Art may be in the eye of the beholder but some New York City residents and the MTA say colorful graffiti found on subway cars are simply vandalism.
Transit employees found 11 train cars covered in graffiti in the Jamaica train yard over the weekend and they say they're concerned that vandals' access to the trains represents a serious vulnerability in the subway system.
"Are we really safe? Are the passengers really safe? Someone else can essentially go down there and do something else with the train," said transit union member Kimberly McLaurin.
In response, MTA Chief Safety Officer Patrick Warren says the transit agency has "zero tolerance for these incidents" while calling union critics "alarmists."
The number of major graffiti tags has been going down, according to the MTA. Last year, 297 incidents were reported compared to nearly 100 more in 2018.
"New York City Transit continues to work closely with the NYPD to hold those accountable for these incidents to the fullest extent of the law as the safety of our customers and employees is our top priority," Warren said in a statement on Monday.
Another graffiti incident was caught on camera last week, according to Progressive Action, and a police union shared another video of tagged trains last month. No one has been arrested so far.
While many riders say they believe the graffitis are harmless, some share train workers' concerns. A video recorded by transit union members in November last year showed how easy it was to walk into the train yard on Coney Island.
"There are supposed to be cameras in the station. But obviously they're not catching anyone, so are those camera functional or do even they exist?" McLaurin said.
The NYPD, who is in charge of securing trains that are parked on tracks, says it is more vigorously documenting these vandalisms in an effort to get ahead of them.