There’s a disc golf course in Montebello Park, Baltimore City, MD. I go there at 5pm, after a day’s work, to throw plastic. I find disc golf to be a cheap way to get exercise, hone my skills, challenge myself, and practice patience.
Until the past weekend, however, the path I took to bicycle there lead through gang-controlled neighborhoods and busy intersections. I’d arrive at the park agitated and stressed out from not only trying to avoid aggressive, distracted, and inconsiderate drivers but also worrying about drug-dealer hostility. Hence, my disc golf game suffered, and my peace of mind was compromised.
After consulting with a psychiatrist, I have decided to take a new route, one that skirts the rough areas and the hurtling, gasoline-powered, one-ton, steel battering rams driven by people ignoring their surroundings in favor of looking at their mobile phones. In terms of distance travelled, the new route is actually shorter than the old one, with fewer hills. Now, when I step up to tee off, my my anxiety levels low and I can disco stress-free, and contented.
americanifesto / 場黑麥 / jpr / urbanartopia / whorphan
I caught an earlier train into New York than expected, arriving around one pm Sunday afternoon. The city greeted me with a hot and glorious day, three hours of which I spent walking from 32nd and 7th avenue down through the Bowery to Houston street via Broadway and Union Square, then back up to Penn Station on 7th avenue starting at roughly 14th street.
Some remnants of street art had survived the mass cullings executed by the city of New York, but places where formerly many beautiful pieces could be found were instead art-free dead zones replete with franchise coffee shops. Union Square lay bare, stripped of all but one speck of its cultural heritage. Except for a few spots, Broadway along most of its length had been picked clean, scraped-up lighting poles and remnants of sticker-glue the only reminders that works of art had once existed there.
By the time I hit Mamoun’s falafel near Washington square park to photograph the stickers posted on its walls, I was so badly dehydrated that my vision was starting to lag and I was having trouble keeping my balance on two feet. Mine was a forced march to harvest as much street art as possible, you see, and I could not be bothered to drink more than enough water to let my vital organs barely function. I still managed to photograph hundreds of pieces of street art - mostly in the East Village and the Bowery - but was dismayed at the lengths to which the city had gone to desecrate and destroy the graffiti that has for so long made it a beacon of hope in a land of sterilized conformity.
americanifesto / 場黑麥 / jpr / urbanartopia / whorphan
It was a bright day and I was bicycling along a footpath on top of a concrete dam. Next to it was a park or greenswarth that was partly submerged in water. Ancient and rusting iron railings ran along the top of the dam, to keep people from falling into the park. Far above the tops of some tall trees to my left stood a cluster of improbably towering walkways, huge and sweeping glass-bottomed ramps that twisted and looped through the sky. I recognized the structure from a previous dream and was briefly saddened, for I knew there was no graffiti there for me to photograph.
Up ahead, the crest of the dam curved sharply to the left and merged with an earthen abutment. At the merge was a swinging gate, which stood open to allow pedestrians and cyclists through. It was equipped with reflective panels so that, when shut, it would be visible to motorists at night. To the right of the gate was a single-storey, dilapidated brick structure with a tile roof. Having seen a lot of stickers plastered to the gate and railing at the point of the merge, I doubled back to photograph them, the bicycle beneath me responding nimbly.
As I was photographing stickers out by the gate, a man walked past me, whom I for the most part ignored. I had the feeling that I was being watched from the park’s thick foliage, which was now to my right (since I had turned around), which compelled me to bicycle into the brick structure. Its windows were missing, allowing isolated shafts of bright sunlight to stream into a dark, cool interior with a churned-up dirt floor. A pair of wooden pillars supported the roof overhead. The wall to my left featured one standard-sized door and three windows. At the far end of the structure was stood another set of open double doors. Near the double doors through which I’d entered were a number of interesting bits of street art, which I photographed. Feeling emboldened by being inside (and away, I figured, from prying eyes), I removed a sticker from my wallet and cast about for a good spot to stick it.
As I was searching for the best possible place for my sticker to live, I glanced down at it where it was poised in my right hand. As is customary, part of it had been torn off upon completion, the other part showing an intricate, black and white drawing of a mask that resembled that of a Mexican lucha libre wrestler.
americanifesto / JPR / whorphan / 場黑麥
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Among other things I am barber, bicyclist, surfer, vagabond, writer, and yogi.