SLIDESHOW: Street Artists Take to Coney Island for Thor Equities’ Art Walls Program


Joseph Sitt, chief executive officer of Thor Equities, returned to his hometown of Brooklyn last night for a different kind of use of his real estate holdings in Coney Island.

The landlord joined forces once again with Jeffrey Deitch, the former head of the Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art, to host the second annual Coney Art Walls at 3050 Stillwell Avenue—a vacant lot that Thor owns nearby the Thunderbolt roller coaster, Luna Park and the boardwalk.

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More than 30 artists around the world scrawled the “street art,” or contemporary, graffiti-styled designs loaded with meaning. Left over pieces from last year’s Coney Art Walls were scattered around the lot as well. All of the art walls will remain on the site through the year, according to a Thor spokesman. Last night’s two-hour event showcased food from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Calexico and Table 87. A few hundred art lovers attended the event, including graffiti artist Stephen Powers. Actress Rosie Perez also showed up at Coney Art Walls in support of her artist husband Eric Haze, who contributed a piece for the event. 

Sitt, who is an art collector, grew up a few Q subway stations away from Coney Island in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn, and felt a need to bring his passion to the neighborhood.

“It’s my way of giving back to the community, number one. Number two, I feel like Coney Island deserves it,” Sitt told Commercial Observer during the event. “And three, it gives us another dimension in Coney Island. Besides just the rides and some of the large shows, I think it brings a dimension that’s great. I think it’s great for Coney Island, I think it’s great for Brooklyn. And last but not least, I love street art.”

Development plans for the 55,000-square-foot lot that holds the street art exhibition have yet to be finalized. Sitt has used the land for shows and as a flea market in the past. The site sits directly across from a Thor retail building at 3012 Stillwell Avenue, which is home to a 6,800-square-foot Wahlburgers restaurant by well-known brothers Mark and Donnie Wahlberg.

Sitt’s favorite piece of art from the collection this year is one that features 3D divers and a young boy walking on the beach by Binghamton, N.Y.-born artist John Ahearn.

“When you see it, you will get it,” Sitt said.