WILLETTS POINT (PIX11) — It was on display for less than 24 hours and now a replica of the Great Sphinx erected in Willetts Point by street artist Banksy was seized by thieves — in broad daylight.
Over the past few weeks Banksy has both mesmerized and annoyed locals, unveiling a new piece of artwork every day in the month of October — somewhere in the five boroughs.
It’s part of his so-called residency in New York City which almost always draws a big crowd and sparks commotion.
On Tuesday, Willetts Point became the lucky community to host his latest piece for just a few hours until the brazen theft.
The 1/36 scale of the Great Sphinx of Giza was propped up at the intersection of 127th Street and 35th Avenue, just a gaze away from nearby Citi Field.
At about 4:30 p.m. bystanders who posted to Instagram and Twitter, witnessed a truck pulling near the formation of stones where three unidentified men who “couldn’t speak English” dismantled it and loaded it into a truck.
And its because of the capitalistic — and some would say scumbag — way some people are, is why we can’t ever have anything nice.
Earlier in the day, the Great Sphinx of Willetts Point attracted a large crowd, bringing many fans and curious locals together.
“I think this stone is monumental, we’re looking at the modern day Picasso,” Bobby Fisher, a Banksy fan who lives nearby, told PIX11 News.
While many were pondering by the how and why of it all, residents like Martha Gualotuna couldn’t sing Banksy’s praises enough – citing the ongoing controversy surrounding the area.
“I want everyone to come and see this [art piece] and then I want them to see the reality of our lives and what we have to work in and live in,” she said, amid onlookers and curious spectators. “As little as it is, the city wants to take it away.”
The City Council recently approved a $3 billion re-development plan for the community which includes a parking lot and a shopping center. It’s a plan many advocates and local businesses aren’t happy about because they say it will toss them to the curb.
Local tire shop owner John Yaloz is happy and grateful that Banksy chose the location to display his work because its bringing all the right publicity to the area.
“It’s not fair what they are doing… it’s corrupt and I’m glad Banksy did this work here because the fact that we are talking about it will start a conversation.”
“Thank you Banksy!”