In an effort that has proved effective for curbing the repeated occurrence of graffiti, Congressman Joseph Crowley’s office has teamed up with Councilman Costa Constantinides to fund mural making at certain key points in Queens. One such location that has repeatedly been “bombed” is the train tunnel next to the Stathakion Center or AHEPA Headquarters in Astoria. Working with the not-for-profit organization 501 See Streets, this beautification effort has put a team of street artists to create a Greek-theme inspired mural. Director of 501 See Streets, Noah Sheroff concedes, “We have seen a reduction in tags and graffiti when we paint murals.” Muralist Marthalicia Mataritta and her brother had primed over the graffiti-infested tunnel space when it was tagged before they could start the project. 501 See Streets is an public arts organization whose aim is to combat urban blight and instill pride in communities by partnering with community-based organizations and small-businesses and street artists to create works for public spaces.
A similar location in Woodside between 48th and 49th Streets has proven successful in keeping graffiti at bay. The mural at the Stathakion center aims to mirror the Hellenic identity of Astoria by featuring gods and goddesses of the Olympic pantheon, ancient philosophers such as Aristotle, and classical architecture.