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Street Art and Graffiti: Bright and Early in Brooklyn [Photos]

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How would you spend a cold December morning in New York City, when the biting wind sears your face and a blinding sunshine tears up your eyes, the numbness in your fingers softened only by hand warmers shoved deep in your pockets?

I spent it capturing street art in Brooklyn, walking along the windswept coastal Red Hook district, the splashes of color and emotion and statement calling to me, forcing my frigid fingers to function in spite of themselves.

Red Hook, Brooklyn

Red Hook, Brooklyn

Red Hook Brooklyn

Red Hook, Brooklyn

Red Hook, Brooklyn

Red Hook, Brooklyn

Red Hook, Brooklyn

Red Hook, Brooklyn

Red Hook, Brooklyn

There’s something about street art that has attracted me since it first began developing as an art form. Walking around Red Hook on a bright winter morning was the best way to capture this kind of art. It spells freedom, breaking out of accepted moulds. It is temporary, more about living in the day, because it can be painted over in an instant, defaced, or enhanced.

Anything goes – until it is gone. You can’t take it with you. Or exhibit it. But you can build a community around it and make a statement with it.

What do you think – was the effort worth it?

There was so much to see I stopped feeling the cold.

Sheila Archer of Brooklyn Photo Adventures invited me on this photo walk, one of several photographic walks she organizes for small groups in New York. And if you’re interested in street art, do you know the difference between it and graffiti?


  1. Lizzie on December 16, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    I think graffiti is always worth it – it tells us so much about a place. More so, often, than permanent works of art because, like you say, it is so temporary and in the moment.

    • Leyla Giray Alyanak on December 16, 2013 at 8:46 pm

      I absolutely agree – and part of the excitement is not knowing whether it will even be there tomorrow – or what will have taken its place.

  2. Shereen on December 20, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    I’ve always loved street art and graffiti. Specifically where in Brooklyn was this? I’d love to check it out in person. Love the farming mural!

    • Leyla Giray Alyanak on December 20, 2013 at 10:26 pm

      The area is called Red Hook, still an industrial area and the murals are all within a block or two of the waterfront. I can’t tell you which streets, exactly, but the farmer mural was right next to a chocolate factory (and a whisky distillery) called Cacao Prieto. Hope this helps!

  3. Esteban on December 24, 2013 at 1:31 am

    Thank you for posting my work. The very last photo, the colorful piece of a woman in a bar, is mine. My name is Esteban del Valle and you can see more of my work at EstebandelValle.com or follow me on instagram @EstebandelValle112. The piece of the exploding cubes with a face is by my good friend Chris Soria. You can see more of his work at Chrissoria.com

    • Leyla Giray Alyanak on January 7, 2014 at 7:43 am

      Thanks Esteban – your work is amazing and thank you for dropping by and telling us where we can find more. I hope it will remain long enough for many more to see.

  4. Jasmine Brown on January 30, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    I think street art is the most underrated. I have seen some of them and for me some of them are really wonderful and it is not only New York who is “suffering” from these graffiti. Many upscale states also have them. It’s better for the city to allocate places where street artists can express themselves. Creativity should be encouraged not discouraged.

    • Leyla Giray Alyanak on January 30, 2014 at 12:16 pm

      I couldn’t agree more! Yesterday on my Facebook page (@womenontheroad) I shared a post by my friend Bianca on street art in Latin America – you should have a look. Those designs are brilliant, creative and so alive!

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