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Vandal Squad: Inside the New York City Transit Police Department, 1984-2004 Hardcover – October 25, 2008


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Vandal Squad: Inside the New York City Transit Police Department, 1984-2004 + Piecebook: The Secret Drawings of Graffiti Writers
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 168 pages
  • Publisher: powerHouse Books (October 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576874664
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576874660
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.8 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #837,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best of the Month, November 2008: Graffiti writers have become a pop culture fixture, and their outlaw mystique has helped spark a cottage industry of books devoted to their work. But as Robert DeNiro said in Heat, "There is a flip side to that coin." In Vandal Squad, Bronx-born Joseph Rivera chronicles his cat-and-mouse police work putting away many of the perps on New York City's Top 40 Vandal List: "Just seeing their faces when they turned and realized they were about to get bagged was priceless." In Warriors-era '70s New York, subway trains became a playground for vandals, and in 1980 the New York City Transit Police Vandal Squad was formed to combat these attacks with creative undercover work. Rivera's voice is authentically gruff in a just-the-facts-please style, but many surprises pop up throughout (he enlisted a popular tagger to design the logo for the Vandal Squad softball team jerseys). Rivera's work, coupled with Rudy Guiliani's zero-tolerance "Quality of Life" regime in the '90s, cleaned up (or as some might argue, removed character from) the subways and city streets, but Vandal Squad takes you back to a much grittier Manhattan. --Brad Thomas Parsons

Review

"The average New Yorker couldn't believe the unit existed. They'd refer to us as `crayon cops." --Joseph Rivera (Interview with New York Magazine)

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Cats4NY on January 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Joe Rivera provides a great insight into both the good and bad old days of Graffiti, from the 1980's thru 2000s. With lurid and fast paced narratives worthy of Mario Puzo or Donald Westlake, his stories read like adventure stories, with one difference: They are all true. Any fan of Graffiti, The New York City Subway System or New York City itself will find this book endlessly fascinating. Highly recommended.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mike Reingold on January 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Joe makes you feel like you are right there with him, he does not hold anything back. I am retired NYPD and even I liked the book, there are so many different units, over 300 in the NYPD, and most of us, even cops who worked there dont see what the other guy does. This book is a fun read by a regular guy, dealing with a problem he took personally. Grafitti clearly a problem in NY during the 80's.

Sometimes the simple unknown book is the best, get a hold of Joe Cunningham history of the NYC Transit system, a self printed book, and you wlll see what I mean.

"Being a Cop with the NYPD gives you a front row seat to the greatest show on earth". Enjoy this book.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Reading on February 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I have to admit I was quite disapointed with this book, I was hoping to find real nice pictures of exclusif peices as they suposedly took everything that was done in New York during does 20 years but the whole book actualy focuses on the author and his failing struggle to become a recognised detective. The "hot" stories about arrests can be summed up in one sentence : "We saw him, caught him and he either admited it or not but then was released". Furthermore the little pictures that are in are either either uninteresting or already seen on the internet :-(
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By George Gong on May 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A review of the hard task of investigating graffatti and the efforts of the New York Traanity Authority and it's now defunct in house police force in finding the culprits.
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