If you’re even a marginal fan of street art or have ever had cause to ride the 7 train, the whitewashing of the graffiti behemoth 5 Pointz likely struck a chord. The place was meant as a mecca, a museum, and a hub for five boroughs worth of aerosol-spun talent. Even though we all know graffiti is ephemeral by nature – as it’s usually illegal – this is a big loss. Sucks to your ass-mar, gentrification.
But! There’s a light at the end of the tunnel! Or more specifically, various lights adjacent to the G and L and M subway tunnels! In honor of 5 Pointz’ passing, we’ve compiled five fantastic walls in four neighborhoods that merit a trip from any graffiti fan. This tour is one of a thousand one might take through Brooklyn – the other great thing about quality street art in our borough is that once you start looking for it, it tends to materialize. So for all those days when paying a price of admission for one at the MOMA feels like trading in meals for a week, do yourself a favor and look around. Look up! Up first…
Off the G at Greenpoint Avenue
Down the deserted strip of eastbound India Street – just past all those Cosby brownstones – there’s a stellar mural series by five Brooklyn artists. Highlights include Joshua Abram Howard‘s ‘Super Duper Soundsytem’ and ‘Antiquated Giant’ by Chris Soria.
While these pieces were technically commissioned as part of the India Street Mural Project in 2009, don’t let that diminish their badass factor. Also note here on your tour that most of the artists at this site – Soria and Ali Aschman included – have tons of great work around the city. Look for their tags.
Off the L at Jefferson Street
The Bushwick Collective – which the savvy will already know as 5 Pointz’ slightly more walkable sister-in-crime – is another should-be city landmark. Sprung from the vision of born and bred Bushwicker Joe Ficalora, the Collective is, like 5 Pointz was, a designated creative space for muralists with a large following. The art starts on St. Nicholas and moves up Troutman. You might recognize pieces by now-iconic Brooklyn painters like Sexer or The Yok, though absolutely every wall is worth a good long stare. Go there. Run there.
Off the J at Myrtle Avenue-Broadway
While you’re in Bushwick, mosey up Jefferson Street and check out another mural series. Featuring stunning pieces by the likes of Ecuadorean artist Raquel Echanique and the Brooklyn-based Lexi Bella (who describes her aesthetic as akin to “jumping into a vat of raspberry lipgloss”, so you know she’s interesting), these pieces bring a ton of color to the sub-subway shade of an industrial intersection. There are also two great walls of (ahem) non-commissioned graffiti over and up a block, on Stockton and Broadway.
Off the L at Bedford Avenue/J at Marcy
Williamsburg proper will give you the runaround, but for the right set of eyes, there’s plenty of tags criss-crossing the neighborhood. Here are some of the niftiest pieces to look out for:
The “Williamsburg Walks” wall, on North 3rd and Bedford. This one’s by Nick Kuszyk (a.k.a. R. ROBOTS and PS his murals are EVERYWHERE once you start looking for them).
This geometric piece on the corner of Hope and Marcy, by Daddison
Tristan Eaton’s zany horse experience on the corner of Roebling and Fillmore
And this unattributed beaut on the corner of Grand and Berry Street
Off the G at Classon Avenue
You can round out your sojourn in the Stuy, where the walls on the corner of Classon and Quincy feature a block of space (optimistically?) reserved for Banksy. Artists here include Wali Vidal, Mista Martin and Frank Makaveli. Further up the street towards Lexington, there’s a great sign from Guido.
And finally, a necessary stop on the pilgrimage of any true fan of the Wu-Tang Clan (is that a thing? It should be a thing) is the faithfully rendered mural of the album cover for Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version. On the Northwest corner of Putnam and Franklin, this wall is an ode to the O.D.B.; it is also a spot on FourSquare. Originally painted by Victor Goldfeld for a since-aborted documentary on the rapper’s life, this mural is also a mild source of neighborhood scandal – it’s been defaced several times. Which is weird, because WU-TANG CLAIN AIN’T NOTHIN TO…ahh, you know the rest.