This spray-painted claw by the graf writer “Claw” is a familiar graffiti icon of downtown New York, though it’s not nearly as widespread as some others. Sometimes the claw is blue-white, sometimes red-white or some other color and white. Usually a word is written over the claw. In this photo, taken on 2nd Avenue in the East Village, the claw reads “cookie.” The word is fitting and reveals the tagger’s sense of humor when you consider that the graffiti was written below a bakery shop window in which cookies and other sweets are displayed. The way the three-digit claw is rendered gives it the look of a cat’s paw in an old Tom and Jerry cartoon. (BTW, it is an animation tradition–with a few exceptions–to draw a character’s hands, paws or whatever with only three digits and an opposable thumb–check out Homer’s hands next time you watch The Simpsons.) Note the Yellow Rat Bastard promo sticker in the lower left corner.

Ivan Corsa Photo