What do you do when you see your beloved neighborhood covered in ugly graffiti? One man is taking matters into his own hands and has begun blanketing Woodside, Queens in a kind of anti-graffiti. He’s extended the self-motivated beautification process to fire alarms, outdoor walls and lampposts, and he’s not likely to stop anytime soon.
His name is John Colgan, but you can call him the Fire Alarm Guy or by his more superhero-y moniker, The Woodside Avenger. The artistic do-gooder was tired of waiting around for ugly graffiti in his nabe to be removed or covered up, so he decided to take matters (and a paintbrush) into his own hands and turn the atrocities into his canvas. Colgan’s been at it for over three years, and he doesn’t have any plans to quit. In fact, he hopes to start expanding his realm when warmer weather arrives.
When he first started his quest, Colgan feared he might get in trouble. Painting public fixtures without permission is technically illegal, even if the art covers up ugly graffiti. However, over the years, he’s teamed up with the Woodside Neighborhood Association and has been recruiting others to help him.