Allen Boys Remnants and Lee Quinones

Posted on: March 3rd, 2011 at 6:08 am by

In the gated driveway beside Sunshine Cafe at 201 Allen Street is a decades-old mural that is barely visible to the naked eye. Today it’s a faded reminder of the wild graffiti frontier of the old neighborhood.  Back in 1982, Lee Quinones spraypainted a stunning piece of art here called “Allen Boys.”

This image has been archived or removed.

Photo: Martha Cooper

These days, though, the glory of Allen Boys is all but lost.  The colors are fatally faded and overwritten in some spots.  All that remains of the original mural is the hat head and some shadowing.

This image has been archived or removed.

Born in Puerto Rico and raised on the Lower East Side, Lee Quinones eventually rose to become one of the most influential and well-regarded players in the late-70s subway art movement. He is estimated to have sheathed roughly 125 cars, many of which were untouched by other writers.  Quinones is also known for his handball-court artwork, the most famous being the 25 x 30 foot “Howard the Duck” outside Corlears Junior High School #56.

This image has been archived or removed.

[Howard the Duck; Photo Credit: Lee Quinones]

Last March, Cityroom invited the artist to answer questions about graffiti as part of its ongoing “Answers from a…” series.  One reader posed the question of whether the city should have stepped in to help preserve the illegal Allen Boys mural. This was the response:

I understand your concern over the destruction of the “Allen Boys” mural, since it was the last standing mural in Manhattan from the early ’80s, but I think that the handball wall murals in the schoolyard of Corlears Junior High School 56 on Madison Street should have also been preserved. “Howard the Duck” (1978) and the “Lion’s Den” (1980) were entirely spray painted murals – essentially the first large standing pieces of street art, measuring 30 feet x 25 feet. “Howard the Duck” was illegal, the first of its kind, and it also spearheaded my fine arts career above ground. Due to the positive outpouring of kudos in the community, the school principal gave me a handwritten permission slip to complete the second side of the handball wall in 1980 with the “Lion’s Den.”

However, there is one awesome neighborhood mural of his that remains remarkably intact.  His “Know Your Rights” piece on Eldridge Street was painted in November 2005, and touched up again last year. The lack of graffiti vandalism on the gate proper is no doubt a testament to the respect he commands.

This image has been archived or removed.

Recent Stories

Seward Park Cheerleading Squad Raises $30K for Nationals Competion

When the Seward Park High School cheerleading squad qualified for the nationals back in December, the school made history. The Lower East Side institution is reportedly the second public high school in Manhattan to ever qualify for the grand stage. However, the obstacle in their midst was budgetary. No cash for uniforms, travel, and lodging […]

City Readies Demolition of Delancey Foot Bridge to East River Park

With each new day, the destruction of East River Park intensifies. Little is now recognizable as dozens of trees were excised and the historic amphitheater demolished. All as part of the billion-dollar coastal resiliency project. Now, time has come for the pedestrian bridge linking Delancey Street to the park, above the FDR Drive. The city […]

Teenager Arrested in Connection with Essex Card Shop Fire on Avenue A

A teenager has been arrested in connection with the alarm fire that destroyed the Essex Card Shop at 47 Avenue A last week. EV Grieve first confirmed the news yesterday. Charges against the 13-year-old – whose name was withheld due to his age – include second-degree arson. Officials told the blog that that the arsonist […]

Woman Dies Month After Being Hit by School Bus in Chinatown

A pedestrian struck by a school bus in Chinatown last month has succumbed to her injuries. On December 16, at approximately 1:45pm, 67-year-old Ahhon Lau was struck in the intersection of Monroe and Catherine Streets. When officers arrived at the scene, Lau was found unconscious and unresponsive, with trauma about the body. EMS transported her […]

Brooklyn Fare Market Makes it Official at One Manhattan Square

Brooklyn Fare Kitchen & Market officially announced its Lower East Side entrance with banner advertising at One Manhattan Square. The vinyl skins are now in the windows along Cherry Street, advertising free delivery and fresh produce. As previously reported, the upscale grocer signed a lease to occupy 25,500 square-feet across two floors in the base […]