Turhan Gumusdere aka TRIKE1 is an old-school graffiti writer who used to bomb NYC subway trains in the 70s and is now the warden of Rikers’ biggest jail. Although this promotion happened in early June and was announced via an official press release (PDF), the New York Post is just putting it all together now by way of an anonymous Department of Corrections source. And they’re not happy about it — but for all the wrong reasons. While the tabloid focuses on his illicit career decades ago, they only make a passing mention of the part that matters:
The New York Times reported last month that Gumusdere fudged the department’s crime statistics by omitting hundreds of fights among inmates while he was a deputy warden in 2011.
City investigators determined that Gumusdere and Warden William Clemons should have been demoted by then-Commissioner Dora Schiro, but they weren’t, the paper said.
In the past few months, Rikers has been rocked by allegations of rampant abuse and coverups. However, to the Post, the real story is what Gumusdere did as a teenager over 40 years ago. “As a teenager, there was a huge wave of kids writing on the walls. I did write my name here and there, but now I am an established artist,” Gumusdere told the tabloid.
Hailing from Brooklyn, TRIKE1 is credited with painting the EE, F, GG, N, RR, M, B, D, and 6 lines in the 70s. He went by the aliases LP 136, TURK 1, and TO.
Also known as Turk One and LP 136, Trike One began writing graffiti in the 70s with the GND (Graffiti Never Dies) crew. Notorious and feared for his size and fighting skills, Trike One and his crew controlled Sheepshead Bay and were responsible for bombing the Coney Island trainyard, the biggest yard in Brooklyn. Returning to New York after college in the 80s, Trike joined RTW (Rolling Thunder Writers), alongside some of the best artists of the era, like Zephyr, Quik and Revolt.
As noted by the Post, he has also donated work to the “Horticulture Society of New York’s silent auction” to benefit charity.
A source tells us that he’s the person responsible for bringing fellow writers such as KET and NOXER to paint some buildings in the youth area of Rikers. Their mural reads: “Lock my body, can’t trap my mind.”
(Photos: Urban Folk Art Studios)