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Street Art Guide New York

Written by 25 November 2013 3 Comments

One of my more curious features comes into the picture, when it gets to exploring the arts as I quite often end up in off-the-beaten-track art galleries over the ones with lines longer than Ben&Jerry’s shelves.

If you have already visited The Museum of Modern Art, here comes an artsy option more in touch with Mother Nature. This is a short guide to spot street art in “The World’s Biggest Urban Playground.”

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Dase(first), Icy and Sot(second)

In New York

Back in the 70s a new American art form, street art, made its way to The Big Apple. This catchy form of visual expression was accessible around the clock, free from curfews, entrance fees and guardians. Even though some of of the most noteworthy pieces might require a serious bit of exploring, chances are you’ll end up in unpredictably marvelous places. The New York Times said it well: “As long as you have a metro card or even a comfortable pair of shoes, there’s always hope to find art in The City.”


Street art includes different types of styles and techniques. I’m going to shortly breakdown 5 styles for you.

1. Tags

Tags are simply free-handily made signatures of street artists. They can be made with different kind of materials, for example, with spray paint. In New York, try to spot the name Jim Joe.

2. Stickers

3. Apprehension by officials keeps artists sometimes on their toes. Stickers make the risk of getting caught smaller. They are a fast way to spread certain message or picture widely, and can be places anywhere accessible. The alternative names for sticker art are sticker bombing, slapping, tagging and slap tagging.

3. Stencils

Easily reproduced stencils are images normally transferred to a surface with spray paint or roll-on paint. They are designs normally cut to a cupboard or paper. Stencils are illegal to create, but a solid part of worldwide subculture. Read more about them here.

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4. Wheatpasting

Wheatpasting has been used for centuries for various arts and other purposes, like book binding and collages. Normally it’s a gel or liquid adhesive made with the help of starch and water. Often goal in “poster bombing” is to create a billboardy-look with visual puns.

5. Murals

Mural is a piece of art applied or painted directly to the walls or permanent surfaces. Normally they are rather large and include detailed scenes or exploded tags. Or both. Click your way to many marvelous mural projects in New York from here.

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Robots will kill(first) , Zio Ziegler(second)

The spots

In a city as spread out as New York, it can be hard to figure where to start this street-cred visual fiesta. While there’s no universal solution to this problem, here are 6 easily accessible spots.

1. Williamsburg

North 7th street
(Meeting point for the tour between Bedford and Driggs Avenue)
Williamsburg may have a lack of museums and skyscrapers, but it replaces them with a strong DIY spirit and alternative-looking street art. Catch two birds with one stone; get an overall glimpse from this ultra-trendy neighborhood and see the masterpieces at once. Head to the North 6th street or the South 5th street.
On Saturdays, you can also attend a two-hour long guided tour, Streetartwalk. Price is $20.

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The Younity Collective(first), how and nosm(second)

2. Graffiti Hall of Fame
106 St. Park & Ave
New York, NY 10029 East Harlem

Take a walk on the wild side of Manhattan and head to Harlem. Founded in 1980, visited by thousands, and marked by some gnarly good names like Skeme and Delta. The base purpose of this legendary hall was positive expression. Thirty years later, it still keeps going strong.
3. 5Pointz
Jackson Ave at Crane St
Long Island City, NY 11101
Hunters Point, Long Island City
Cordula already told you all about the legendary 5 Pointz but it’s definitely worth mentioning twice. Take a tour in this empty warehouse before it’s too late! It’s under a dead wish, and no one knows when it’s going to be demolished.

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5pointz, include work from Christiaan Nagel, Bis and Vor (first) Raúl Ruiz(second)

4. Greenpoint

From Greenpoint, you can find charming parks, vivacious avenues and leafy street rows. And all kinds of graffiti, sometimes in questionable amounts and places. It’s situated next to Williamsburg and easily reachable from Manhattan. Read more about Greenpoint from here.

5. Tuff City
A tattoo shop with large graffiti has wowed the visitors for 6 years now. Head to it’s backyard to see the visual beauties, in a massive scale. If the Bronx seems like a thousand miles away, check their website or a sister shop in Lower East Side.


DUMBO, neighborhood in Brooklyn, is turning fast into a vibrant mural scape. It’s located in the waterfront, just by the Brooklyn Bridge. The DUMBO art project has invited many international streets artist to paint the brick walls, including my favorite DAleast.

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Daleast(first), MOMO(second),yokoshimizu and Sagmeister& Walsh(third)


Do you know any other must-see spots in New York?


Text, Photos Rita Maria

Sources to the text, Time Out New York, New York Times.


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