Thursday, February 10, 2011

Graffiti Friday "Freedom Tunnel"

This weeks Graffiti Friday is kind of a sad one for me, recently one of my favorite places the "Freedom Tunnel" was painted clean. Buffed. The tunnel has a deep rooted history in NYC's graffiti history. "Freedom" started painting this Amtrack tunnel on the upper West side in the late 80's. At that time it also was considered a safe haven for homeless people.
Freedom knew this place was special, he painted a lot of the time for  homeless people that lived in the tunnel, some said it gave them hope.  My first time in this beautiful place was a couple years after this film was made, "DARK DAYS" This movie is a in depth documentary about the people that lived in this tunnel for years. They do not mention Freedom but chances are they know of or know him. Also check out the book "Mole People" for a even more in depth perspective of a outsider exploring the tunnel. 
Since then a lot of people have found this tunnel not to many people live in it anymore, people think it has been abused and blown up and that's why it was painted over. 

These are some photos of Freedoms work in the tunnel and a couple images of artist that he brought down there and ones that followed after that I took on my first trip. 
There will be more coming so stay tuned,As always click on photo to enjoy full size. 



This was the first image I saw of freedoms work, I was 12 and blown away.

These are examples of his earlier work.

Even by todays standards this is amazing, Freedom was really ahead of his time and a great artist!

Freedom painted this to commemorate a large homeless population that lived in the tunnel was provided housing after the film Dark Days was filmed and Amtrack stepped in.

I was told that this was one of the last pieces he painted down in the tunnel. These photos are close ups, this whole piece is about a 100 yards long.

Dark side of the moon

Freedom became close friends with writers who liked to explore the city, Smith and Sane were brothers and great kings of this. This was painted for SANE'S passing. RIP
ESPO painted this unibomber portrait with a roll call.
Classic ESPO Philly hand

AMAZE was in the mix 
 NACE way ahead of his time was sober and struck by a drunk driver. RIP
 One of the few places I have seen SACE pieces, he had so many pieces down here. He really spent a lot of time down here!    RIP
 This was a old worker station that became "home sweet home" to many. If you watch Dark Days this sign pops up.
DYRECT also climbed a lot in the rafters of this tunnel, after 9/11 he painted this.

CURVE from Philly showing how big rats are in this tunnel, track rabbits is a common phrase. They really are larger than a small dog.
While the tunnel is very quit and peaceful, every hour this train will remind you to keep on your toes.
Amtrack travels through this tunnel about 60-70 mph
Southside and newly boxed toped tunnel.

One of my favorite shots I have taken.

All good things must come to a end some say. I am just sad to see this one go... For those who have been, you know. If you have never been, I hope I can provide a perspective into this multi cultural safe haven.
Be sure to check out the book "MOLE PEOPLE" and the film "DARK DAYS."

1 comment:

  1. Damn, what a shame, authorities have a knack for ruining things they don't appreciate or understand.

    Thanks for documenting and sharing.