Archive for February 6th, 2008

Graffiti to Die For

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

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Manhattan Square Park is getting a $20-million makeover and   I’m pretty happy about it. Since I’ve lived in the high-rise building across the street longer than anyone else – 30 years – I’ve had a front row seat as the park experienced three decades of ups and
downs.

Soon the new skating rink/ wading pool will open and should draw many people downtown. We’re moving around the furniture in the lobby so people can park their cars here. The city, you see, leased the only parking lot close by to the Strong Museum – for $1/year for 5 years. Since Strong is (I read somewhere) one of the top ten ‘richest in funding’ museums in the country, this might be a little hard to understand until you remember Rochester has a lot of surplus money lying around since we sold the Fast Ferry.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.

I’d like to talk about a park-improvement budget item that’s not getting enough attention and support: sharpshooters on our roof who’ll quickly eliminate the graffiti problem. Their mission is simple: blow away any cretin who raises a paint can to a new wall in the park. Park grounds keepers will clean up the mess and sweep away the bodies the next morning.

Is there any crime dumber than vandalism? Who profits from ugly public paint jobs? Now I can appreciate a well-planned, precisely – executed jewel or cash heist as well as the next guy. You have to admire criminals who have the brains and nerve to pull off an operation like that. But spraying paint on the side of a building is an act any nitwit can do. Babies are always writing on walls – and most of their stuff looks better than the crap we see from urban delinquents.

Now, I don’t want to seem unreasonable on this, so I have an alternative suggestion for any wannabe spray can artists: express your talent in vivid hues – on the walls of Strong. They have a lot   of free concrete canvas and they encourage childish art. But best  of all, they have a lot of money to clean up if a critic gives you a thumbs down. And if they run a little short of cash, the City will    be glad to give them more.

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