As an artist and beer aficionado, I found that it is imperative that somebody guide the good people of New York in a unique way. For those of you who love experimenting with new beers and breweries and want to truly see the city, this tour will be what you’ve been looking for.
Here’s your perfect path through NYC for all things Banksy and Beer.
So basically all of Banksy’s work that was done during his 2013 residency in NY can be found in either Brooklyn, Manhattan, or Queens. We won’t make a stop at every single one, but it seems only appropriate that the tour begins on 25th street, tucked between 10th and 11th Avenue.
Normally I Write Like This
“This is My New York Accent” is what can be read on the wall, and is the perfect statement to make before touring through three boroughs of New York looking at Banksy work and drinking beer. A simple piece from Banksy, but undoubtedly was meant to represent the gateway into his other NY murals. Although this may seem like the first piece he would have done in New York, he completed this on Day 2.
Other Half Brewing
Now that you’ve officially started off, make your way right up Hamilton Avenue and to 195 Centre Street. Now this is arguably the top Brewery on this tour: Other Half Brewing. With so much good beer coming out of New York, there is a good bit of competition. But Other Half keeps it genuine.
Collaborating with local breweries and beyond, these guys have always kept a vision to brew beer that people always want to come back for, and to associate themselves with other like minded brewers. The result? Kickass beer.
Whether you’re enjoying one of their legendary Imperial IPAs or taking it easy with a Pilsner, just know you’re getting quality beer with a cool name and a trippy label.
I Heart (Balloon) You
Next stop is a quick 10 (or so, it’s New York) minute Uber to Van Brunt & King Street. Ahh, the battle to survive a broken heart. An iconic concept in such a simple design, this piece is a popular piece for Banksy fans and stands strong among his New York works as the 7th piece in his NY series.
Unfortunately, as is the case with multiple Banksy NY works, this one has since been vandalized (an ironic statement, I know) with the scrawling of other New York-based graffiti artist vying for the limelight.
Time for another beer spot. Head along Van Brunt and back down Hamilton to 101 Luquer Street. Folksbier is a newer brewery on the scene, a truly homegrown experiment that uses rye-dominant recipes to brew awesome German beers. Now the go-to spot for experimental beer junkies, Folksbier shoots for quality drinkability and does a good job of it.
On the way towards the next Banksy Mural, there is another brewery that’s worth the stop. Located about 10 minutes east on 333 Douglass Street, Threes Brewing is a must, and a perfect follow-up to Folksbier.
Their house brews focus again on easy drinking German styles and farmhouse ales as well as more hop forward beers, but this location boasts a little more. Home to one of the best bottle shops in the city as well as a full-service restaurant (called the Meat Hook), this stop has it all. A great stop on the tour to hit around lunchtime, before moving further east to the next Banksy piece.
This next piece is about 30 minutes east to 274 Bradford Street. Although it’s simple and small, it’s just hilarious. The 10th piece in his New York series, he kept it simple as he often does, and decided to place a small beaver next to a fallen No Parking sign, making it appear as though it knocked the sign over. Again, it is the simplicity of his work that speaks volumes.
It is almost time to head over into Queens, but before we do you gotta head over to 79 N 11th Street and check out Brooklyn Brewery. Now a staple of the city, Brooklyn has been around since ’87 and is still brewing great beer.
This location has a rich history and a sort of ‘Jack of all Trades’ brewery for the area with almost any style available with the iconic script B label. Take a tour, drink some brews, and even check out their site, where they outline some of the best beer bars and music venues in Brooklyn’s Northside.
The first of two stops in Queens for this tour is a must see of Banksy’s. Located on a white warehouse building on 38th Avenue & 69th St, this now-iconic New York work quotes a famous line from the movie Gladiator. While the meaning can be interpreted many ways, it tends to poke at the idea that sometimes the things we do are easily forgotten or removed.
