack paint. Around the same time, (1973-74), graffiti was picking up in Port Richmond too; with some guys that wrote Main 2 and his brother Pistol. Phase 2 from the city, lived in the same area. Mine 2 and his brother Rin 1 were originally from the City and brought the influence with them to Port Richmond. I met Rin through a guy that wrote Kato (Time). Kato was pushing a crew called TCC (The Crazy Crew). Lots of guys had other names to go along with their main name. I used to put up Di, Manic, and Mark. Rin wrote Peno, Ren, and Police. Basic 5 did Solo and Arson. Mine 2 wrote Ezzy. Along with Kato and High 65, we started putting up The Bomb Squad (TBS) around 1977. We did back to back walls all over the ‘Island. I.S. 49 schoolyard, I.S. 61, Curtis H.S., PS. 16, Mckee park, and spots in New Brighten. Port Richmond H.S. was the Staten Island “Wall of Fame” and had colorful productions layered over each other.
Later on I gave my name Manic to a guy named Willy who continued putting it up. Rin was sort of the “Top Gun” and would hook up with almost anybody that was writing. Kind of a connecting force with one arm this way and one arm that way, breaching different neighborhoods. Somehow he hooked up with some guys from Great Kills on the otherside of the Island. They wrote Demar 165, Man 2, and Tug 1, and used to do shit with Rin. I remember just hanging out drinking forties with them one night while they did some “real nice” shit on Richmond terrace.
Back then writers had there own styles and you were allowed to try different things and appreciate it. Just the fact that you were doing it was enough. It didn’t matter. Some guys were real serious about the art side of it or getting up. And that was cool. We used to just hang out and do graffiti for fun. Graffiti was an expression from the street. There was a lot of untapped energy and talent that needed an outlet. The same energy from “street-gangs” got channeled into a positive form. Just like HipHop and music in general. Graffiti writers weren’t from the rich part of town and had no Art-school training. They were diamonds in the rough, and did it for Free. They didn’t have a vision of it being in galleries, documented, or having graffiti stores with books and magazines. They did it for the love of it and for their peers.