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Sunnyside Mural or Graffiti?

Dec. 8, 2010 By Christian Murray

Last month, a mural popped up on the NW corner of 40th Street and 47th Avenue, on the side wall of a real estate agency.

The artists responsible for the work belong to a group named Smart Crew USA, a NYC-based team of artists/vandals that are known for their art and tagging throughout the city. Most of the members of Smart Crew are from Queens.

A representative of Smart Crew said in an e-mail that they did this “as a favor to a friend” who owns a business nearby. The business owner had been complaining about the wall being tagged, according to the e-mail.

“We just put up something that most people would consider ‘nicer’ …to deter the less visually-appealing graffiti.”

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John Bruno

The idea was copied from a wall mural originally created in 1988 on the brick wall of Sunnyside gardens pizza place – now Donatos Pizza 60-22 39th Avenue Woodside, NY 11377. It was there for many years but was lost when the restaurant removed the wall when the expanded. I should know, I painted it. I wish I could upload photos. Email me and I’ll forward them.


John- i would love see the ‘88 original! Also, have you seen the new show Sunnyside that will air on 9/26? The show poster has this art as the main showcase.


As an artist, I think any building owner has the right to have whatever they want on their property. It’s nice, but even if DaVinci showed up to paint the Mona Lisa I have to wonder if the owner gave permission to do this.

If so, great.
If not, shame on them.

Private property rights have to be respected, regardless if you’re a hippie, tea partyer, left, right, whatever.

Time's Up

“Screw you. Graffiti is art”

Now why you wanna go and say that love, huh?

Why can’t you just chime in without resorting to such nastiness? The second sentence was fine; the first was completely unnecessary.
Mind you, I am taking no position on the topic, and I have no relation to the person you’re responding to.

But this is a good and necessary local news site, so let’s keep it cool. Be nice.

Anton LaVey

Always amusing and predictable how those who are so definitive on their pronouncements on what is or isn’t “art” don’t actually create any themselves, or even evince much knowledge on the subject.

Luke Adams

not art, its graffiti!
It is done well but its still graffiti. I saw it and did not like it but if the owners of the building like it, let it be!

Vitamin See

There is a big difference between a graffiti writer vs. some kids who are out writing on stuff to just rebel/cause trouble (as most youths do.) The funny thing is that most graffiti writers (that do the nicer stuff) get their start this way. It’s kind of like a catch 22 of sorts.

For the most part, unless there is some kind of existing problems between Smart Crew and other graffiti writers, I think that this piece will be respected. I also think that it’s funny how people consider anything done w/ spray paint “graffiti”. This particular work would definitely be considered a public mural.


I would love to have more of these in the neighborhood! It is quite nice! Of course, painting a mural doesn’t mean people won’t vandalize it. Look at the children’s mural for the school over on 46th St/47th Ave. Someone painted lines through it.

I love street art. “ART” being the important term. I would welcome Street Crew back!!!


Happy to say I get to see this everyday. Looks amazing, and we need more great looking murals like this in Sunnyside.


Looks great and representative of the neighborhood. I’ll be passing by to check it out in person.


Of course this is a mural and not graffiti. Not everything painted on the side of a wall is considered graffiti.


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