Little did I know that when I travelled out to New York in August this year that I would find one of the last-standing Banksy’s from the infamous street artist’s 2013 residency entitled “Better Out Than In”.
As a lover of the urban art scene I knew going to NYC (the birthplace of graffiti) would be pretty special, but I didn’t think I’d get chance to hunt down one of very few Banksy pieces left in the busiest city in the world. I’d been reading blogs and checking Instagram before my trip to see if any his work was still there. I noticed one piece on a lot of Instagram posts which was “Hammer Boy”, so I knew I had one good opportunity to find something.
Looking at a lot of the images I also noticed ‘Help save Zabar’s Banksy’ written above the work. This meant it could potentially go at any point and I would be pretty lucky to see it.
This goes to show, it doesn’t matter who you are in the street art world, one day your graff could be a thing of the past. It’s ever-changing scene which keeps it exciting and gives off a certain buzz in a city. While I was in the Lower East Side I managed to stumble upon work by two of my other favourite street artists; Stik and Os Gêmeos (who also featured in Banksy’s New York residency).
Funnily enough, when travelling on the Piccadilly Line to London’s Heathrow Airport (on my way out to New York) when passing through Acton Town it was nice to see that Stik’s piece on the side Charles Hocking House – the tallest piece of street art in the world – was still standing strong. It was kind of romantic to accidentally find his piece on a water tower in Lower Manhattan.
As you can imagine, it’s pretty difficult doing everything you want in New York as the place is insanely massive. As it was my first time there I had to do the tourist stuff like Top of the Rock (best view of NYC by the way), Brooklyn Bridge, Ground Zero, Times Square, Yankees v The Mets, as well working a few days in between. On my last day I decided it was time to try finding one of the last Banksy pieces in New York.
I looked at a through Instagram posts and had seen a few people had tagged the location (79th and Broadway) and I also read a few blog posts which stated the piece was still there, which is what I really needed to know.
It was boiling that day and it’s safe to say I was sweating from all areas of my body by the time I made it to 79th St. I got the wrong Subway too so I had to get off at 72nd St and walk a few blocks. Though I highly recommend walking as much as possible as the Subway is rather hot (actually it’s fucking boiling) and not as easy to navigate as the London Underground.
The area itself wasn’t really what you’d usually associate with a place you’d find street art (which I guess is typical of the Bristolian artist), and to be honest, I thought I was on a wild goose chase at first. But then as I started walking down 79th Street I looked across the road and could make out the protective glass… I had found what is one of the last few Banksy’s in NYC.
It was a peaceful day and I was the only person taking photos of the piece. Which was pretty nice as in the documentary there is utter pandemonium on the streets every time Banksy sprays a wall. I had time to take it in without any bother and probably took more pictures than I needed to.
It felt like quite a symbolic moment as I’ve been lucky enough to find some amazing Banksy’s in Bristol and London so it was a good feeling to find one of his last remaining pieces in the world’s greatest city.
So if you’re going in search of this Banksy this is the location:
For more Banksy guides read my Bristol and London blog posts:
Banksy Hunting in LDN (London)
Dismaland Opens for Business (Banksy’s 2015 dystopian theme park)
The one and only Banksy (Bristol)
Back in Bristol (Post on Bristol street art, including Banksy’s ‘Girl with the Pierced Eardrum’)
As always, graffiti lovers & artists, add comments and share your favourite Banksy’s.