Though we were hit with heavy rainfall this past weekend, the weather otherwise has been gorgeous, and the cooler fall temps and mostly-sunny skies make for the perfect conditions for a stroll around the neighborhood. For art lovers, the south side of Williamsburg serves as an ideal starting point, punctuated with things to do and a number of eye-catching murals both big and small.
Take in the creativity and vibrant culture of Southside Williamsburg and the Los Sures community during a curated, but certainly non-exhaustive, art walk of the below.
The Mona Lisa of Williamsburg
The first stop is one of Williamsburg’s most recognizable murals, the Mona Lisa of Williamsburg. At just 17 years old, photographer and Brooklyn student Steven Paul’s Scholastic Art and Writing Award-winning photo Lost Time was turned into a sprawling, four-story mural at the corner of Broadway and Bedford Avenues by Colossal Media in 2014. It’s remained ever since, now overlooking Pollyn, a sustainable plant shop and garden cafe overflowing with greenery.
Domino Sugar artifacts
While you might not be able to tell with the abundance of construction and near-constant development, the five-acre Domino Park contains over 60 original relics from the old Domino Sugar refinery, a complex opened in 1856, rebuilt in 1882 after being destroyed by a fire, and operated until 2004. Today, it’s been redeveloped into mixed-use buildings and businesses like the Williamsburg location of Roberta’s Pizza, but bits of history can still be found with the glowing Domino Sugar sign, syrup tanks, and industrial screw conveyors given new life throughout the waterfront on the East River.
Jason Naylor at Domino Dental
While the setting might not seem synonymous with art at first glance, a subtle splash of color from Brooklyn-based artist Jason Naylor adorns the back door of Dr. Lilya Horowitz’s Domino Dental practice at S 4th Street and Bedford Avenue. The office also maintains a blossoming garden to match (and likely to combat the bleak narratives often associated with visiting a dentist). Naylor has painted multiple murals throughout Williamsburg over the years and also has a studio nearby at 20 Grand Avenue.
Brooklyn mural at Sun and Air
One of the most popular Instagrammable picture spots is at 788 Driggs Avenue and the corner of S 4th Street. Painted onto the side of Sun and Air bike shop, the mural is simple enough, sporting the borough’s name with a shout out to Sun and Air and featuring earth-tone accents and details. It was painted by sign painter, lettering artist, and illustrator Caetano Calomino and typeface designer and visual artist Flavia Zimbardi in 2017.
Tucked away, but hard to ignore, the giant snail mural on S 3rd Street and Bedford Avenue was painted by Australian artist Mike Makatron and bears an impressive level of detailed realism combined with exaggerated elements (hence the size) and sprinklings that are quintessentially NYC.
Song to the Siren
Self-taught artist Naveen Shakil Khan has been painting striking black and white murals at the corner of S 2nd Street and Bedford Avenue since 2017. Particularly, Dil Haara (Heart Lost) in 2017, painted as an ode to Syrian refugees, and its follow-up, Song to the Siren, painted in 2021 after years of other graffiti and tags in the same spot.
MS 50 and Los Muralistas de El Puente
The last stop on the list combines neighborhood history, heritage, and art. For community school MS 50’s 100th birthday in 2016, students of the school — also known as the Pride of the Southside — worked with local art collective Los Muralistas de El Puente on a two-story mural spanning the school’s outer wall along Roebling Street near S 2nd. It’s as vibrant as it is educational, incorporating narratives from students’ parents and grandparents (many of whom were and have been longstanding fixtures in the neighborhood) and elements of not just the area’s Latino heritage, but also European, African-American, Asian, and Native American figures from local history, including abolitionist minister John D. Wells (who the school is named after).