DIME 139 FREEDOM TRAIN ESSAY
©2002, 2003 @149st Do not republish without permission.
It was the night before the Bicentennial Fourth of July. Caine was over my house a few days earlier telling me he has all this paint and wants to do a Freedom "Train" that will come out the day before the Bicentennial 4th of July 1976. For we were to piece it the evening before He was pretty vague on the details, but said he was planning on doing a top to bottom with flags from different states on every single car; with your name obviously in the foreground. I just took it as talk really at the time, but said if you want to be in it meet us at Shea Stadium around five or so by the ramp that goes over the yards.
He also said it would be a great time to do it for all the police will be covering the fight/wrestling match that Mohammed Ali was putting on as a promotional type of thing. It wasn't a real fight. Let's face it Ali fighting a wrestler, it was a joke. Anyway, the day comes and I asked a friend I used to write with, MOP if he wanted to go with me, for he occasionally went out writing with me. Back then we had our own name for it. We called it circulating! He said NO, So I said, OK fu*k it I'll go myself. And I did just that. Actually I did allot by myself back then not many people in my area Forest Hills, Queens wrote then. So I got to Shea Stadium late first off, second off it was a mob scene. I went to the bridge and no one was their I would say it was 7- 7:30 or so for the fight didn't start yet and usually events started around 8:00 or so. So I went back to Shea watching all these dudes sneaking into the stadium by putting the Police barricades up against the side of the building and shimmying up onto the first level.
I was laughing my ass off watching these guys. I was ready to do it myself being I couldn't find CAINE or any one. I only met ROGER one other time. So those were the only two I would know anyway. But getting back to Shea, just as that thought entered my head to sneak in the cops came blowing their whistles and busting a couple of dudes half way up. That was kind of funny as well. Cause it could of have been me on that barricade. I just walked away and went back to the ramp when I hear "Yo DIME! You made it cool!" It was CAINE what a welcomed site!
We started walking while filling me in on what was going on. Telling me that they started piecing already when they heard a worker and went under the cars for a while until the cost was clear, and that everyone is just chilling outside the fence. He brought me to the opening of the fence and introduced me to a bunch of writers as of the likes of DOC, TAGE FLAME, MAD, CHINO and this dude SPIKE that never got any recognition, for SPIKE hurt himself. CAINE told me what he wanted me to do. He said, SPIKE had already started the outline of the flag on the car but couldn't go back in for he sprained his ankle and couldn't walk on it yet alone straddle the cars to get to the top to finish, so told me to take over that car. The cars are right next to each other, as any graffiti artist knows that has been in a train yard. You have to put one foot on the train next to you and the other on the train you were piecing. While holding onto any part of the train you were doing your piece on to get a firm grip without falling, while of course keeping your letters as straight as possible without dripping. Not to mention keeping a consistent, steady, even spray coming out of the can of paint. And in my case getting the flag lines straight with the top of the train. While you in vision it from a distance while you are basically a foot away from it. Not easy for someone that just twisted his ankle. They heard a worker and fled, and I think SPIKE twisted his ankle while trying to get out if memory serves me correct! In any case he couldn't finish the piece. So, Caine gave me the low down of what he wanted me to do and where the paint was and brought me to the car to paint whatever I wanted.
Looking back at it I am sorry I didn't prepare myself. I just threw up an outline on the spot and put these funky designs inside the letters. In retrospect I really wish I would have three deed the letters. But I was just in awe of all these writers all getting down on both sides of me with everyone very serious about what they were doing! I remember CAINE took a break to see how everyone was coming along, I remember him saying to me, not bad and saying to someone you should see what DIME is doing! I think he was just being nice. Giving me motivation. I really wish I got to see the other cars. For unfortunately, I guess we really pissed the Transit Authority off. For they immediately pulled it from service, weather they buffed the other cars I don't know. I do know I went the next day to take pictures and the only cars I found running was mine and CAINE'S and the windows were scraped already on that. I am glad I got the pictures of it; especially mine.
For all the stories of the Freedom Train that I have read at least. My name or SPIKE never came up. Thank goodness for my Kodak camera. And, I almost got them taken by two DTs (Under cover cops, Detectives) for taking those pictures. For when I went to take the pictures I got stopped and questioned by the two I forgot their names they were well known on the 7 line, and were just waiting for someone like myself to come along. They wanted to know what I was taking pictures of, and I told them. Oh boy that was just what they wanted to hear. They read me the riot act. How I knew about it, what I wrote, where I lived etc.
I told them the truth basically. Except for that I had taken two pictures already. I just said "That there was a rumor that some writers were going to do something for the Bicentennial, everyone knows about it" They asked what I wrote and I told them THE KID...The name I started with. These two were up on their graffiti for they said, THE KID is from the Bronx. Which at that time there was some one writing THE KID, but THE KID -2. I left that part out. They checked it out, trust me! They told me to go home; they didn't want to see me again.
Unfortunately they did, they showed up at my door three days latter and said and I quote "Can we come in? We would like to read you your rights." I let them in and my Mom was home thank god for. I told her pretty much told her everything I did. I had graffiti all over the house. Luckily they didn't have a search warrant, plus I was not one for writing my DIME-139 in my building only THE KID, for the staircase was a regular whose who of graffiti names. I had a lot of the writers at my place. The first thing they did was hit the staircase are you kidding me. Anyway, they told my mom what was going on and said they had CAINE and ROGER in jail already and they told on me. First mistake. I know, for the first rule of the street is never ever rat your friends out, no matter what, period! So I admitted to nothing. Basically mom just said yeah she knows I draw and knows nothing about the trains. That I was home that night etc. My mom was real cool god rest her! So they had nothing to go on obviously they were lying threw their teeth about CAINE and ROGER. And I will never ever forget the last thing they said as they were leaving the door." You always have all the right answers, don't you" I looked at them square in the face and said "Yeah if your telling the truth you usually do" LATER! And that was the last I ever heard from them.
I called CAINE up to tell him what I just went threw, he told me he already had a visit from them everything is cool they have no one and not to worry. They just wanted to see if I would cave in from their scare tactics "You did good DIME"! Unfortunately that was the last time I heard from CAINE, for shortly after that he got shot and killed by an old man that thought he was trying to burglarize his home. When in fact CAINE had got into a fight with a patron from the bar outside the building and was trying to escape by using the fire escape to get away. I still have the news clipping. It was a sad day. CAINE was a good person that had a lot of talent as well. I miss him!!!
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