Supreme Taps Iconic Lee Quinones Handball Wall Mural for Spring Collection

Posted on: March 28th, 2018 at 5:03 am by

Photo: Supreme

Skate brand Supreme teamed up with graffiti legend Lee Quinones to produce apparel based on one of his most iconic Lower East Side murals.

The artwork, dubbed “Lion’s Den,” dates back to 1980 at the Corlears Junior High School 56 on Madison Street. Quinones, who was a former student, had already painted one side of the slab with “Howard the Duck” two years earlier, and was reportedly invited back by the school principal due to the “positive outpouring of kudos in the community,” he later told the New York Times.

Now, that same handball court imagery is emblazoned on Supreme-branded denim “trucker” jacket and “painter” shorts. The products are part of the label’s spring/summer 2018 collection. They aren’t yet for sale, but someone is apparently selling a jacket on Ebay for almost $900.

Born in Puerto Rico and raised on the Lower East Side, Lee Quinones eventually rose to become one of the most influential and well-regarded players in the late-70s subway art movement. He is estimated to have sheathed roughly 125 cars, many of which were untouched by other writers.

In an interview with the TimesCityroom blog in 2010, Quinones admitted displeasure with the erasure of the JHS murals. “I think that the handball wall murals in the schoolyard of Corlears Junior High School 56 on Madison Street should have also been preserved,” he told the publication. “Howard the Duck” (1978) and the “Lion’s Den” (1980) were entirely spray painted murals – essentially the first large standing pieces of street art, measuring 30 feet x 25 feet. “‘Howard the Duck’ was illegal, the first of its kind, and it also spearheaded my fine arts career above ground. Due to the positive outpouring of kudos in the community, the school principal gave me a handwritten permission slip to complete the second side of the handball wall in 1980 with the ‘Lion’s Den.'”

On the thirty-fifth anniversary of The Lion’s Den, a tribute was painted on the same handball wall by Sien, Tatu & Marthalicia Matarrita. Three years later, it still stands.

Tribute to Lee Quinones “Lion’s Den,” June 2015

Recent Stories

Good News/Bad News for East River Park [OP-ED]

The following editorial was written by Pat Arnow, a photographer and writer on the Lower East Side who helped found East River Park Action in 2019.  East River Park will remain entirely open and untouched by construction through the end of the year. The latest delay in the massive flood control project – the $1.45 […]

Peppa’s Jerk Chicken Scouts Stanton Street for Expansion

A popular jerk chicken spot in Brooklyn is headed to Hell Square on the Lower East Side. Crown Heights counter-service spot, Peppa’s Jerk Chicken, is currently eyeing 90-96 Stanton Street. The multi-storefront space previously hosted the short-lived Falafix. News of their likely arrival is confirmed by liquor license application materials submitted to Community Board 3 […]

One Week After Reopening, Nathan Straus Playground is Again Locked

Not so fast. One week after the Parks Department unlocked Nathan Straus Playground to the public, it’s again gated. Readers report that the padlocks returned on Tuesday without any communication from the city. As reported, the Lower East Side park, which abuts the Attorney Street cul-de-sac, had been closed without notice for nearly a month […]

Parisi Bakery Building on Elizabeth Street Listed for $5.99M

The NoHo building housing Parisi Bakery is up for sale, and the store may not survive. Robert Parisi – building owner and former head baker of the family business – listed 290 Elizabeth Street on the market. He’s seeking $5.99 million for the seven-unit, mixed-use tenement. Parisi purchased the property in 1983 for $200,000, property […]

Astor Place Hair to Close Permanently Next Month Due to Pandemic

You’ve seen, you’ve read, you’ve heard. News broke over the weekend that Astor Place Hairstylists, a bastion of affordable cuts, is closing down for good. Barring some miracle, the 74-year-old business will be another victim of this dreadful pandemic. Apparently, management informed staff last Friday. Its final day on the namesake block is at the […]