Having a ‘Graffiti Moment’ In Late-’70s New York

“The train barreled into the station with the usual deafening roar; it was a big, ugly, gun-metal gray tube, but suddenly one of the cars jumped out at me. It was spray-painted in bright fluorescent colors with blocky letters, and to the side were images of cartoon characters. I stood gaping in awe. To that point, I had only experienced graffiti solely as vandalism, the messy scribbles that made the interiors of subway cars that much more drab. This was totally different; it was public art as mass transit.”