railways both underground and overhead

Just north of the falls, there is a railway bridge that crosses the Niagara River.  On the American side of the river is the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center.  It is housed in the 1863 Customs House adjacent to the Amtrak station.   Niagara Falls was the last stop of one the routes of the Underground Railway, a network of routes and safe houses used by enslaved Black Americans to escape to freedom. It was an established border crossing that was readily accessible via numerous transportation routes, including the Erie Canal. There was a well-established network of abolitionists and anti-slavery activists in western New York.  It is estimated that between 30,000 and 40,000 freedom seekers settled in Canada.

below: “Enjoy this day that God has given us”, John Lewis (1940-2020) at the corner of Main and Depot in Niagara Falls NY. Lewis was a politician and civil rights activist. This mural was painted by Princessa Williams

mural with portrait of John Lewis next to a large American flag

below: “We rise by lifting others” by Ashley Kay. This mural honours Doris Jones who was the head of the Niagara Falls Housing Authority for 25 years. Painted in 2019.

mural on an underpass, portrait of a black woman

below: Harriet Tubman and “A Light of Hope” by Madonna Pannell, 2019. This image references a crossing across the Niagara Suspension Bridge that Tubman made in 1856 with four freedom seekers. The bridge no longer exists but its remains can be seen from the Heritage Center.

mural tribute to Harriet Tubman and the underground railway
close up of part of mural, Harriet Tubman holding a lantern with a few shadowy figures in the background

below: “Historic Cataract House” by Imani Williamson. the Cataract Hotel was built on the banks of the Niagara River in 1825. It had a wait staff that was entirely African American and these Black waiters often led double lives as secret Underground Railroad agents.

mural, men standing in front of a house

below: “The time is always right to do what is right” by Muhammad Zaman. This is a quote from Martin Luther King Jr’s final sermon on 31st March 1968 at the National Cathedral in Washington DC. The calligraphy is in Bengali, Arabic, and English.

calligraphy and text mural

calligraphy and text in a mural that says the time is always right to do the right thing

below: Saxophone player with words and music a mural by Edreys Wajed; a portrait of tenor saxophonist and jazz musician John “Spider” Martin.

mural on side of underpass, yellow background, close up portrait of a man holding a saxophone

below: Black Lives Matter, a mural by Ashley Kay and Tyshaun Tyson, 2020

black lives matter mural

below: Holding signs with slogans and phrases that became synonymous with Black Lives Matter, “Say their names” and “No Justice, No Peace”.
close up of part of mural, a girl holding a sign that says say their names and a boy with a placard that says no justice no peace.

below: “The New Spirit of Niagara Falls” by Jonathan Rogers, 2019

two murals at the end of an underpass, one has yellow people on a blue background and the other is a portrait of a boxer mostly in reds

part of a mural, yellow simplified characters with different facial expressions

below: Portrait of Calvin “Pop” Porter, a professional boxer, gym owner, and community leader by Jalen Law.

mural by Jalen Law of a boxer, in abstract colours, bright reds and blues

below: This long mural featuring portraits of a number of kids is the work of Sarah Zak. 

mural with kids doing different things, playing, reading, standing by Niagara Falls

close up of part of mural, black girl wearing a pink and purple shirt

below: Support All Women, a mural celebrating the empowerment of women, painted by Amira Moore.

below: Uhuru Love, aka Dr. Gloria Daniels Butler, was an artist, educator, and civil rights activist. She adopted the name Uhuru Love in 1965 – Swahili and English words meaning “freedom (is) love”. The mural was painted by Lashonda Davis.

below: “A Niagara Falls Love Story” by Tyshaun Tyson, 2019. Alice Hayes was an active member of the community (her biography is online) and her husband Charles B. Hayes was Niagara Falls first black physician when the couple arrived in the city in 1935.

below: Freedom seekers map, the routes to Niagara Falls. Painted by Natalia Suska, 2019

below: Channeling the energy from the falls to be put toward the pursuit of freedom. “The Niagara Movement” mural by Thomas Asklar and Matthew Conroy. The Niagara Movement was a black civil rights group founded in 1905 by W.E.B. Du Bois (pictured here) and William Monroe Trotter. It was named for the “mighty current” of change the group wanted to effect and took Niagara Falls as its symbol.

below: Aerosol Kingdom (aka Justin Suarez), “Girl with a Snail Earring”. 2021

below: A 2022 mural about Black history and the underground railroad in Niagara Falls in three scenes, painted by Abigail Lee Penfold.

a mural about black history and the underground railroad in Niagara Falls in three scenes
a young boy stops with his bike to look at a picture on a wall, part of a mural

part of a mural, on orange background, an older woman showing a girl a page of black history, about the underground railroad and escaping from slavery

More information: Niagara Falls Heritage Arts
Photos taken May 2023

a smal black car drives under a railway bridge beside amtrak station, murals on the side of the underpass

South Avenue scenes

Murals and graffiti seen along South Ave in Rochester.

