Last Graffiti Landmark Of The Lower East Side Prepare For Demolition: Take A Final Bow, LES

By Jeff Vasishta October 4, 2016
Photo courtesy of Mass Appeal

From hip-hop to high rises, grit to glam. Nowhere is the stark contrast between the New York of old and new more pronounced than on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. The LES was the much storied home to a struggling pop stars like Madonna, Ramones and Lou Reed—to artists like Basquiat and hundreds of Latin hip-hop crews. The LES was once the site of riots where homeless and low income fought the police for the right to squat in abandoned buildings. The streets looked like a war zone and both life and rents were cheep. The streets rang out with new music and gunshots. But one of the few remaining landmarks of the LES’ gritty, artsy past was at 86 Delancey Street. A bright yellow brick building covered in graffiti and posters, it stood out like a woolly mammoth amid capuchin monkeys. Alas, it is no more.

Related: Gerritsen Beach – The Land That Time (And Gentrification) Forgot

A shimmery glass 12 story, 24-unit mixed-use building is set to take its place. Municipal workers have already painted over the existing two story building. According to Mass Appeal, though, the paint over by the City was illegal as the current owner David Escava never gave his personal permission—even though the previous owner did a decade ago. It’s all immaterial, now as on September 1, the structure received demolition permits.

Photo courtesy of NY Through the Lens

The site’s next building will contain a souped-up 29,437 square feet featuring retail space and residential units designed by SWA Architects although no completion date has been announced. Unfortunately, your days of takin’ a walk on the wild side are officially over.

Jeff Vasishta



Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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