New Yorkers charging tourists $20 to view new Banksy graffiti work

Banksy's beaver graffiti is adorable, but is it worth $20 and a mouthful of abuse from a group of men who have covered it up with cardboard?

Liam O'Brien
Friday 18 October 2013 11:35

A group of men have allegedly begun charging up to $20 (£12.50) to view Banksy's latest graffiti artwork in East New York.

Just ten days into his month-long residency on the streets of New York, Banksy's works have been ruined by jealous rivals, sprayed with artless tags and even completely painted over.

Click here to see Banksy's new works

But his latest piece, which shows a small beaver gnawing on a felled 'No Parking' sign, has been covered up with cardboard by enterprising locals who are now charging Banksy-loving visitors money to see it.

Instagram and YouTube clips appeared to show at least three individuals asking for money from snap-happy visitors to their neighbourhood.

One man was filmed ranting: "I could step on this s*** it don't matter to me. I could break this and go and keep doing what I've been doing all day.

"It's worth more to you that this is here than to me. If you want to take a picture it's going to cost something or the s*** could just get broke.

"But before we ruin it, we'd rather leave it so you all can take a picture. I could throw the bike at the wall and that s*** will come off."

In addition to threatening to break the artwork, he allegedly tells the individuals gathered to see the work: "I'll snap your f****** phones."

In a post on her Instagram account, playwright Mallery Avidon said the charge to see the work was $20, though the amateur curators later uncovered the beaver when the "NYPD rolled up wanting to take photos".

An eyewitness told Gothamist that the people who were charging for the work were angry that the crowds flocking to their neighbourhood would never venture there if not for the Banksy.

"The general feeling is that nobody cares about this neighbourhood and now that they have something of value they should benefit," the eyewitness claimed.

"They didn't charge me because one guy has seen me around. They reported that several yellow cabs have pulled up with people wanting to get a look.

"They are firm about the $20 fee and tried to warn me when I left about the crews from the area projects robbing people who look like they don't belong.

"They wouldn't let me take a picture, but were happy to let me take a nice long look while blocking some others who had not paid."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in