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Workers taking down the Banksy at 14th Street and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan (all images by Melissa Stern for Hyperallergic)

This morning, workmen dismantled the clock at the corner of 14th Street and Sixth Avenue that generated headlines last week when the British street artist Banksy graced it with one of his distinctive rat stencils. Hyperallergic contributor Melissa Stern spotted the workers using a lift at the site around 10:20am.

“There were four workers outside the building and I think two inside — they had to dismantle the clock motor and mechanism from the interior, which was very difficult,” Stern told Hyperallergic. “A foreman told me that the owner had decided to send the clock to auction before the building comes down in demolition. He didn’t know any other details, he would not say who owned the property.”

A view of the workers removing the clock face

Stern says the crowd at the scene shifted during the time she stood watching the workers. “At its height, I would say there about 50 people just standing on the corner. In the course of the 50 minutes that I was there, several hundred passed through the intersection. There was a general air of disgust that the owner was auctioning off the clock,” she said, adding that the workers were very freely and candidly telling everyone what was going on. “One ‘protester’ was [standing on a nearby traffic island and] playing the trumpet and reciting ‘Hickory Dickory Dock’ with altered lyrics. He declined to give me his name. [There was also] another fairly unhinged woman screaming about gentrification and how it’s destroying NYC. It was a very lively scene, to say the least.”

The building was already slated to be demolished, and when it finally comes down a 45-unit condo designed by ODA Architecture for owners Gemini Rosemont will replace the single-story former bank and post office building.

Workers removing the Banksy-emblazoned clock face

Workers removing the clock face

Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

2 replies on “Banksy’s 14th Street Rat Already Taken Down by Building Owners”

  1. A brief history of time.

    Maybe this is what it is about; time to stop chasing that clock, just like that rat was chasing it, and instead to look at the dark empty void that’s always been just behind it, adorning a busted and broke bank; now an overpriced underused eyesore rather than benefitting the people. Quite apt, I’d say, this last collaboration between Banksy and Stephen Hawking, as well as with the real estate owners who walked right into the piece by dismantling it, leaving only a black hole. Likely to sell it off. Let them cash in. They’re already broke.

  2. This makes me sick. All these years that the bank has been abandoned, the owners have done NOTHING but let it fall into disrepair. It’s been an eyesore and general blight in the neighborhood. but the moment there is money to be made they spring into action! shame!

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