Literally, the Coolest New York Graffiti Story of All Time

Cool girls

A little while back, "Ross Is Not Cool" mania swept New York and the nation as publications from the Post to E! Online to Vanity Fair amplified the photograph, originally posted by NYC blog EV Grieve, of the former Friends star's vandalized front door. Most outlets jumped on the conclusion that the graffiti was sprayed by an activist representing the collective will of an aggrieved neighborhood, and while that theory had its holes (aggrieved neighborhoods rarely display such humorous pop culture awareness), it was certainly conceivable. It was also wrong. The man who instantaneously nozzled his way into the collective consciousness, who we’ll call Drew, wasn’t acting out of a sense of civic outrage, or personal animosity. The truth is, for a little while now, Drew has been marking territory with the tagger name “Cool”. When he wrote "Ross Is Not Cool", he was simply stating for the record that "Ross" was not him. It was the equivalent of spray-painting "Ross is not Jim Joe."* Drew was also, in the words of a friend, “really drunk”, and some motivation was also probably drawn from that.

Ross is not cool

Drew's own Instagram of his handiwork

"Everybody assumed I gave a fuck. 'Oh, no, Ross is destroying a townhouse from 1852!' I don't care, the new place looks fine. There were thousands of people arguing about it online. People were like 'I hate David Schwimmer's toupee!' That's just hurtful. Guy's got to live somewhere."

Not that Drew doesn't have the credentials to call out Downtown interlopers: as a CBGB doorman, he kicked out more mistakenly entitled famous people than Phoebe had celebrity guest-star boyfriends. And he does admit that he kind of enjoyed the attention.

Cool tattoo

For Drew, being Cool is a permanent responsibility

"Everybody in the world was talking about you and Miley Cyrus," said the friend.

"Yeah, I let fame go my head for a minute," acknowledged Drew. "I almost made a video of me twerking on bath salts in Syria."

Marion Barry tattoo

The documentary The Legend of Cool "Disco" Dan features interviews with Drew's idols Ian Mackaye and "Mayor for Life" Marion Barry (seen here on Drew's shoulder), who he calls "the coolest man alive".

Drew admits he can see where the cool double-entendre might have caused some (okay, most) people to get the wrong idea. But the opportunity to humble a famous television paleontologist had nothing to do with his choice of tag. Raised in DC, Drew settled on "Cool" as a tribute to the Capital's legendary graffiti artist, Cool "Disco" Dan.

Ross shirt

Drew purchased this t-shirt months ago, completely independently of the spontaneous urge to tag David Schwimmer’s townhouse.

As for the hubbub, Drew lightheartedly blames EV Grieve for telling him the location of Schwimmer's residence in the first place. "I love that blog. I read it every day. I wrote the guy behind it and told him that I wanted to buy him a beer, but he said he couldn't, because he had to remain anonymous." Scrolling through the impressive roster of Google search results, I asked Drew if he found it incredible that two anonymous people -- himself and whoever does run EVG -- could casually make so much magic happen. "Two anonymous people made the stupidest shit ever happen," he said. "The real story is that none of these other people had anything better to write about."

*Drew does not think Jim Joe is cool in any sense, and finds it hilarious when people transform his tag into "Rim Job."

After reading this, you'll probably start noticing "Cool" everywhere you look. Like these places:

Cool dumpsters
Cool newspapers
Cool stairs
Cool grass
Cool kid
Cool mailbox