Alley Tags III

Specs (2020). Spray paint on wood. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

Jumpin’, just jumpin’, or maybe not just – and tapping, and sliding, and spinning, whatever the move, those shoes made it look Astaire clean. The specs, borrowed at first from the look of spats falling from Edwardian trouser legs, then from summer shoes after the Great War, were hand-painted at first, at least his were. Hard to find anything but brown clodhoppers in 1979. When he found his first real pair of spectators in a store it was a revelation. He wore them everywhere, even in the winter, when the salt and the wet ate away at the soles. Stuck cardboard in them until he could get to Frankie the shoemaker for a ten dollar sole job. He built entire wardrobes around his specs, found ways to wear them with summer whites, ordered a second pair for a backup as soon as he had the extra money. Around that time, in the alley under the El track, the shoe graffiti appeared. Everyone knew who did it.


-Danny Grosso

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