Street Skull Art in New York.
Above Photo: One of the many skull depictions on Crosby Street, New York.
In my Backpacker-Vietnam War crossover novel BACK, I use Crosby Street in New York as a location for an apartment occupied by NYU students. These students set off on an ill-fated trek through the Laotian jungle to the Ho Chi Minh Trail, looking for something left behind from the Vietnam War.
I picked Crosby Street for two reasons – firstly its location is perfect for the students in the novel, but secondly, I also chose it for personal reasons, because I come from a place called Crosby in Liverpool, England.
So when I was in New York recently I decided to spend some time on Crosby Street, and was interested to see how much BACK-related graffiti and street art there was around the place.
The covers of BACK Parts 1 and 2 show a skull (the same skull in fact), dressed up as a soldier in Part 1 and as a dope smoking modern-day traveller in Part 2, and I was amused to see a few depictions of skulls as I walked along Crosby for a couple of hours with my camera.
Most of the art on the street consisted of faces and skulls.
I have illustrated this article with my favourite images from the walls and fliers of Crosby Street.
There was also some more formal face art on the side of one of the commercial premises on Crosby:
I refer to the original Belgian blocks (cobblestones to Brit readers) on Crosby Street in the book, and I attracted a few quizzical stares as I got down to take some low level shots when the street was free of traffic.
I also saw some of the buildings I had used as the location for the students’ apartment.
I referred to two real life restaurants in the book. One of them, Balthazar, is now underneath a building that is being seriously refurbished.
I saw some quite specific art relevant to the plot of the book, for example these three photos:
Our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil. Set in the jungles of Laos and Vietnam, the film deals with the possible fate of US servicemen left behind after the US pulled out of the Vietnam War.
See the trailer for our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil.
For POWs and MIAs left behind in Laos, see:
See also Bordellos on Crosby Street: http://peteralanlloyd.com/back-part-1/take-a-walk-on-the-wild-side-bordellos-in-crosby-street-new-york/
And BACK Locations: http://peteralanlloyd.com/back-part-1/back-locations-crosby-street-new-york/
© Peter Alan Lloyd
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