Is graffiti a form of art or is it vandalism? The lesson today focused on graffiti. We defined graffiti as markings, as initials, slogans, or drawings, written, spray-painted or sketched on a wall or other surface in a public place. The word originates from the Italian word, graffito, used to describe wall inscriptions found on ancient ruins in Pompeii.
After some discussion, we came to the conclusion that graffiti is a creative way to express yourself. However, it is a punishable crime in New York City. Therefore, we agreed that none of us would be doing it ourselves!
The word graffiti was pertinent to today’s lesson because we rode to 5 Pointz, Long Island City (LIC) in Queens. We drew a rough sketch of the five boroughs to orient our bearings. The 5 boroughs (Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn and the Bronx) all converge at 5 Pointz, LIC. 5 Pointz is a sort of outdoor art gallery, showcasing prestigious artist’s graffiti localized on couple buildings. The graffiti at 5 Pointz was actually done legally since the buildings are privately owned.
Sadly enough, however, we learned that 5 Pointz is about to be torn down and replaced with residential buildings. We all disagreed with this decision made by the city to destroy such a lively place. But, knowing that 5 Pointz will soon be gone, we were that much more excited and grateful to have the opportunity to explore it one last time! The task of the day was to photograph your favorite graffiti artwork and discuss why.
Word of the Day: graffiti
(from Italian graffito=incised inscriptions on walls)
Today the Speed Dusters embarked on their second trip of the summer! Although it has cooled off in NYC, the Speed Dusters sure haven’t, four cyclists showed up ready to tackle the Queensboro Bridge to check out some graffiti at 5 Pointz.
After an awesome tag-teamed lesson from Jenne and Dan about why 5 Pointz is such a special place for graffiti artists, we headed down to some familiar territory—the East River! Except this week, instead of turning left to head north, we turned… you guessed it—SOUTH! We quickly made our way down the familiar path, even though we had two new faces since last week, Rajahshuweh and Nyjae, you wouldn’t know it the way they were cruising!
On the esplanade, we got to practice hugging the curb because a truck was driving on the greenway! A half-mile later we saw an ambulance and a police cruiser, luckily no one was hurt, and the EMTs and policemen waved as we sped by.
Thank goodness we had Cappy’s cousin, Justin Downs, to help us navigate! He gave us some safety tips for going onto the on-ramp and then onto the Queensboro Bridge. It was some good advice because the kids did amazingly well on the bridge; once we started going, we didn’t stop pedaling until we were at the top. Once there, we took a quick break to drink some water and take some pictures overlooking Roosevelt Island! We coasted down into Queens and Justin led us safely onto the road for the kids’ first experience cycling outside of a dedicated bike path.
While at 5 Pointz, we explored the whole compound and took hundreds of photos of the beautiful graffiti. It’s a shame that 5 Pointz is slated for demolition in the near future, but that’s why it’s important to go now while we can!
On the ride back to the Stanley Isaacs Center, we had a crazy start to the bridge. About halfway through our climb, one of Kayelah’s pedals fell off her bike! It was Justin to the rescue when he filed the pedal down so that it could go back on her bike! Our new motto is “No Speed Duster left behind!”
Overall we had a great trip to Queens! Everyone was proud of their great biking over the bridge, and the kids loved the experience of biking on the roads next to the cars! Can’t wait for next week!
After the Speed Dusters’ second ride, they have 2677.6 points! Great job!
This trip was on July 23, 2013
Programming time: 4.5 hours
Ride time: 3 hours
Ride Distance: 8.37 miles
Walk Distance: 1.11 miles
Calories Burned: About 612 Calories
Leaders: Justin Downs, Emma Bick, Jenne Ingrassia, Dan Piening
View SD: 5 Pointz Ride in a larger map