A new — and yet another traveling — Banksy has been unveiled today. Part sculpture, and part performance piece, the work featured a person shining the shoes of an oversized Ronald McDonald. The official Banksy website explains:
A fibreglass replica of Ronald McDonald having his shoes shined by a real live boy. The sculpture will visit the sidewalk outside a different McDonalds every lunchtime for the next week. Today: South Bronx.
Rumors are already starting about its first location, which at least one person has suggested is near Yankees Stadium — we’ll confirm that fact when we can.
StealBanksyNY.com, a website that encourages people to steal the Banksys in New York, has posted the exact location, suggesting it is currently at
839 Westchester Avenue, in the Bronx, by the Prospect Avenue 2 and 5 train station, at the intersection of Westchester Avenue, Longwood Avenue, and East 160th Street.
Now we’re not so sure of the Westchester Avenue location. Instagram user @mount99 just posted video of the piece and judging by the video it is unclear if it is the same McDonald’s as one commenter on the post is suggesting the work is at Boston Road and Seabury Place in the Fairmont-Claremont Village area of the Bronx, which does resemble the location of this video:
The Instragram post on the official Banksy account refers to the piece as “All City,” which in this case means that the work is intended to travel during the next week to many different boroughs.
The shoe shine boy is an old and potent symbol of inequalities in society. The contrast of a poor youngster with his wealthier patron cuts to the heart of issues revolving around income inequalities and exploitation.
Recently, fastfood workers in New York and across the country have been organizing against McDonald’s and other chains to protest unlivable wages. In August, roughly 500 people gathered outside the McDonald’s on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue chanting “Si Se Puede” (“Yes, We Can”) and “Hey, hey, ho, ho $7.25 has got to go.” The protest spread to 50 other US cities and approximately 1,000 restaurants.
9/11 Tribute Altar
Yesterday, I predicted something peculiar might happen with the Tribeca Banksy, since 9/11 is one of the sacred cows of New York. Last night, images of a memorial with candles and flowers started circulating on social media, suggesting that the piece was indeed being treated different than the other Banksy works.
In related news, an Instagram user @lastsuspect has taken the flower from the work and posted an image on the social media site. Many users are chastising the user for doing something, one user said, is “fucked up on so many levels.”
@lastsuspect initially removed the image, which was posted by another user in the meantime, but he has since reposted the image and added a bizarre video about the plastic flower, which is posted below.
Update 2, 12:48pm: The letter at the Tribeca Banksy plead with “Haters” not to disturb the piece:
Update 3, 3:15pm: Someone appears to have asked for the “shoe shine boy’s” autograph and got this: