Love art but looking for something different to do in New York City? Of course, there are amazing art museums in the city – the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Art Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Bronx Art Museum, and the Queens Museum, just to name a few. But New York City is also known for amazing street art and graffiti, and murals are spread across the city. If you appreciate public art in its many forms, a walking tour of of some the city’s murals is a great way to see part of the city for a couple of hours (or more, depending on your interests).
One place where you can view a huge number of murals within a relatively small area is Astoria, Queens. I recently toured the murals of the Welling Court Mural Project, which is located in Astoria. The Welling Court Murals Project has been going on for six years, and each year it gets bigger and bigger – this last year’s project led to the creation of more than 130 murals! It is really kind of magical. Each time I came to an intersection, I could look around the corner and see more murals! There are murals on the sides of buildings, murals in the alleys, even a small poster/mural on the side of a dumpster! Some murals have political messages; others very much come from the graffiti tradition. And the murals encompass a variety of styles guaranteed to satisfy any art lover.
Here are some of my favorites. This first one is a beautiful, powerful mural that focuses on the plight of Yazidi women, enslaved, tortured, and killed by the Islamic State in the Middle East.
This next mural is very different, a colorful one by street artist Andy Golub. His work is distinctive – so it’s easy to recognize his work no matter where it’s found. In fact, if you look closely as you walk through Welling Court, you will see another of his murals (but in a different set of colors). See if you can find it!
There’s this beautiful mural by Dasic Fernández.
And this geometric work by Jonathan Villoch, who goes by the street name Depoe (Instagram account @depoh).
Here’s another colorful, fun piece. It’s a collaboration by Australian street artist Crisp, who is currently based in Bogotá, Colombia, and Praxis, a street artist who works in both New York City and Bogotá.
Here’s a view with a line of murals, one after another.
Here’s an example of one of the graffiti murals. This one is by street artist Isoking.
There’s also this Marilyn Monroe mural, painted by street artist JC.
Street artist Sinned painted this unique mural.
And this final one, painted on a gate by Bishop203, also known on Instagram as @lowbrow_bk – it’s bright color will capture your attention. (There’s another one as well, located close by. You won’t be able to miss it!)
There are so many murals at Welling Court that I could only feature some of them here. If you are interested in seeing more, I’ve posted a lot more photos here on Instagram. You should also remember that street art is usually temporary. Because the murals are outside, they are weathered by the rain and snow. Eventually, most will likely be painted over with new murals – which means that you probably have a limited time to see many of the murals I’ve included here, but there will be more to view in the future. In fact, that’s one of the things that makes street art exciting. You can go back again and again, and yet see something new each time!
If you’re planning to tour the Welling Court Mural Project, make sure that you wear comfortable shoes. The murals are in a concentrated area, but you will be walking quite a bit. The good news is you’ll be so caught up looking at the murals that you won’t even notice how much you’re walking!
If you are traveling by public transportation (my preference, as you know!) you can take the N or Q train to 30th Avenue in Astoria. Although these lines start out underground in Manhattan, they move above ground once they’re in Queens, so it gives you another perspective of the city. From the train station, walk northwest on 30th Avenue (the cross streets will get smaller as you go). When you have walked about 10 minutes, you will start seeing murals in the distance. The more that you walk around the neighborhood, the more murals you will discover!