Editor’s note: The month-long residency of street artist Banksy in New York caused quite a sensation among the people of the Big Apple. NYC Dad Brandon Garcia and his son created a commotion of their own when they recently tried to check out one of his spray art creations.
What the hell was I thinking? Seriously? I should have known better. My 10-month-old son had sucked down 6 ounces of formula and ate 3.5 ounces of some fruit mix after his mid-morning hour long nap. I thought I was safe. I changed his diaper and looked out the window and saw no clouds in the sky, a nice blue mid-60’s day in the city which was as tempting as a mermaid inviting you to go swimming. Let’s rock.
I was shocked by how quickly I was out the door with him hanging on the front of me. Walking to 86th Street for a quick ride on the express train to Grand Central was brisk but the fact that my son now weighs around 20 pounds, give or take, turns the simple task of walking into a workout. Oh well I thought, at least its nice outside.
Stairs, stairs and more stairs awaited me at 86th Street then again at Grand Central. How a handicapped person moves around this city is beyond me. While I walked the long corridor to the shuttle train my thighs and calves began to burn. Damn! This is more of a workout than I thought it was going to be. More stairs between the shuttle and the 1 train.
I was exhausted and thirsty by the time I got back to street level at 23rd street so my first stop was a Duane Reade for some Gatorade. I opened and downed it at the register.
The kid ringing me up said, “That looks like quite the workout?”
I replied, “Yeah and I’m coming down from the Upper East Side. I’m already beat.”
The kid laughed, “Have a nice day.” Stepping out to the bright sunshine I thought to myself maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t such a good idea. Screw it, onward.
The corner of 24th & 10th is one loud clusterfuck filled with ear-piercing traffic horns, a repair station for NYC cabs complete with more honking and yelling, trucks supplying cement to a construction site and tourists gawking at the dude wearing a baby walking down the street. I naively thought that maybe amongst all this mess nobody cared about the Banksy art.
Nope… UGH! About 75 people were clamoring over each other to take pictures. No worries. I have my son strapped to my body for safety, meaning I don’t have to worry about pissing people off with my stroller. Perfect way to see art, right? RIGHT?
The two paintings, graffiti or whatever you want to call them, were hanging from the Highline and cordoned off to appear like a makeshift outdoor museum. People could wait to see the art up close and enjoy refreshments but I was five to seven rows of people back from the yellow tape. No problem, I have the kid strapped to my front and seriously how long could it take?
Right about the time I thought I could do this a large concrete mixing truck arrived and honked a bull horn at all the people looking at the Banksy. My son was scared out of his mind and began screaming.
Then some guy looking like he was in charge of the construction site began yelling at people to get out of the way. While calming my son down I moved closer to the throng of people hoping to get into the hipster art bliss.
Out of nowhere a 20-something girl in front of me yelled, “OUCH.” She turned and gave me the dirtiest look, like I had just groped her in midst of all this madness. I smiled nervously and said to anyone listening, “Okay? Not sure what that was about.”
All I could do was use this to inch my way closer. I realized at this point I needed to back away from all the commotion to calm my son down. As I backed out of the scrum I realized that my son was clenching his left fist.
“Benjamin. What is that,” I said as I walked away. It was none other than a wad of hair that he plucked from the girl. “Oh God. It’s time to go.”
See all the Banksy art installments from October on www.banksyny.com.