Mural of New York City on Ann Arbor club vandalized with name of Queens rapper
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
Frustration over Ann Arbor’s problems with graffiti were raised again this week after a local business owner found a rapper's name tagged all over a recently restored mural.
Nick Easton, owner of the Cavern Clubs Entertainment complex, said the tour bus for a rapper named Despot was parked Sunday outside the mural of New York City on the wall of Nick’s Gotham City, a club at 210 S. First St. Easton said Despot’s name was painted on various buildings in the mural when he saw it the next day.
“It’s frustrating; it makes me angry,” Easton said. “I called the police and there’s nothing they can do about it. There’s no video of it happening and we can’t really accuse anyone of it.”
Despot was one of the rappers on the bill at The Blind Pig Sunday night. The Queens, New York-native is touring the country this summer.
The rapper tweeted, “Someone wrote my name all over the wall by the venue! Cool! #crazedfans” at 12:46 a.m. Monday, according to his official page.
It’s the first time graffiti artists hit the building at 210 S. First St., save for the mural, which was painted in 2000 and has been kept up by the building’s owners. Easton said he doesn’t know how the paint will be cleaned off of the mural without damaging the original painting.
The mural covers about half of the building’s first floor and contains images of the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge and the World Trade Center. It had just been restored earlier this year, Easton said.
Ann Arbor’s graffiti issues have cost business owners thousands of dollars in cleanup costs, and police have been taking calls from residents who are angry about the vandalism. However, the cases are notoriously hard to prosecute unless the vandals are caught in the act, according to police.
Easton hasn’t talked to the city regarding the new graffiti. He said he thought Despot had done the tagging himself during the time the bus was parked in front of the building.
“My guess is he saw the mural and says, ‘It’s my hometown, I’m putting my name on it,’” Easton said.
Despot could not immediately be reached for comment.