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.
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.