NEW YORK STREET ART – graffiti, only smarter

Eyes 2


I spent a very interesting afternoon as the guest of Matt Levy of The Levys’ Unique New York! tours, as he led a group of Australian art students around the backblocks of Brooklyn and Queens, admiring the street art.

There is no shortage of graffiti of course, scrawled on every available bit of wall, but there are also many places where artists have been given permission to create large-scale public works.

Street artist ESPO was commissioned to enhance Macy’s massive Brooklyn parking garage with his cryptic messages.

Macy's carpark 

ESPO interviewed people outside the facility, and incorporated snippets of their vox pops in his work.

Take any Train, Life is a fight for Life, Meet me Downtown for a Few…



DOLK’s work may not be quite as witty as Banksy’s, but it’s well enough executed to invite comparisons. 



Bushwick, in the borough of Brooklyn, is definitely the place to go for most good street art packed into a few blocks.



I loved the work of Belgian artist ROA at the Sydney Outpost show. Here’s what he’s contributed to Bushwick.




If anyone knows who the creators of the following pieces are, let me know and I’ll acknowledge them.




.Wild Things


Thanks Matt, for identifying the works above. The teeth are by Sweet Toof, the wheatpaste high heel by Elle.

Matt is often asked, ‘What’s the difference between graffiti and street art?’

His quick answer, ‘Street art is graffiti with a college education.’

More seriously, graffiti is an artist saying, ‘Look at me’. Effective street artists invite us to look, not at themselves, but at the world and to see it in a different way. 

Thanks for the great guiding, Matt. You’re a work of art yourself.


The Levys’ Unique New York! run regular tours in Manhattan and the boroughs, and can schedule tours for special interest groups.

For more information, see


Filed under Art

5 responses to “NEW YORK STREET ART – graffiti, only smarter

  1. Because I love your travel posts, I nominated your blog for the ABC Award: Have a nice day, and please keep posting beautiful pictures of your journeys 🙂

  2. The mouths and teeth in your first photo after you asked about the artists look like Sweet Toof but I haven’t checked the location to make sure of it. Some nice pieces you got here!

  3. Public art works like this are great, and help mundane structures such as parking garages come to life and add to the landscape rather than just be concrete eyesores.

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