spikes! spikes for everybody!

The Anti-Sit Archives is a gallery of photos of pigeon spikes for humans: steel teeth to make it impossible for you to sit on anything. Those things really make me sad.

They're even worse than pigeon spikes, and those are pretty awful, too. It's so pathetic when you see a building that at one time had some attention paid to its architecure -- that looks like someone might have cared about it, by adding some ornate detail or other -- and then someone glued a thousand wire scrub-brushes to it. Am I the only one who thinks that those are far, far uglier than pigeon shit?

Even worse is when there is an overhead alcove with a statue in it... with chain-link fence closing the hole. Why not just use plywood! Turn the building into a cube, stucco for everyone! Gaaahh.

There's a church in North Beach that has some large statues on the building, halfassedly crowned with pigeon-thorns. There's an eagle that looks like it has an aluminum mohawk. It's kind of funny, but mostly just sad.

Skateboarding vigilanteism:

Skateboarders routinely conduct guerrilla missions to remove what they call "Nazi knobs" from their favorite skate spots. They use saws and power tools, and sometimes cellular phones to connect the demolisher to the lookout.

"One dude cuts and one dude's watching and one dude is ready to run with the generator," said Rob Dyrdek, a professional skateboarder who admits to removing Skatestoppers. "It's pretty ridiculous."

Once, while Loarie was installing Skatestoppers at a school in Orange County, a young skateboarder walked up to say he'd be back to tear them out over the weekend. Later, Loarie said, the Skatestoppers had been hacked off and human feces smeared across the wall.

On a computer screen in his office, Loarie showed off a forthcoming Skatestopper he calls the "future of skate deterrents." The piece, made from aircraft-grade aluminum, looks like a mooring with deep anchors and can be installed directly into wet concrete, making it impossible to remove without destroying the bench or curb in which it is imbedded.

This all reminds me of one of my favorite visual gags in Transmetropolitan: all of the park benches had signs on them that said, "WARNING: this bench becomes red hot between 2 AM and 6 AM."

But you can tell that was science fiction, because the park had grass in it, unlike the concrete Soviet monstrosity of the reconstructed Union Square.

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35 Responses:

  1. whittles says:

    Union Square used to have grass?

    • jwz says:

      Yeah, they paved it over about five years ago, I think?

      • whittles says:

        so sad. That must've looked so much more inviting and liveable.

        and yes, those spikes are far worse than bird shit. And the ones for humans are even more depressing.

      • fo0bar says:

        Yeah, they closed off the square and began work in early 2001, and I believe it opened sometime in 2002 (after I moved away). I saw the mockup and figured they REALLY wanted to turn it into a skate park.

        Do people actually go to that concrete monstrosity now? I figured it wouldn't matter much since Yerba Buena Gardens was so close, and looked much nicer anyways.

  2. gutbloom says:

    Why so many hydrants with anti-sit things on them? Is it because anyone willing to hang out on top of a fire hydrant for more than two or three hours must be drinking?

    • Yeah, I really can't imagine the reasoning there. Unless they're worried the bird shit will somehow make it difficult for the firemen to remove the cap? Implausible, but slightly more plausible than a lazy teen refusing to get off of it when a fire is in progress.

  3. substitute says:

    Other similar fun things are the "no sleep" bus benches which also suck to sit on, and the public furniture of various kinds that is designed to make you uncomfortable so you'll leave quickly.

    The only thing that bugs me more than the anti-sit things is the total lack of drinking fountains in public spaces. Sometime in the 80s I guess they just removed them all, and now everyone has to pay for water.

  4. solios says:

    Along Transmet lines, I favor coating the target area with something electrically conductive - which would work fine for birds and bums.

    I'd like a copper-plated doorstep. It would be worth the money just to fry the reproductive organs of the assholes who continue to use it as a urinal.

  5. chloralone says:

    They'll be gone after the first time someone has to try and clean the pigeon shit out from between though steel spikes.

  6. gargargar says:

    Remember when people used to actually SPEND PUBLIC MONEY in order to INSTALL BENCHES so that people would have PLACES TO SIT along the sidewalk?

  7. drbrain says:

    I'd like some of those spikes to make the crack dealers/smokers find somewhere else to yell at each other about who got whom pregnant, or about being locked in a car with a buyer while going 90 mph at 2AM.

    But then I've also thought about sitting out on my own wall with a book or something which would be much cheaper.

    But in the middle of a city... why? Shouldn't people have somewhere to eat their lunch?

  8. ammonoid says:

    What is pathetic about most of those anti-sit spikes is that they are at most a piece of cardboard away from being useless.

    What does NYC have against people eating lunch outside?

  9. nidea says:

    I kind of like the art deco pyramids... but in all, you gotta wonder where the harm is in somebody sitting down! We're an aging population after all.

    • If someone sits down for free, it creates unfair competition for establishments selling sitting space, which is fundamentally wrong and un-American. Don't be too surprised if owners of horizontal surfaces are legally obliged to put anti-sitting devices on them in the near future.

  10. grahams says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that those are far, far uglier than pigeon shit?

    Along a similar note, here in boston it's common for people to glue these black one inch by several foot strips of rubber to the bumpers of their new, nice car... Every time I see one, and then look at the scratches on my bumper, I much prefer the scratches...

  11. revsphynx says:

    Why would spikes like that stop people from sitting?

  12. "...human feces smeared across the wall."

    How does she know it's human feces?

  13. dk379 says:

    But you can tell that was science fiction, because the park had grass in it, unlike the concrete Soviet monstrosity of the reconstructed Union Square.

    Don't you dare to offend beautiful Soviet city architecture (I am speaking of my native Kiev, and also Moscow and St.Petersburg where I have been few times.) We never had _any_ anti-sitting devices, and every bus stop had fully covered shelter with several long benches to sit on, backs included.

    In my native Kiev, within 10-minute distance you had yourself small park, or open-space square, with no stupid signs like `closed sunset to sunrise' (and when you are supposed to sit arm-in-arm with your first love?).

    One more detail: NO PARKING LOTS. Now, they are building garages, usually underground. Cities were built up, not wide. Now go back to Union Square and check signs in basement garage; they say something around `if you see somebody taking photographs, report them to security immediately to protect our national security'. I guess there is still a bomb shelter there?

  14. Wish I could find a link....

    A Calgary architect ordered the city to remove the anti-skate devices, saying that buildings are supposed to naturally age.

    You'd think that instead of preventing skaters, they'd make their building and garden planters from materials that would break down or mark so easy. Then they wouldn't have to care!

  15. It would be fun to make some anti sit benches and tables. banksy style.

  16. jqmark says:


  17. yenchek says:

    grind to ollie-skatestop back to grind?

  18. cadmus says:

    You listen to SMP? I didn't think anyone outside of Seattle did...