We often think of New York City (NYC) as the city of lights but there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. The Big Apple (NYC) famous for its skyscrapers and museums, also in fact boasts spectacular street art. Adding to the city’s grandeur, the streets of NYC are full of colorful wall murals and unique graffiti art.
This blog is dedicated to all my friends who love visiting NYC, and shares a fun way of experiencing the city streets!
On a fine day in December, I decided to visit NYC just for the street art and oh boy, was I amazed! Sharing today some of my favorite must-see street art in NYC.
WTC – World Trade Center
I began my trip at the World Trade Center transportation hub aka “The Oculus” which in itself is an architecture marvel and such an amazing piece of modern architecture. It is also a shoppers paradise, so not letting myself get distracted by the countless countless shops here, I made my way out of Oculus and voila!, I found my first view of NYC street art.
There is a perky pop-art mural by artist Todd Gray, close to it is Sticky Monger‘s (aka Joohee Park) cosmic traveler which depicts a girl on another planet that has found a magical portal through which she is trying to look at our world, yet another bright yellow one with a girl talking to the cartoon characters by Risa Tochigi (aka Riiisa Boogie). There’s even one with the letters WTC and which symbolically has the one world trade center building in the background.
The multiple new murals here, intend to brighten up the atmosphere near the World Trade Center and believe me they really do!
Next on my list was to explore the art in Little Italy – the small Italian neighborhood in NYC.
The Mulberry street in Little Italy is not just famous for its pizza, pasta and cannolis, off late it has drawn many visitors to its stunning wall murals.
I entered Mulberry st from Canal st, and right on the corner found the Lady Liberty herself! It is a glorious piece of art created by the American artist and toy-maker Tristan Eaton as part of the L.I.S.A (Little Italy Street Art) project. The mural is a beautiful amalgamation of colors and is truly delightful!
Further along is the wall art, that drew me to the Mulberry St – an eye catching and enigmatic wall mural of Audrey Hepburn. Amazing art again by Tristan, one look and I knew this is my favorite wall art in NYC. In summer you would often see couches or tables set in front of this wall creating a beautiful backdrop. In winters you can get up close to the wall and capture it without any distractions. Highly recommend it if you are in that area. The mural has been created in 2013 again as part of the L.I.S.A project and is right next to Cafe Roma on the corner of Mulberry and Broome Street.
From here, if you take slight left on the Broome Street, there is another magnificent piece by the same artist of the famous Gigi Hadid , known as the “Big City of Dreams” so apt and symbolic of the New York City. This mural like the others by Tristan boasts bold colors and his signature patchwork.
This Gigi Hadid art piece is sometimes difficult to find on Google as it is on the side wall of the parking garage, but an easy way to locate this is to look right opposite the Seamore’s restaurant.
Walking down the Mulberry street, I found a rather curious piece of art by the famous French artist Invader (a pseudo name after the 1978’s famous arcade game – Space Invaders). Invader has made many tours to NYC and has left a series of art pieces. He has a distinct style of using 8 bit graphics from early video games and his art is popularly known as the Invader Invasion. I thought that was pretty cool. Every time the artist is in town, the Invasion happens and his art becomes an Instagram frenzy. Here in Little Italy, it’s said that he sneaked in the night with a ladder and created his 147th piece in New York a pixelated superhero. There are a whole lot of invader invasion pieces all over NYC and that goes in my bucket list 🙂 !
Little Italy in my mind is truly the Mural district of NYC, and every time you walk across the streets, you are going to be amazed by the creative art pieces.
From the Broome St, I continued up to Layfette St to capture another famous mural The Tiger, created by Sonny Sundancer as part of the Project CAT. This one has been doing a lot of rounds on Instagram as well and spreads the message for the conversation of this beautiful animal.
In close proximity of the Tiger mural, I came across several other unique art pieces – heart skeleton by Gianni Lee, Nick Walker with his signature hat wearing gentlemen known as ‘Vandal’ and bright yellow stick figures by Stik and LA2
From Little Italy my next destination was the Bowery Mural on the lower east side. It’s a big white wall that gained popularity in 1982 when Keith Haring created his art here and ever since it’s been an art sensation. When I visited the big wall, it boasted an anti-gun mural. Looking at the amazing wall it felt like the city was expressing its feelings through the art.
Change of Guard happens every now and then for this wall and when I visited the place again a few days back, I was surprised to see a brand new art mural here with a tribute to New York and a shout out to Keith Haring!!
While you are are standing and admiring this wall, you might want to look across the street to see various other art pieces on the shops by talented artists. A usually interesting one is on the corner of Elizabeth street, on the side wall of the Rag and Bone outlet store. Ever since the store opened, its wall has been painted with ever-changing art pieces. When I visited the place it boasted a Give Thanks Mural by the artist Adam Fu.
Green Art Park
I continued straight from the Bowery Mural towards the First street and came across the First Street Green Art Park. This is such a unique and interesting place and allows anyone to paint wall murals, all they need to do is submit their artwork to the park curators. It’s a great place for practicing graffiti legally with the only rule being – no tagging.
Back in 2008, a group of artist and volunteers revamp this entire area into an outdoor museum and a buzzing art scene. The murals and the paint on the walls here keeps changing and what you see once, you might not see again; so do take time to click some pictures. This is by far one of the most concentrated location of NYC Street art.
Hope you had fun reading the blog, and it helps you explore the amazing art in New York City. Do you leave a comment and let me know what you liked!