The City of Schenectady is taking on graffiti with a new project that doesn't cost the taxpayer anything. Yet there's one tag that still has those residents remembering and chuckling. The legacy of a so-called 'pinhead' lives on as the city tries to brush away the problem as a whole. Innae Park has the story.
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- What started as a sibling prank became a Schenectady icon.
Police Chief Brian Kilcullen described, “At one point, the one sister, the non-Susan sister, said, ‘Susan's a pinhead.’”
Those words were painted on the train trestle wall on Erie Boulevard back in 1981. Despite it being painted over twice, someone, and not Susan's sister, Claire, the original artist, wanted to keep the tag alive. First with ‘Susan is still a pinhead,’ and then, ‘Susan remains to be a pinhead.’
City Councilwoman Leesa Perazzo laughed as she said, “Actually, that one was kind of funny.”
“It was there for years. They would take it down and it would pop back up,” said Dennis McDonald. “It was something ‘Old Schenectady.’”
Two decades later, McDonald and his brother, Jack, would open a bar just on the other side of that wall.
“My brother came up with the name 'Pinhead Susan's,’” said Dennis. “Without the effect of the graffiti. [It’s] the graffiti ‘symbol.’”
While the reminder of this graffiti is permissible in this public house, the city is reminding all that it's not okay in public. "Give Graffiti the Brush" is the city's newest project to get rid of the vandalism.
Mayor Gary McCarthy said, “We are going to take that seriously and be aggressive in terms of enforcement.”
With the help of the police department, county resources, the non-profit Quest and donations from Home Depot, businesses, municipal buildings and non-profits can have graffiti removed for free.
“Last year it was just awful, they came through with red spray paint,” said Perazzo, who spearheaded the project. “It's defacing someone else's property.”
“We will follow the clean up in certain neighborhoods to make sure it sustains, that it stays cleaned up, in hopes that it'll reduce other types of disorders in a particular neighborhood,” said the Police Chief. “If the area's not maintained, other things tend to happen that you don't want to happen.”
While an iconic tag will forever be a part of Schenectady's past, the hope is that its future will be graffiti-free.
McDonald said, “Schenectady has been coming around the last 10 years, it has, more and more.”
The project kicks off the first weekend of October. Currently only businesses, non-profits and municipal buildings qualify to have graffiti removed for free. If you know of a property, reach out to Perazzo at Lperazzo@schenectadyny.gov or (518) 334-1346.
As an artistic outlet, a large board will be put up in Jerry Burrell Park for artists to use.