Two workers put plexiglass over the Banksy painting on 79th street just off of Broadway late last night, just in time to protect the piece from a vandal calling himself Ronan who tagged over it: “Let the Streets Decide.” (Actually, since New York City authorities consider Banksy a vandal, maybe we should say “another vandal” tagged over it.) The men who put up the glass were apparently from Zabar’s, multiple people told us; the family owns the building.
British artist Banksy may be delighting average New Yorkers as he spends the month putting up graffiti art and installations in neighborhoods throughout the city. But some other graffiti artists have not been very welcoming. Several of Banksy’s pieces have been tagged over and defaced. Sadly, vandals have even broken through protective glass to get to Banksy paintings in the past.
Graffiti has always involved battles among rival taggers who often write over each other’s work. Banksy’s paintings, which are often sweet and subversive as opposed to boastful, haven’t been immune to the turf battle. Banksy said recently that “I used to think other graffiti writers hated me because I used stencils, but they just hate me.”
It ain’t easy being the effete operator in a rough-and-tumble world, is it?
Check out our updated gallery of Upper West Siders hanging out with Banksy’s “Hammer Boy.”
Update: Looks like people have already washed off the defacing graffiti.