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December 07, 2007


mark coleman

IIRC the movie -- originally titled Gringo later Story of a Junkie -- came before or right around the same time as the mural (85), in fact it may have been a promo. if you haven't seen it Alex the footage of old school NYC will blow your mind but all the shooting/puking could make you blow lunch.

this clip is representative. if you can endure the gnarly first 5 minutes...the scene where Spacely dances down a dark street pursued by a street sweeper brings nostalgic tears to my eyes.


I recall the Gringo Painting there from 1982 on when I first starting hanging around St Marks, and remember the film came out quite a while after it was already an established landmark in the neighborhood.

Anyone else remember the awesome punk rock shops back then on that block? Flip, Manic Panic, The Pit, Video Pop Pizza, and Trash AND Vaudeville (which is still there of course, but back then was two separate shops. Not to mention the all important record stores and hair salons. (hair salons were the holiest of all shops back then, afterall, you were only as cool as your hair cut.) The punks on the stoops asking for change are weirdly still there, but are probably the grandkids of the punks, rockabilly kids and and art-wavers who were there in '82


I remember that "Muerte" painting when I was living in NYC, so it's been there for at least a few years.


it was an ad for the movie.

Richard Saunders

I haven't been to New York in a while, but the neighborhood was already changing when I left in 2002. I miss the Lower East Side of the 70's and 80's. This mural just brings back some wonderful memories of CBGB's (gone) and the flea market that used to take place across the street from Cooper Union (now a bank).It's really depressing the way the world is changing. For me it started changing with New York.


I met the guy who painted Gringo, while he was working on it. In 1982/83 I worked in a falafel restaurant on St. Marks. The mural was in progress at the time, and the paint was distinctively brightly colored. Many of us in the neighborhood wondered if the artist would get in trouble with the owners or the cops for it (graffiti artists being harshly punished at the time, if caught). One day, a guy with a beard and a worker's type jumpsuit came into the restaurant. He was flecked from head to toe in the same colors as the mural. I said, "So you're the one painting Gringo." He said, "Yeah." I asked him if he was worried he'd get in trouble. He said, "No, they said it was ok. I told them it was going to wash off as soon as it rains." I asked him, "Why Gringo?" He said something like, "He's a noticeable character, because of the eye patch" or something like that. I don't remember exactly. This artist seemed to be a really sweet guy... kinda laid back in a 1960s, hippy sort of way. Anyway, it sure didn't wash off in the rain!

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