Street art goes far back, at least as far as the ancient empires of Egypt, Greece and Rome, but our contemporary form of graffiti, tied as it is with hip hop culture, was born right here in New York City in the subways of the 1970s. Today, opinions about graffiti vary greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood and artist to artist, but nowhere in the world is the street art better — or more celebrated — than Bushwick, Brooklyn.
I went on a street art tour of Bushwick and it really opened my eyes to the many “tags” you see there, and around the city, representing the artists and their subculture. Some of them are quite well-known while others still prefer to keep themselves in the dark, like Banksy, the very famous graffiti artist from Bristol, England who has mysteriously shown up on this side of the Atlantic from time to time. Who is this Banksy?
In October, Banksy visited New York with “Siren of the Lambs”, a political statement against the meat industry — a truck with "Farm Fresh Meats” written along the side with stuffed animals’ heads poking out, screaming shrill and desperate sounds. I saw this several times driving around the streets of Soho.
On my Bushwick tour, they told me about the neighborhood and the artists that have created this amazing art. Many of them are from here, and you can feel that this part of the city still has the energy of a creative, artistic community. I imagine more of the city had this feeling decades ago.
I was joined on my Bushwick adventure by a group of lovely lady friends and we ended our tour in Roberta's Pizza, for one of the very best pizzas in New York. From the outside it’s hard to tell that it’s a restaurant but the famous brick oven pies in this hipster place are amazing!
If you get a craving for a good cup of coffee, as we so often do, you can find some at AP Coffee.
Street Art Walk
Free Tours By Foot
YouTube: New York Graffiti and Street Art Tour
Roberta’s Pizza, 261 Moore Street, Brooklyn, NY 11206
AP Café, 420 Troutman Street, Brooklyn, NY 11237