Alphabet City has lost a long-standing piece of graffiti, what AOL News' Bill Morris calls "an exuberant 60-foot-long, 10-foot-tall mural celebrating street life, female beauty, tropical sunsets, the Puerto Rican flag and Al Sharpton."
It was on the corner of Avenue D and Fifth Street, on the side of the Lora Deli & Supermarket, and it had been there for a decade.
from Addisko's flickr
"Depending on your point of view," writes Morris, "New York City's 'quality of life' had just improved a notch, or the city had become a little bit more faceless and bland."
Photographers Jim and Karla Murray, authors of Broken Windows: Graffiti NYC, agree with the latter sentiment. Said Karla, "That wall (on the Lora Deli) beautified the neighborhood. It's free art in a neighborhood where a lot of people can't afford to go to a museum. You're taking away the flavor of the neighborhood and putting up a gray wall. And it'll probably get covered over with tags -- the kind of graffiti nobody wants."
It still lives, for now, in Google Maps' street view, partially obscured by a delivery truck from Fernando's Bakery. But in non-virtual reality, it's nothing more than a long, dull wall of gray brick.
Of course, we're seeing this trend all over town, in the buffing of the Roxy graffiti and Revs/Cost High Line pieces, and in the institutionalization of the Houston Wall.
Now the white-washing has come as far as Avenue D.
photo: Bill Morris
Said the Times in 2005, "The frenetic about-face that transformed Alphabet City from a drug-infested no man's land to the epicenter of downtown cool hasn't quite made it to Avenue D, and some predict it never will." But as Grieve has pointed out, Avenue D is fast getting glassed and sold off piece by piece.
The erasure of the Lora Deli graffiti is just more evidence that Avenue D has been targeted by the powers that be.