Zoo York Wall
The Zoo York Wall was a graffiti wall in Manhattan's Central Park, where subway writers and other street artists "made their marks" in the early-70s. It was a temporary wall, erected in 1971 by the New York City Transit Authority to block unauthorized entry into the site of a new subway extension running underneath the Central Park Zoo. An excellent photograph of the wall is prominently displayed on the second page of The Faith of Graffiti, the noted 1974 photo essay book on New York City graffiti, documented by Mervyn Kurlansky and John Naar, with text by Norman Mailer. (Praeger Publishers, Inc.)
Its name originates from the subway tunnel it was supposed to guard, then called the "Zoo York Tunnel," which still runs below the area of the Central Park Zoo. During its construction (1971-1973), the tunnel provided a subterranean gathering place for very early subway artists who hung around together in Central Park, and was named Zoo York for obvious reasons by ALI, founder of the SOUL ARTISTS graffiti crew.
Armored with polished aluminum in the futile hope of resisting spray-paint and permanent marker ink, the wall did little to dissuade teenage graffiti writers from climbing over and descending into the tunnel during its construction. There, extensions of both the BMT Broadway and IND Sixth Avenue subway lines merged below Central Park on two sub-levels, then curved underneath the zoo grounds and out under Fifth Avenue to the east, connecting there to the new 63rd Street Line. Upon completion of the subway project in 1973, the "Zoo York Wall" was torn down.
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- The Faith of Graffiti, documented by Mervyn Kurlansky and John Naar, text by Norman Mailer, New York: Praeger Publishers, Inc., 1974.