Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bank of America Addresses "Minor" Embarrassment

From Main St., the Bank of America branch, across from the Police Station, is impeccable in appearance, with only some modern signage, and an ATM, appended to what was the old Middletown National Bank building.  The fact that it's surrounded by asphalt-covered parking lots is the topic for another post.

But the back of the building is another story.  For the past year it's been marred by graffiti tags, and in the past two months those tags have exploded so that the building is covered.  In an alley, which used to be a street, between the buildings and the Middle Oak parking garage, it's only seen by people like me who occasionally use the footpath as a shortcut between Court to College Street.

The good news is that Bank of America management have addressed the problem.  Bank manager Barbara Segaline said that a security camera has been ordered, and once it's installed, hopefully within a month's time, the building will be repainted, and the area surrounding the former drive-up window will be landscaped to discourage taggers from leaving their mark.

13 comments:

Kimberly Garland said...

What you call "marred" others call art and free expression.
In this same area, 'classical' music of the most predictable and Euro-centric kind is piped through speakers, giving an evening stroll a creepy, horror movie feel. It also does little to reflect the diversity of culture, class and race that makes up Middletown. Personally, I think the graffiti art is a great use of that back alley, a place that has a lovely, neglected beauty of it's own-and a fine reaction to terrible, cultural stick-in-the-mud-ism that plagues much of Connecticut.

Anonymous said...

Used to be CBT.

Middletown Eye (Ed McKeon) said...

Kimberly:

I agree with you about the classical music. It's obnoxious, and intrusive. I know why it's there - to drive the teens away, but it's truly awful to have elevator music outdoors.

As for the tags. They are not art. They may be expression. But nothing on that wall rises to the level of art, by any definition.

It's vandalism, and I have no love for Bank of America, but I live downtown, and when I look out my back window, I look across to an apartment building that's been tagged. Not a museum experience.

BTW, with free expression comes the responsibility not to harm others (yelling "fire" in a crowded movie theater is the frequently used example).

Anonymous said...

Hi Kimberly,

I agree that graffiti spray painted on the bank building is a form of free expression; but art? Certainly one can find examples of "artistic graffiti" but I certainly don't see it here! Look at my free - expression - tagging scrawls hastily applied debase the surface they appear on. They aren't pictures and are often barely legible. What would Mozart & Lil Wayne think?

Rex Hennessey

Anonymous said...

I like the music!

Michael Pestel said...

I'm with Kim on both issues, which are related. The music is indeed contextually creepy and anti-youth, not to mention anti-many-others. And rather than put up security cameras, the B of A might better provide spray paint for the artists to paint in broad daylight. Of course, that would take the Robin 'Hood' out of it for the spray-artists who have surely chosen this bank for personal reasons. (A different article might address the complex relationships between authority's need, corporate greed and graffiti's sneaky deed.) In the meantime, let's change the mix on the music to reflect Middletown's cultural melting pot (including classical music) or, better yet, give individuals a chance to create their own mixes on a rotating basis. What a dynamic, low-cost opportunity for community building. The same goes for the graffiti art. Give people more outlets and fewer Orwellian security cameras. So far, the B of A and the parking lot managing company have really missed the creative boat on this one.

Jane Harris said...

Many institutions use "classical" music because it is out of copyright. ASCAP doesn't view the commercial reproduction of their music without payment as a public good.

Anonymous said...

Free expression does not allow someone to trespass on private property to vandalize a wall. There once were picnic tables in that little park until the "free expressionists" destroyed them with their "art". I enjoy the classical music. It goes along well while sipping a coffee or strolling along Court St.

Madam Nirvana said...

I used to work near the parking garage, and yes you can here the music inside other establishments loud and clear. No matter what kind of music is playing, since I didn't pick it, it is truly maddening for 10 hours a day. Windows open or closed, you can still hear it, unless the adjacent establishment drowns it out with more music or noise. It is not the lack of variety or genre, its the fact it is forced. Why would anyone want to be forced to listen to music someone else chose when they have no choice NOT to listen to it? Imagine someone else choosing the soundtrack for your life day in and day out. Wearing headphones is an option for some employees in some businesses but not others. The music is a nuisance being forced on the everyone in ear shot. The issue of loitering could be solved by more police on foot, private security guards from the parking garage or some from the bank making rounds. The music is the lazy way out for the alleged problem. In England businesses use high pitched noise to drive off teens which adult ears cannot hear.Google the "Mosquito" Its a little barbaric, but its better than guards hiding out in bushes and tasing people making graffiti. However, then you have the issue of taking business from Klekolo and alike who have teenaged clients, most of which are well behaved. I would know, I was one of them once- So the solution is to share the space, and apprehend the vandals. Actually, well behaved young people in an area are eyes and ears to deter the misguided if encouraged to do so and a dialog is pursued. Cameras don't deter crime, punishment or making it difficult to commit the crime in the first place stops crime. My mother never let me draw on the walls at home, so despite some graffiti being quite beautiful (check out Montreal) unless its your wall it is vandalism. Buy a big piece of plywood and tag your heart out at home.

Madam Nirvana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Smile MINOR, you're on candid camera.

Anonymous said...

I work on Court St. I only hear the beautiful music when on the street, not in my work space.

Anonymous said...

What are The Crinimal Charges for this? is their Any Reward For reporting Those Who Did It?