Poached! DUMBO’s elephant mural is gone, replaced by ‘bright’ painting

Poached! DUMBO’s elephant mural is gone, replaced by ‘bright’ painting
Development company Alloy painted a mural over DUMBO’s most famous piece of street art, which portrayed a herd of elephants.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

DUMBO has lost its elephants.

The developers at Alloy painted over what was possibly DUMBO’s most famous piece of street art — a colorful herd of elephants painted on the side of a garage at Pearl and Water Streets — and put up a new temporary mural as they get ready to raze the old building and put up townhouses.

Instead of a colorful depiction of pachyderms, the new mural simply reads “bright” — an attempt by Alloy to celebrate the neighborhood and ease some residents’ fears about new construction, said A.J. Pires, the firm’s executive vice president.

“We wanted to insert a little optimism in that part of the neighborhood,” Pires said.

Art group 303 Collective painted the futuristic-looking, elephant-themed mural in 2009, and in its four-year lifespan — quite long for street art — it became one of New York’s most photographed pieces of street art, according to artinfo.com.

The building is in a historic district, and last month the Landmarks Preservation Commission asked Alloy to make slight changes to its design for five townhouses to better suit the character of the neighborhood.

Alloy expects that its next presentation will be March 12, and if commissioners sign off on the plans, construction will begin this summer, Pires said.

In the meantime, Pires hopes the new “bright” mural sends a hopeful message to neighbors concerned about living near what will likely become a development site.

“Development is tough,” he added. “Some people don’t like things. Some people have different tastes. There’s been some contention about the project, but that comes with the territory.”

Some of that contention comes from the preservationists at the Historic Districts Council, who are sad to lose the garage — which was once a part of the Industrialist-era paint company J.W. Masury & Son, according to testimony from the group at Alloy’s first Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing.

Calls to Craig Anthony Miller, the artist behind the original elephant mural, were not returned.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at jlutz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.

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