During Hurricane Sandy, when subway stations were submerged and half the city was plunged into darkness, one of the only ways out of lower Manhattan was walking over the Williamsburg Bridge. A couple of times that week, I grabbed a torch and joined the mass exodus to reach friends’ warm apartments on the other side. It was very dark, very quiet and very eerie.
With so many more people crossing that week, the bridge suddenly started displaying new artworks – tags, graphics or stencils from street artists protected from cops by the darkness.
I’ve barely walked over the bridge since, but on Thursday, I went on a Saddleshoe Tour to check out the tags – and many newer pieces – dotted across the walkway. (You might remember that I took a great tour with the group in Chelsea earlier this year.)
We met in the Lower East Side and oohed and ahhed at a few pieces by artists including Invader (the pixelated Snow White, below) and Logan Hicks (the woman) before heading to the bridge:
On the bridge, our guide Rhiannon was excited to see so many tags – but for me, someone who doesn’t really know the artists’ names, it lacked a bit of variety. Still, I was
impressed horrified by the lengths the artists went to in order to put their names or imagery far out of reach – from squeezing past trains to dangling from roofs.
Rhiannon said you started learning who was friends with whom in real life because you often see their tags together.
We spotted some of my favorites on the bridge, like Paul Richard, who makes beautiful self portraits by drizzling paint on the ground.
Best of all – we got a preview of the works we’d be seeing once we got off the bridge on the Brooklyn side. I loved this huge piece by Icy and Sot:
The walk over the bridge is always worth it – especially if you fancy checking out the vibrant neighborhoods on either side. But as you head over, have a closer look around you and see if you can pick out any fun emblems (my favorite was the loo roll, above). Once you notice them, you’ll start seeing them all over the city.
Aside from the larger-scale works, which I loved, the most interesting part of the tour was remembering shuffling over the bridge during that cold October week. While it was a tough time for so many people, I also liked the thought of others using it for their
For more info on Saddleshoe Tours, see their website.