Take it to the Bank-sy: street artist’s extracted NYC piece to fetch $400,000

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BROOKLYN (PIX11) – He sent fans on a month long scavenger hunt around New York City debuting a different work almost everyday. But during the October trip, street artist Banksy left his heart in Red Hook.

Now an art collector who ripped that heart from the walls of Red Hook, is hoping to cash in.

Banksy called the work “the battle to survive a broken heart” on his website.

The image, of a heart shaped balloon on a string held together by Band-Aids, brought fans from all over the city to Van Brunt Street and King Street in Red Hook.

But now Stephan Keszler, the owner of Keszler Gallery in Manhattan and Southampton, is putting it up for auction.

Keszler paid the building owner an undisclosed amount of money for the 1,500 pound slab of cement.

The starting bid for the bandaged heart: $200,000.  The final bid is expected to be anywhere between $400,000 and $600,000.

“It’s just weird that a piece of a wall from our neighborhood could be worth, starting at $200,000,” said waitress Brandy Metaxas who works at the Hope and Anchor restaurant on Van Brunt Street, a few block from where the heart was once displayed.

But some who live in the neighborhood say the Banksy is nothing more than vandalism, and they were happy to see it go.

“I just thought it was one of these idiots putting things up on the walls like over here,” said Red Hook resident Ralph Lopez.  “They put up signs ‘art is not a crime’.  No. Graffitti is a crime.”

The auction takes place Tuesday night at Fine Art Auctions Miami and features two other works by Banksy.