“Paint the Town Red”: Little Italy and Soho Street Art

There are about 100 museums in New York City. I haven’t been to even half of them. Who needs museums when you have city streets?


Okay, that was harsh. I love museums. I also love wandering around the streets of Soho feeling like I’m on a Street Art Treasure Hunt. Color and Creativity mark the spots. I walk east on Broome Street, straddling the border of two neighborhoods: Soho and Little Italy. Just by looking down side streets, I saw art practically everywhere I turned.

NYC Street Art


Part of me hates that another artist would graffiti another’s art. Another part of me thinks it’s cool. This isn’t a museum, this work faces the elements, it’s not behind glass, it’s ever evolving. Someone could come by tomorrow and paint of the whole thing. There’s a risk, like that of live theatre, and that makes exciting.


What are the stories behind the murals? Which ones are guerrilla, rogue? Which are paid commissions? Who are the artists? There are no plaques next to art on the street. But a search for “Audrey Hepburn Mural Mulberry Street” will lead you right to artist Tristan Eaton’s website. It’s easy to recognize him as the same artist as “Big City of Dreams” above. He painted “Audrey” in 2013 for The Little Italy Street Project. More interesting though is that “Big City of Dreams” was paid for in part by Guess Inc.- yep, the jeans company! When I look back on it I see the logo of the triangle but wow, I never would’ve guessed this was an ad.

That makes you question everything, doesn’t it? Is the art everywhere I turn actually subliminal, brilliantly cover advertising?

For avocados and The Simpsons?


An internet search reveals no corporate affiliations to this “Hanksy” piece. Just that everyone and their feed has posted it on Instagram.

A tribute to the late David Bowie


along with a plea to visit thegraffitiroom.com which hey, sells sandwiches!

There’s really only one way I want to look at this: it is awesome that artists are getting paid to create art. That street art has a value these days that people understand. I’m okay with my art having an ulterior motive if it means I get to see more of it and that artists get to produce more of it.

The Little Italy Street Project brought art to the area, made it known for street art. Here’s another piece commissioned by them, by artist Beau Stanton.


Visit their website http://www.lisaprojectnyc.org/ they’ve commissioned new murals every year since 2012.

Many street artists have such a distinct style you don’t even need the plaque next to their art. You like what you see, you’re drawn to look them up on social media and because of that effort you remember them.


The work of Dasic Fernandez was immediately recognizable to me here. The colors, the peaceful or passive women who appear to be melting upward, I recognize this guy.


And I recognize this guy from my Instagram feed. Not a week goes by without this ironic take of this iconic “I ♥ NY”. “I HUMP NY” and “I FUCK NY” searches brought up nothing so I don’t know what the deal is behind this little fucker. If you do let me know!


If you really want a museum amount of street art, Bushwick in Brooklyn is another great neighborhood to check out. But if you find yourself in lower Manhattan and your eyes are longing for color and art, there’s so much street art to find in Soho and Little Italy.

About New York Cliche

NYC lifestyle blog by Mary Lane. Events, adventures, epic mistakes, dating, life, humor. A 20-something trying to make it (and make out) in the city of dreams.

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