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Controversial Banksy Bronx Mural to be Saved
Editorial / Banksy

Controversial Banksy Bronx Mural to be Saved

16 Oct 2023

Controversial Banksy Bronx Mural to be Saved

A decade ago in 2013, Banksy's month-long 'Better Out Than In' series captivated New Yorkers by revealing a new outdoor artwork daily in undisclosed locations across the city. Most of these works have since disappeared, but one of the last two, Ghetto 4 Life, is set to be preserved amidst building demolition plans.

"Ghetto 4 Life" initially stirred controversy in 2013; local Melrose residents complained about the offensive phrase, finding the term "ghetto" a negative stereotype about the borough. This mural, which depicts a ‘posh’ boy spray painting the phrase "Ghetto 4 Life" on a South Bronx wall while his butler holds a silver tray carrying spray paint cans, is located on the corner of Elton Avenue and 153rd Street. Recent sentiments have softened, with locals now considering the work a historical piece of the Bronx's past.

The building's owner, David Damaghi, and a demolition engineer plan to save the now-infamous (and once controversial) artwork, despite the building's scheduled demolition to make way for a charter school. Damaghi told the The New York Daily, “We want to remove it, take it away and store it”. The future destination, whether a museum, gallery, or private buyer, remains uncertain. On the initial evening, the owner had already taken steps to protect the mural. Given the prevalence of graffiti artists defacing Banksy's creations across the city, security personnel were promptly hired to safeguard the artwork. They went to great lengths, concealing the mural behind improvised curtains fashioned from bed sheets. Within two days, additional security measures were implemented, including the installation of a gate and plexiglass, aimed at shielding the artwork from potential vandalism and harm.

The only remaining Banksy artwork is known as the "Zabar Banksy" (or 'Hammer Boy'). This can be found on the south wall of Designer Shoe Warehouse, located at the intersection of 79th Street and Broadway, and was first spotted on the tan brick wall of a shoe store on October 20, 2013.

Banksy 'Hammer Boy' in NY.
Banksy's 'Hammer Boy' in NY. Courtesy of Business Insider.

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