South Avenue in Rochester New York, older brick buildings

below: Conor Harrington Untitled (Fight Club Series)

black and white mural by Conor Harrington of two men fighting, a bit of red blood

below: Floating in a pink sky over a sea of imaginary snakes and fish

mural of a person reclining in a cloud in a pink sky hovering over a sea of snakes and fishes

below: “You’re a Shining Star no matter who you are”. A jar full of shiny positivity by local artist Shawn Dunwoody.

street art mural, on yellow brick wall, a large mason jar with words shining star on it, text on mural says you're a shining star no matter who you are

below: A group of flowers with faces as their centers.

mural on wall, flowers with many petals and each flower has a face in the center

below: Maladjusted Mike is stuck on a pole. Apparently he’s from Seriously Disgusting Comics.

two graffiti stickers on a pole, the lower pole has an image of a young man with text maladjusted mike

below: No room for Fascism

graffiti sticker on a pole with text no room for fascists

below: A pink Neptune-like sea creature ruling over his underwater worlds, by Bile, 2013

below: Part of Nova’s shapes and colours.

below: “LIFE in abundance comes only through great LOVE”

below: Whirls and swirls of colour in an abstract painting by Mike Ming, 2013

below: A fox and bunny by Mr. PVRT aka Justin Suarez

below: Adam Francey’s fantastic detailed mural with birds and faces and a couple of words – seek, understand.

below: “Big brother is watching you and he’s bored”.

below: Avocado face, by Stefan Fella

sticker on a pole, a face made from an avocado cut in half, with large brown pit still in place

mural on the side of a wall, a character with round blue head holding a large bowl of food

below: Walking white teddy bear

sticker on a pole, upright walking white bear with a pink frilly collar

below: The old and the new – root beer and birds.

below: A large egret? (or shorebird of one kind or another) and frog.  Do egrets eat frogs?

on the side of a store, a large mural of a stork and a green frog


on the side of a store, a large mural of a stork and a green frog

sculptures on te sidewalk on south ave in rochester

Photos taken May 2023

Vegas hands and a shorty

There are two large murals near the intersection of East Fremont and North 6th in Las Vegas. In the foreground is this pair of teal hands. This is one of two murals that Brazilian duo Bicicleta Sem Freio (aka Douglas de Castro and Renato Pereira) painted in Vegas during the ‘Life is Beautiful’ event of 2017.

below: Closer view of the hands with their black finger nails and oval rings.

below: Behind, Linus has a complaint writ large in a mural by Mark Drew. The text is a quote from C.R.E.A.M., a song by Wu Tang Gang.
“Life as a shorty shouldn’t be so rough
But as the world turned, I learned life is hell
Livin’ in the world no different from a cell.”

below: The other mural by Bicicleta Sem Freio has a musical theme.

below: Dark blue faced trumpet player.

below: Another blue faced trumpet player, but a little paler. There is a strong resemblance between the hands in this mural and those in the top mural.

ROA Horned Toad

This downtown Vegas mural was painted by Belgian artist known as ROA in 2014.

giant treet art mural on the side of a building, in grey tones, a giant horned lizard, with 6 skinny palm trees in front as well as some cars parked in front

It is a type of lizard known as a Horned Toad (or Horntoad, Horn Lizard). If you want to get scientific, they are of the genus Phrynosoma. These reptiles are native to western North America where they prefer desert or sandy semi-desert areas.  The mural is painted in bluish grey tones but these lizards are actually brown so they are well camouflaged in sand and dirt. 

close up of head on ROA street art mural of a giant horned lizard.  open eye, spikes on head, blunt nose,

If there is a predator nearby, the lizard puffs itself up to look bigger and harder to swallow. At least five species of horned toads can also squirt a stream of blood at the predator. The blood comes from tiny blood vessels near their eyes. Apparently it doesn’t taste very good and some predators have second thoughts about eating the lizard. 

close up of scales and horns on ROA street art mural of a giant horned lizard

Photos taken April 2023

More ROA murals as seen on Instagram

Flatbush finds

Murals and graffiti seen while walking around Brooklyn near Flatbush Ave (near Prospect Park).

below: A Frida Kahlo portrait by Albertus Joseph

mural of South American painter and artist Frida Kahlo, with bright red lips, and flowers in her hair, on a metal door, painted by Albertus Joseph

below: A young girl surrounded by tulips and feathers painted at Rutland Road by Danielle Mastrion to honor the annual West Indian Day parade.

mural of a young girl

below: Community mural of palm trees and flowers by the lake. Brooklyn Peace Constellation was the work of a long list of artists and contributors.

