Best NYC Street Art to Run By
Whether you’re visiting NYC or live in the city and want to see something new on your run, you’re in luck because NYC street art is incredible! From sweeping murals painting by the world’s top street artists to colorful training grounds for the most creative up and coming artists, NYC streets have it all. You just have to know where to go to see NYC’s best graffiti spots. Here is a rundown, based on my four years of creating Runstreet Art Runs in NYC, and living — and running — all over Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.
Bushwick, Brooklyn. Bushwick has the largest collection of murals in NYC, at the Bushwick Collective. The Bushwick Collective includes almost 100 blocks of incredible murals, including massive, whole building-sized street art. The urban art project attracts tourists from all over the world who come to see the colorful walls in the industrial neighborhood turned hipster mecca. Every year, the Bushwick Collective holds a block party, where artists from around the world come to paint new murals amidst the backdrop of beer, festivities, and spray paint galore. Bushwick Collective is so massive, that you can find it on Google maps for directions (Take the L train to Jefferson stop in Brooklyn if you are not running there). Bushwick also offers a canvas for more local street artists at JMZ Walls. This project, which runs along the JMZ train line along Broadway in Brooklyn, will also blow your mind with the level of talent displayed by artists such as Bk Foxx.
Lower East Side & East Village, Manhattan. The Lower East Side and neighboring areas have a high concentration of street art, with some of Manhattan’s most prominent urban art spots, including the Bowery Graffiti Wall and First Street Green Art Park, the only legal graffiti park in the city of NYC. The Bowery Wall is a New York City public art institution, ever since famed artist Keith Haring painted a mural there and gifted it to the community of NYC. Since then, featured artists who have painted the massive wall include Banksy, Tristan Eaton, Queen Andrea, Tats Cru and many others from around the globe. LES and East Village mural projects such as 100 Gates Project and The New Allen add even more beautiful walls by local artists to the neighborhood.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Williamsburg is home to many expansive murals, including street art along Bedford Avenue by international artists such as Eduardo Kobra, Brolga, and more. The new Domino Park also includes a beautiful neighborhood mural Groundswell mural project depicting the history of the adjacent Domino Sugar factory and the local community working in the factory.
Astoria, Queens. Queens, the most diverse place in the world, is home to the legendary 5 Points graffiti mecca, now gone but never forgotten. Welling Court Mural Project is a stunning street art destination that just celebrated its tenth year. Every June, artists from around the world as well as local NYC street artists come to paint hundreds of murals at Welling Court Mural Project. The art often has an activism theme and there is a strong community, non-commercial vibe to Welling Court.
There are so many stunning street art pieces in NYC that there will definitely be a sequel to this post! Where are your favorite murals in NYC? And your favorite NYC street artists?
Marnie Kunz is a RRCA-certified running coach and the creator of Runstreet Art Runs, which bring together communities through running and street art. She is a Brooklyn resident, running coach and writer. She enjoys traveling, art, and eating messily. You can follow her running and events at @Runstreet Instagram and Runstreet Facebook.
Runstreet Art Run events