Last Banksy Piece Hauled Off in NYPD Van After Scuffle, Witnesses Say
LONG ISLAND CITY — That's all she wrote for Banksy.
The street artist's final piece in his monthlong New York City residency turned up floating in Queens on Thursday — and ended up being taken away in the back of a police van after a scuffle over the street art, witnesses said.
The final piece — "Banksy!" spelled out in inflatable block-letter balloons — appeared Thursday afternoon tied to the side of a vacant building at the corner of 35th Street and Borden Avenue in Long Island City, near the Long Island Expressway.
Witnesses at the scene said a huge crowd quickly gathered around the installation, and that two men were taken away by police after they scaled the side of the building with a ladder and tried to take off with the balloons.
Videos and photos posted on social media show officers breaking up a scuffle at the scene, taking two men away in handcuffs, and then loading the Banksy balloons into the back of a police van.
"The police arrested these guys and put [the balloons] in the truck," said one man who worked nearby, but declined to give his name. "I don't know why balloons should be [worth] so much money."
The NYPD could not immediately confirm details of the incident.
Banksy fan Alex Solether, 27, said he's sad to see the art project come to an end. The Los Angeles resident came to New York on vacation at the beginning of October and decided to extend his stay so he could track the Banksy pieces — and he says he's visited all of them.
"I've been coming to them every day," he said. "It's been fun, kind of like a scavenger hunt."
In his farewell post accompanying photos of the Queens piece on Thursday, Banksy posted a goodbye note — as well as a nod to Long Island City street art collective 5Pointz, who are fighting a developer's plan to demolish their headquarters to make way for luxury high-rises.
"And that's it. Thanks for your patience. It's been fun," Banksy wrote. "Save 5pointz. Bye."