A group of Fumero portraits beside Errol’s Caribbean Bakery on Hawthorne.

street art by fumaro, portrait of a man

street art by fumero, dancing woman

store window with word habib, in the middle of a mural that is white drawings on black background

At Flatbush and Fenimore is this white on black mural by Katie Merz.  In it you can find hundreds of little shapes, symbols, words and images such as a guitar, cats, dogs, and even a loaf of bread,

a motorbike is parked beside a store whose wall is covered with a white on black steet art mural by Katie Merz, little images of many things

below: Cue the Charis

black and white street art painting with Charis tag plus the words cue the charis

below: Don’t shoot!

garage door with graffiti, large letters, text that says don't shoot

below: Edmonster times four.

graffiti on the side of a box on the street, edmonster, four identical pictures of a multicoloured monster

posters on the street

Photos taken in June 2022

a visit to Freeman Alley

Freeman Alleyis a private lane that runs parallel to the Bowery close to Sara Roosevelt Park and Bowery subway station. It has become a destination for graffiti both for those who make it and for those who want to look at it. Stencils, wheatpaste, and stickers are the most common and there is lots of it! There is probably more than one blog post’s worth so this is just the start.

below: No loitering in the alley. About to munched on – this one-eyed pink and purple banana by eye.sticker is i danger of losing part of its peel.

wheatpaste on a brick wall, a pink and purple partially peeled banana with one eye on the tip has part of its peel inside an open set of dentures (or an open mouth) also in pink and purple, by eye sticker graffiti artist.  Above it is a sign saying no noise and no loitering in the alley, Freeman Alley

below: “Do you see this?” Eyes and hearts but with a tear or two.

below: Mickey Mouse crucified, and a feline love more, #nohatefamily. Something about hello mushroom in there as well.

Mickey mouse on a crucifix graffiti

below: “Black Lives Matter is a movement, not a moment, by Individual Activist,

below: Many faces here including a lightning struck David Bowie. In the center is an anti-war poster by Brad Heckman (aka hecksign) that features a portrait of Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky.

protest poster, anti-war, support Ukraine in its war

below: Another Individual Activist anti-war poster. Ukraine is not Putin’s blank canvas. On the left is a big colourful beetle by modomatic.

below: Another modomatic, this time a multicoloured mask. Sticking out on the right is a yellow arm with a pink donut and half smoked joint while a Half Brooklyn Crooklyn’s figure is running away (the last is by TheOhioGirl).

graffiti in Freeman Alley New York City

below: Another modomatic creation – insect like? Botanical?

colourful poster graffiti by modomatic, on printed newspaper

below: “So much love” on newspaper by jkosart along with a back and white intricate drawing of a creature of some kind (signed moose)

two wheatpaste graffiti on a wood fence, one is a black and white abstract drawing by moose and the other is an oval shaped creation with words so much move by jkosart

below: A picture of a painter painting a picture, by font147

a poster by font147 of a yellow headed person painting on a large canvas and easel in front of a door and window

below: Two women – one on the Sony screen along with one as a BLM tribute by Voxx Romana

two wheatpaste, one is black and white image of an old sony television with a woman's head on the screen, the other is a piece by voxx romana for black lives matter, also a woman's profile

below: Mother and Child on blue

stencil graffiti, black on blue, of iconic mother and child

below: A yellow duck below an old faded poem. Once there was a bouquet of red roses but it looks like someone showed their displeasure with pink paint.

graffiti stickers and wheatpaste on an alley wall, a yellow duck, a printed poem white text on black that is starting to fade

below: At the very top, a multiple-eyed face by sold out art show. The woman with the black and white flower hair has her own post on this blog – see Unleashing Flowers.

graffiti by sold out art show

below: A period piece, black and white in sepia, from 33wallflower33,

below: Oversalted broccoli and a boxer

a woman pulling a green bag walks past a pole with three stickers on it. on the top is unsalted broccoli a bunch of broccoli, in the middle is an image of a shirtless boxer wearing boxing gloves

In case you are interested in such things, there is a gallery/shop in the alley that features the work of many of these artists.

Photos taken June 2022

Baayfalls on the Highline

The newest mural visible as you walk the High Line Park is “The Baayfalls” by Jordan Casteel.

“I am not interested in competing with anyone. I hope we all make it.” The mural is a portrait of Fallou, a woman who sells hats in Harlem and her brother Baay Demba Sow who was visiting from Senegal. He is member of Baye Fall movement, a West African Sufi order that is part of the Mouride brotherhood.

Coney Island

Greetings from Coney Island! A postcard type mural by Megan Watters.

postcard style mural, greetings from Coney Island, with images in the letters

Here street art has been incorporated into the amusement park. Each year since 2015 , Coney Art Walls has added to their collection of murals and now has more than 60.  Go when the park is open!

large painting of a woman's face on the side of the cyclone, a roller coaster ride at Luna, the amusement park at Coney Island

below: More of the Art Walls.  The largest one in the photo is by Nina Chanel Abney.  The one closest to the camera is ‘Handsome Brother and the Mermaid’ by Aiko which is based on an old Japanese tale called “Taro Urashima and Dragon Palace”. 

mural of two people, woman with green face
mural in black and white and grey tones, portrait of 3 black men

below: Behind a chainlink fence, another Coney Island mural.

an old RV parked in front of a coney island mural, sign above the mural advertising cotton candy and other products for sale

below: And yet another Coney Island mural, this one with old black and white photographs of New York City views inside the letters.  The Statue of Liberty makes a great exclamation mark. 

mural for coney island, letters spelling coney with old black and white photos in the letters

below: Although it is disappearing behind the ivy, this is yet another Coney Island mural.

blue mural with coney island in cursive, an ince cream cone and a hot dog, but ivy is growing from above and starting to cover up the mural

below: Clown face and more faces.  Live and let live – street artists against hate in the bottom right.   And that blue guy?  Have you seen how many teeth he has?!

stickers and slaps on a wall, a clown face in red white and blue, a light blue drawing of a man with one eye open the other eye closed, big smile with too many teeth, also a black and white sticker live and let live street artists against hate

below: Smell the flowers before they die and by the looks of it you don’t have long….

graffiti sticker on metal pole, vase of flowers some dying and some still healthy with text that says stop and smell the flowers while you can

three slaps on a wall

below: A jumble of strings and wires and a few found objects all wound up and made into a slightly human-like shape.  Man is a mess?

a wheatpaste graffiti on a red pole, a photo of a mass of string, ribbon, and other items in a vaguely humanoid shape

below: The 5th, and last one here, Coney Island mural is the newest and the biggest. This is “Coney Is For Everyone” on Stilwell Avenue, painted by Danielle Mastrion.  It was an Alliance for Coney Island project.

part of a large welcome to coney island mural
part of a mural, a large sea turtle swimming past an octopus as a young boy looks on, aquarium

a woman breathing fire in a mural

coney island mural, the word coney in a beach scene with 2 beachchairs and a child's silhouette
far right end of welcome to coney island mural, beside a pizza restaurant

below: A blue Subway Doodle monster sleeps in front of Nathans on the boardwalk.

Nathans hot dog restaurant on the boardwalk at Coney Island, closed, painting of a blue monster lying on its side, asleep on the metal shutters covering the windows

below: Another result of the Alliance for Coney Island efforts is this multicolour mural on the shutters that was painted by Ledania.


sticker on a metal pole outdoors, I (red heart) my hood

below: Lock him up! Donald Trump behind bars. Doesn’t he look cute in black and white stripes?

graffiti sticker on a metal pole.  Head shot of former American president Donald Trump (aka the former guy) in jailhouse black and white and behind blue bars
subway is above ground, and above the stores along a coney island street, near Steamania Seafood restaurant and its shrimp mural along the sidewalk

Priority Mail from Stickermaul

Small collages of images or photographs along with printed messages on Priority Mail stickers from the US Postal Service are the work of Sticker Maul and they can be seen around Manhattan. Most of the ones shown here were found on the Lower East Side near The Bowery or Freeman Alley.

below: Their message is usually positive and uplifting such as this ‘Stay Hopeful’.  Is the word Go from a previous sticker that has been covered?

graffiti by sticker maul using united states postal service priority mail stickers.  Image of young girl in red jacket with fur lined hood

below: Flowers are pretty and so are you.  They look so much like packages of seeds; let’s spread some seeds of hope and acceptance. 

graffiti by sticker maul using united states postal service priority mail stickers.

below: Playful and fun. We all need a smile in our lives and yes, we need friends too.

graffiti by sticker maul using united states postal service priority mail stickers.

below: An exception here – instead of a sticker, a small miniature plastic pail finds a home in a small niche in a wall.

small miniature plastic pail tucked into a crack, small space, in an exterior wall, spray painted blue, with printed text on paper pasted beside that says buckets of love

below: Stay fierce!

graffiti by sticker maul using united states postal service priority mail stickers.

below: Stay amazing!

graffiti by sticker maul using united states postal service priority mail stickers.

Stay on the lookout for other great stickers!