Zabar’s takes responsibility for the statue because it is on the wall of a Zabar family building.
The iconic savory store, on 80th and Broadway, put plexiglass over the statue to preserve it just hours after it was created in 2013, General Manager Scott Goldshine told The Rag in a phone interview.
Two days later, Andrew made another change. Pasted on the side of the piece was a note to the community that read: “Hi UWS friends, please know that Zabar has declined repeated requests to help clean and protect this Banksy. I have bought my own cleaning supplies. we keep it fresh. Thank you! – Your neighbor Andreas”.
When The Rag asked several nearby businesses, including Sam who runs the halal cart on the corner of 79th and Broadway six days a week, no one had seen the man who put his name on the play. A 79th Street Pharmacy employee speculated that Andrew was arriving late at night.
When the Rag Goldshine asked about the Bansky, he first learned that someone had damaged it. It’s been vandalized a few times before, he said, and each time Zabar has cleaned it up.
Despite Andrew’s claim that he had made “repeated requests” to clean the Banksy, Goldshine said he has not received any recent complaints about the condition of the Banksy, which Zabar usually cleans about every six months. “If it needs cleaning, we’ll clean it, which we normally do,” he said. “We always investigate every complaint we get.”
The elusive British artist — and technically a vandal by New York City authority standards — Banksy painted this piece in October 2013 while he was in the city for a month. He made at least one work a day in his project titled “Better Out Than In”, careful not to be seen by anyone.
Tony, who works next door at the Dublin House, remembers Banksy drawing the art. He finished his drawing after Tony left work that evening, so he figured it had to be done between 4 and 6 am.
People were initially upset about the installation of the Plexiglas, Goldshine said, but then grew thankful for it. It’s become especially important, he said, because most of the other pieces from Banksy’s NYC residence have been destroyed, mostly vandalized by other graffiti artists, or painted over by building owners.
Just minutes after Zabar learned of Andrew’s changes from The Rag, Goldshine and a maintenance worker visited the site to have them removed. Due to tape damage, Zabar’s will have to replace the Plexiglas, Goldshine said.
He has no message for Andrew, except that Zabar’s happy to be a neighbor in the community and protect the Banksy.