Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

See what remains of D.C.'s graffiti along the WMATA Red Line

June 14, 2012 - 10:01 AM
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A train passes under the Franklin Street bridge near the Rhode Island Metro station in Northeast D.C.  TBD's John Hendel and Greater Greater Washington's John Muller recently reported on the buffing of graffiti along this stretch of the Red Line and we decided to see what's left.22 Photos
(Photo: Joshua Yospyn)

If you haven't looked yet, take a glance at TBD photographer Joshua Yospyn's pictures of Red Line graffiti. He ventured out to blocks, underpasses, and warehouses, around the Metropolitan Branch Trail and Rhode Island Avenue, Brookland, and NoMa-Gallaudet U Metro stations in the last couple weeks to get a sense of, as he puts it, what used to be and what is still there. You can clearly observe the scrubbed graffiti in the first of his excellent photos around Rhode Island Avenue — new paint, new signs, a new look for commuters. Consider the broader changes to this transit, as the eight-year-old New York Ave-Florida Ave-Gallaudet U Metro station's name officially changed to the NoMa-Gallaudet U title earlier this week in a ceremony. There's no question the surrounding aesthetics is also changing and at an accelerating pace, as new developers and interest enters the region. WTOP just noted that the Department of Public Works removed "1,780 pieces of graffiti [in 2010], according to DPW spokesperson Nancee Lyons. That number jumped to 6,155 in 2011, and was at 4,115 as of March 31, 2012." A clear trend emerges from these numbers.

Georgetown alum Saaret Yoseph recently completed a documentary about Red Line graffiti called The Red Line D.C. Project and has begun scheduling several events to mark the completion. She recently suggested creating a Red Line mix tape as part of her exploration of commuters' public space. "The idea is to collect as many suggestions as possible of songs/tracks that are reminiscent of the Red line experience or that touch on themes of transit, graffiti, and the city," Yoseph told me. "I want commuters, writers, and city-dwellers to consider this — if the Red line had an anthem, what would it be? I'm open to any & all suggestion and will enlist a music-minded friend to make the final selections. Folks can tweet their suggestions to @_Redlinedc_; #redlinedc."

Yoseph's documentary as well as Yospyn's recent photos stand as testaments to a transit line that may look quite different six months or a year from now.

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