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

4.0 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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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

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"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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 168 pages
  • Publisher: powerHouse Books; First Edition edition (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
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #947,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Justin M. on March 27, 2016
Format: Hardcover
This book is wack. No mention of Joz and Easy. This guy claims "JA didn't get up that much". They never really bagged anybody big. The top 40 list has Ovie in it. It's gotta be a joke. On the real strictly for toys and foreigners!
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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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book and very high quality. Very informative and a good historical read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A gift for my brother, and the quality was really good. Better than expected.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A+++++ fast shipping
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