Do You Think Graffiti Is Art? 

One man's art is another man's scribbling, especially in this city. For the record, if we had to say art or not art about graffiti, we'd say "art."

ALDEMAR
Where I hailed him:
Midtown
Where he hails from: Colombia
Years as cabbie: 3
Previous profession: Always a driver
No way. Pictures are art—graffiti is just people writing their names on walls or drawing shit on ads. There's nothing artistic about that. It's vandalism... kids messing around. I used to do it myself when I was younger. I used to think it was funny, but not anymore. People need to respect other people's property and not cover it with scribbling.

YAZID
Where I hailed him:
Hell's Kitchen
Where he hails from: Morocco
Years as a cabbie: 7
Previous profession: Worked in a deli
What do you mean by graffiti? [Stuff people do on walls for fun.] Sure. Why not? I don't really think about it, but I don't see why not. I live in Brooklyn, and there are some nice things done on walls near my apartment. Big pictures of famous people, black people like Martin Luther King and Obama. People paint those things because they like those people, so sure, that's art.

ASA
Where I hailed him:
Williamsburg
Where he hails from: Pakistan
Years as a cabbie: 10
Previous profession: Always a driver
I can take it as art, a kind of art, I guess. Some people have a problem with it, but I have seen some amazing samples. You probably don't go to the Bronx much, am I right? [Yep.] Well, I go all over. I go to Harlem and the Bronx, and they have some great samples up there, where it's really art.

Delwa
Where I hailed him:
Port Authority
Where he hails from: Queens
Years as cabbie: 3
Previous profession: Bus driver
I don't like graffiti. I know that's not what you're asking, but I don't like it. The thing about graffiti is that a lot of the time, it's on buildings that are bad for other reasons. They get abandoned, or people break in, or they start falling apart and get a lot of rats. A lot more rats than other buildings, at least. I think graffiti is ugly, and all the nicer neighborhoods in the city don't have much of it. So if it is art, it's art I don't like.

Homer
Where I hailed him:
Port Authority
Where he hails from: Queens
Years as cabbie:3
Previous profession: Bus driver
I don't like graffiti. I know that's not what you're asking, but I don't like it. The thing about graffiti is that a lot of the time, it's on buildings that are bad for other reasons. They get abandoned, or people break in, or they start falling apart and get a lot of rats. A lot more rats than other buildings, at least. I think graffiti is ugly, and all the nicer neighborhoods in the city don't have much of it. So if it is art, it's art I don't like.

TJ
Where I hailed him:
East Village
Where he hails from: Nigeria
Years as cabbie:2 months
Previous profession: Parking lot attendant
Oh, they have graffiti in Nigeria, so I'm used to it. Of course there is more in New York, probably too much. Some people like it, some people don't. For me it's no problem, I think it's part of the city. Is it art? I don't think so. Art should be more than just writing some words on something. But it doesn't bother me.

ALI
Where I hailed him:
LES
Where he hails from: New York
Years as cabbie: 2
Previous profession: Business owner
It is painting, so it must be art. I think if you call it art, then it is. I don't know what else you're going to call paintings of things, if you're not calling them art, what are they then?

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