[revs cost]

Topic: Around Town

In my early years in New York City, back in the mid-1990s, I gradually noticed that everywhere I looked were the words REVS and COST: sometimes in graffiti and street-art form, but more often on stickers pasted on the backs of WALK/DON’T WALK signs (which still had words then, not pictures) or other, similarly visible but hard-to-reach spots. This was too early for there to have been a Web address — in those days I still thought Gopherspace was the main part of the Internet — and when I called the phone number that was listed on some of the stickers, I got a confused, rambling message from what sounded like a couple of college-age white guys like myself.

What was astonishing about the REVS phenomenon was less its artistry than its sheer penetration: uptown, downtown, all around town, the stickers were ubiquitous.

They’ve long since faded from the scene, but Streetsy has a great gallery of more sophisticated REVS pieces, including some gorgeous metalwork, though no pic of the giant graffito that still graces DUMBO.

There’s also a Neckface gallery. In Carroll Gardens, we have our very own Neckface arm stretching across a rooftop visible from the elevated F line on the Manhattan-bound side.

I have mixed feelings about graffiti. In general, I’m against it: it’s vandalism, and people have a right to decide how their own property will or won’t be decorated, plus the bulk of it is ugly. But I still enjoy a really elegant or clever or beautiful graffito, and I would be sad if they all went away. A lot of the art on Streetsy is quite lovely, and certainly graffiti livens up a lot of otherwise grim and neglected stretches of the city. The “are we free yet?” pill bottles in the Gowanus Canal zone (right) are good examples.

Either way, though, I agree with Gothamist’s assessment that corporate graffiti sucks balls.