Imagine this: you’re a tourist and visiting New York City. You like street art and want to experience some. But the problem is, New York’s confusing as hell–a maze of tangled, veiny streets, subway systems and street meat vendors–so you don’t know where to go and how to encounter that piece you’ve heard all about.
Fret no more, hypothetical visitors. We have you covered. Scroll below to find an alphabetical list of the street art locations you have to visit, including a few must-see commissioned public art pieces. It should make navigating the concrete jungle a little bit easier. Just keep in mind that this is street art, so some pieces might change or disappear on a day’s notice.
A – Astoria, Queens
Home to Welling Court, an area in Astoria, Queens, where the neighborhood and Ad Hoc Art group have since 2010 enlisted artists to use the community as its canvas, painting murals onto building walls.
B – The Bowery
A main thoroughfare that runs through southern Manhattan from Cooper Square to Worth Street. New York street art sites such as the Bowery Graffiti Wall at East Houston Street and Bowery and the Germania Bank Building can be found here.
C – Chelsea
Manhattan neighborhood west of 8th Avenue and north of 14th Street. The art gallery-populated area is buoyed by The Highline, a public park on an old, elevated railroad track that peers out to giant pieces like Kobra’s “V-J Day Mural” at 25th Street and 10th Avenue, among other works.
D – DUMBO, Brooklyn
Neighborhood in Brooklyn located between the Manhattan Bridge to the west and the Vinegar Hill neighborhood to the east. Includes the DUMBO Walls project along York and Pearl Streets where artists such as Shepard Fairey have painted the walls beneath the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
E – East Harlem
Or “El Barrio,” the area above 96th street on the eastern side of Central Park in Manhattan. Includes “Los Muros Hablan NYC” that highlight the neighborhood’s vibrant Hispanic heritage.
F – Five Points, Bushwick, Brooklyn
Not associated with the soon-to-be-demolished “5 Pointz” of Long Island City (see below). Located at the intersection of Scott Avenue, Troutman Street and St. Nicholas Avenue and curated by Joseph Ficalora, Bushwick’s Five Points showcases murals and graffiti along buildings’ walls at and around the intersection.
G – Governor’s Island
A 172-acre island wedged between Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn in New York Harbor. Hosts Figment NYC, which turns the island into a playground of interactive sculptures and installations.
H – Hunt’s Point, The Bronx
A neighborhood in the southeastern corner of the Bronx. Home to graffiti legends Tats Cru’s favorite facade to paint over on Drake Street and Spofford Avenue, where the collective has been doing its work since 2008.
I – Inwood
Northernmost Manhattan neighborhood, bordered by Harlem River to the north and Washington Heights to the south. Bronx native Eddie Pabellon leads Inwood’s graffiti scene, who manages a stable of graffiti artists to paint over enabling store owners’ building walls and storefronts every Saturday. See: the BP gas station at 3936 10th Avenue.
J – The J Train
See: O, “Looking ‘Outside'”; S, “Subway Stations”
K – Kenmare Street, L’asso
Kenmare Street: an east-west street located in the Manhattan neighborhood of SoHo; also the location of Italian pizzeria, L’asso, which has its outside walls adorned in a rotating cast of murals and paintings.
L – Long Island City, Queens
This Queens neighborhood houses the “Mecca” for street art and graffiti, 5 Pointz, a 200,000 square-foot warehouse where artists like Cope2 and Tats Cru have spray-painted its walls. But catch it soon: a judge recently removed a hold on demolition for the site, which developers want to convert into residential and commercial space.
Ed. Note: 5 Pointz is no longer: The building owner of 5 Pointz, Jerry Wolkoff, whitewashed the entire building on Nov. 19.
M – Manhattan
Main borough of New York City and spiritual center of the street art world; See: B, C, E, G, I, J, K, R, S, T, V, Z
N – North Brooklyn, Greenpoint
Northernmost Brooklyn neighborhood, bordered by Long Island City to the north and Williamsburg and East Williamsburg to the south and southeast. Also a hotbed of street art like its neighbors, which includes Zed1’s painting on the outside of the Eastern Metal Plumbing & Hardware Store.
O – Looking “Outside”
As in, look out the window of an above-ground subway car like those on the J/M/Z line–which run from Lower Manhattan through Brooklyn and Queens to view not only the city at large but also tagged buildings and fire escapes.
P – Pearl Street, Brooklyn
See: D, “DUMBO, Brooklyn”
Q – Queens
See: A, “Astoria, Queens”; L, “Long Island City, Queens”
R – Rivington Street
A street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan that includes numerous murals on gallery walls and building corners. Also the site (at the corner of Ludlow and Rivington, where Three Monkeys is located) where The Beastie Boys shot their iconic album artwork for Paul’s Boutique.
S – Subway Stations
Not just for New Yorkers who are impatiently waiting for their trains, some of the best street art can be found below the street, like Tom Otterness’ “Life Underground” statue at the 14th Street A, C, E station or Robert Wilson’s giant silk-screened glass brick mural, “My Coney Island Baby,” at the Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue station.
T – TriBeCa
A neighborhood in the southwestern corner of Lower Manhattan that has Gallery69, which features exhibitions by well-known graffiti artists like Fuzz One and Chino Malo.
U – Under the Bridge
See: D, “DUMBO, Brooklyn”
V – The East Village
Neighborhood in southeastern Manhattan, east of Greenwich Village, south of Gramercy and north of the Lower East Side. Considered the birthplace of punk rock, includes a huge mural to former Clash lead singer, Joe Strummer, at East 7th Street and St. Marks and ROA’s Ideal Glass murals off East 2nd Street and The Bowery.
W – Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Neighborhood in northern Brooklyn, bordered by Greenpoint to the north, East Williamsburg and Bushwick to the east and Ridgewood, Queens, to the south. A hotbed of “hipster” culture, Williamsburg features plenty of gorgeous street art, like Cernesto Wonder’s mural at 184 N. 8th Street and the paintings at the corner of Fillmore and Roebling.
Northernmost New York City borough; includes not only the Hunt’s Point spot but also Tuff City Styles, a tattoo parlor covered in graffiti in Belmont, and the “Double Dutch” and “Life On Dawson Street” fiberglass pieces on the side of a building off Dawson Street and Longwood Avenue in the South Bronx.
Y – Your Last Chance
As in, your last chance to see some of these works before demolition or painting over.
Z – Zuccotti Park
Formerly Liberty Plaza Park, located in Lower Manhattan near the 9/11 Memorial and the site of 2011’s Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. Features Mark di Suvero’s 70-foot “Joie de Vivre” and J. Seward Johnson’s “Double Check” sculptures.