CONEY ISLAND (PIX11) – Who would have thought an anonymous artist could provide not just an emotional lift, but a potential financial boost to the owners of nondescript building in Coney Island?
Anthony Ruocco never thought he’d be in a position to answer that question.
You see, it’s been a rough last couple of years for his family.
On Monday, Anthony seemed to be having as he held court in front of the wall of the building originally owned by his father. The smile on his face was from a recent piece of graffiti done by celeb street artist Banksy, who has been thrilling NYC building owners with his Midas touch.
It hit the family hard when Anthony Sr. passed away in the fall of 2011. Almost exactly a year later, on October 2012, Superstorm Sandy blew into town.
“We had a store here. A convenience store which was sort of struggling along and we got wiped out with Sandy,” said Ruocco.
The building has been vacant ever since, so the frenzied scene in front of Banksy’s Robot was, for the Ruoccos, a beautiful sight.
Anthony says he wasn’t familiar with the artist or his work until it appeared on the wall before dawn Monday morning.
The dedicated crowd formed just as quickly as the artwork.
“I’ve been chasing him all over. I left work to go see it. So it’s just something. It’s great,” said electrician Mike Munnely.
Other onlookers quickly informed Anthony this latest Banksy piece like the others that have popped up all across New York City this month could be worth a lot of money.
Anthony says he hired a company to install the steel door based not just on hype – but a leap of faith.
“Maybe it’s a blessing. My father passed away a little over a year ago. And maybe he’s shining his light on us,” said Ruocco.