TAKI 183, WC 232
In 1969, a bored young Greek kid named Demetrius started writing his nickname, Taki, followed by his street number all over his neighborhood. He got the idea from Julio 204; probably the first tagger in NYC. Unlike Julio who never left the Inwood neighborhood his gang was based in, Taki 183 became the first city-wide writer. He started in Washington Heights and gradually made his way south on the 1 train as he commuted to high school downtown. In the early 70s he took up a gig as a bike and foot messenger and suddenly, throughout the 5 boroughs, Taki 183 was everywhere.
The diminutive tag plainly scrawled with a magic marker was unimpressive by artistic standards but the scope of his tag in unlikely places like Wall Street was far-reaching.
On July 21, 1971 the New York Times published a brief article on the elusive Taki 183 and a photo of his tag. Overnight, graffiti exploded. Youths across the city began emulating him and the graffiti movement gained tremendous momentum. Not the first writer, but the first writer with a little bit of press, Taki 183 ensured himself a prominent spot in the annals of graf.
Charged with starting the movement, he gradually slipped from the scene. Aside from a flashy website for worldwide graf enthusiasts to drool over, when he put down his marker, he didn't look back.