LIC Beer Project
Before heading through the tunnel to Manhattan, you’ve got to check out LIC Beer Project at 39-28 23rd Street in Long Island City. Known for their incredible farmhouse ales and sours, this brewery is a haven for experimental craft beer lovers.
They also brew a number of more hop forward beers as well and collaborate with other heavy hitters and the result is always magic. These guys–as well as Other Half–top my list of beer stops for this tour. As a recommendation, if you can get a hold of a bottle of Dulcinea while here, be sure to grab it. This Oak-barrel aged sour ale will be worth your time.
You Complete Me
Time for Manhattan and the Banksy Finale! Continuing through the Queens Midtown Tunnel, the next stop is to see a peeing dog. Titled “You Complete Me”, you won’t often get the opportunity to photograph this without someone’s dog in front of it posing for a picture.
It is located in Midtown on West 24th & 6th ave, and was completed on Day 3 of his residency.
Gradually moving towards Lower Manhattan, this unique Banksy piece at 7th Street & Cooper Square is a great stop on the tour. Again a simple work with an amazing concept and location. With this work, what you see is what you get. This construction site housed the perfect setup for Banksy’s vision of an urban confessional. There is also a 1-800 number accompanying the piece that can be dialed to hear more about the work and its inspiration.
Moving into some much more politically poignant work, the next Banksy installation at 159 Ludlow Street is powerful, to say the least. Depicting horses in night vision goggles and a car surrounded by oil barrels, this is Banksy’s commentary on the Iraq war.
Like the previous work as well as many of Banksy’s other pieces, this one features a 1-800 number that when dialed, gives more information about the installation. This particular one forwards to an audio recording of a 2007 air strike that killed 2 children and a Reuters journalist.
Not usually one for such a forward political presence, this powerful work is a unique and iconic addition to his vast urban portfolio. Banksy completed this on Day 9 of his residency.
The Street is in Play
A quick 10-minute walk down Ludlow over to 18 Allen Street will place you at Banksy’s first installation during his time in New York. It depicts one boy helping another retrieve a spray paint bottle from out of the ‘Graffiti is a Crime’ sign.
A satirical poke at the urban art form, a form of expression that is indeed a crime, however, is ironically marveled at by the public and not often enforced. With only two other Banksy stops left, I felt that this one needed to be a stop.
Honorable Mention: In Remembrance Of
A fitting title for a controversial piece. The twin towers standing tall, with an orange flower ‘explosion’ on the left tower. Located in Tribeca on Staple Street near the corner of Jay Street. Remembering a horrible day vividly, but with a flower as a means of paying respect. Was this Banksy’s intention? Alas, it is art after all.
The piece was painted over shortly after it was completed, but not before it drew crowds and opinions as I’m sure it was intended to do. Regardless of your belief of its meaning, the site alone is worth mentioning while in Manhattan, and even worth stopping by before we head back full circle into Brooklyn.
And the finale has arrived. I tried to make this tour a huge circle through three boroughs, stopping at the more iconic murals in his New York collection. This final stop is at 2812 Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island.
The depiction is of a robot spray painting what looks like a barcode on the site of a convenience store. I don’t know what it is about this 28th piece in his series, but I’m not alone when I say that it is arguably my favorite.
It’s slightly ambiguous, as it’s unclear whether it is a barcode or just a futuristic symbol. If it is a barcode, is he putting a ‘price’ on something? Questions, questions, and more questions. But I thought it to be the best ending to a Banksy Bonanza… but not before one last beer stop.
Coney Island Brewing Company
A quick walk down Stillwell with a right onto Surf Ave will get you to Coney Island Brewing Company. The official final stop on the tour! This brewery has a great atmosphere, brewery tours, and great beers with festive names. Whether it be a SuperFreak, Kettle Corn Cream Ale, or Cotton Candy Kolsch, Coney Island is a great place to check out while by the water.
And that about does it! There are a million ways to view Banksy works or drink beer around New York, but I hope that this thought-out path through some iconic NY art and beer will appeal to all your senses. Happy hunting, and cheers!