NYC is blighted with graffiti leaving areas looking like the 1980s

Return of the taggers: New York is blighted with graffiti leaving areas ‘looking like war zones’ in echo of the 1980s as NYPD begins massive clean-up following 6,000 complaints

New York City has been blighted by graffiti leaving some areas of the Big Apple ‘looking like war zones’ reminiscent of the 1970s and 1980s, leading to a barrage of vandalism complaints. Pictured: Trash sits underneath the stairs of a building covered in graffiti near Broadway and White Street in the ritzy Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan.

Mike’s Diner, a 24-hour restaurant on Utica Avenue in Brooklyn has been overrun with graffiti as the city launches an initiative to clean up the worsening problem. NYPD officers will examine graffiti tags for clues about gang activity in the city after the department said it had received over 6,000 complaints in 2020 alone.

BEFORE: Mikes Diner in Brooklyn, pictured on Google Street view before it was covered in graffiti. Much like former mayor Bloomberg’s initiative – which offered people $500 to snitch on taggers – the NYPD wants citizens to report vandalism.

Two store fronts available for rent in the Soho neighborhood of Manhattan are pictured covered in graffiti on Wednesday.

A former Pret a Manger location at the corner of West 27th and 7th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan is covered in graffiti. The tips received by the NYPD will be investigated by local precincts and community leaders who will examine the graffiti for tags made by gangs and prioritize removing those with hateful and offensive messages and symbols.

BEFORE: The Pret on the corner of West 27th and 7th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, before it was covered in graffiti.

Multiple officials hailed the initiative to remove graffiti citywide as a means to building relationships and trust with the community.

Graffiti covers the outside of a building near Broadway and White Street in the ritzy Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan.

Graffiti covers a closed barbershop and a sign store in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn on Wednesday.

BEFORE: The shop fronts in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn, before the shutters were covered in graffiti.

Graffiti covers a truck parked at the corner of Broadway and 28th Street in Manhattan on Wednesday amid a worsening problem.

Graffiti covers a truck parked at the corner of Broadway and 28th Street in Manhattan on Wednesday amid a worsening problem.

Residents walk past shuttered businesses covered in graffiti at the corner of 7th Avenue and 26th Street in Manhattan on Wednesday

BEFORE: The corner of 7th Avenue and 26th Street in Manhattan, before it was covered in graffiti.

A dad pushes his daughter on a bicycle in front of a storefront covered in graffiti at the corner of 7th Avenue and 26th Street.

Residents walk past shuttered businesses covered in graffiti at the corner of 7th Avenue and 26th Street in Manhattan.

Graffiti covers a wall at the corner of Varick Street and Canal Street in the Soho neighborhood of Manhattan on Wednesday.

Graffiti covers the face of a building underneath scaffolding at the corner of 7th Avenue and 25th Street in Manhattan on Wednesday.

‘Gothem’ graffiti covers the outside of a building in the ritzy Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan on Wednesday.

NYPD officials announced a new initiative on Wednesday, asking citizens to report and help clean up neighborhood graffiti.

Officials hold up a T-shirt designed for the citywide initiative to clean up graffiti, which is often related to drug and gang violence.

Participants in the Law Enforcement Explorers program will participate in the citywide graffiti cleanup. The Explorers program provides young men and women ages 14 to 20 an introduction to a career in criminal justice.

The press conference for the NYPD’s graffiti cleanup initiative happened outside MOSCOT, which is pictured covered in graffiti.

BEFORE: Moscot, outside which the NYPD held their Wednesday press conference, before it was covered in Grafiti.

Chief Rodney Harrison speaks during a press conference with Police Commissioner Dermot Shea about the effort to combat graffiti.

New York City saw a record one in seven chain store branches, including Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, close in 2020 with Manhattan suffering the biggest blow as nearly 600 businesses shut their doors – some of which have since been covered with graffiti. 

According to the Center for an Urban Future’s 2020 State of the Chains that was released Wednesday, the number of chain stores in the Big Apple declined by 13.3 percent, which means some 1,057 businesses closed (a Manhattan Starbucks location pictured).

One study done jointly by Harvard and Brown Universities tracking the economic recovery found that in New York State, there was a decrease of 36.6 percent in the number of small businesses open. In 2020, there were an estimated 2.2 million small businesses operating in the state. A small business is defined as a firm that employs less than 500 workers. That means the pandemic has forced 800,000 businesses statewide to shut its doors either temporarily or permanently. 

The image above shows the exterior of a subway car covered with graffiti in New York City in the 1970s.

New York City has come a long way since the 1970s and 1980s, when urban blight was a common sight. The image above shows the headquarters of the Manhattan chapter of the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club on East Third Street in Manhattan in 1981.

The 1970s and 1980s were a time when the city was beset by debt brought about by the flight of residents to the suburbs.

The graffiti above that was spray painted on a building in New York City depicts the Joker character from the DC Comics series Batman. Concerned residents can send photos of problematic graffiti to the new [email protected] email address.

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