It’s been two weeks since the start of Banksy’s residency, and New York City has had the privilege of playing along with one of the most famous artists of our time. We run from borough to borough for the chance to ogle his latest creation before someone defaces it or starts collecting cash from onlookers.
But let’s hang on a minute: There are other things that need finding, too. Like human beings. 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo went missing October 4 when he walked out of The Center Boulevard School in Long Island City. One man, who was among the crowd at Banksy’s Gladiator piece in Woodside, took the chance to remind the audience that maybe they should syphon just a little bit of their enthusiasm for Banksy into finding Avonte (ed. Or any other missing child for that matter. There are over 800,000 missing children in the U.S. at last count.) Runnin’ Scared has video of the scene, after the jump.
The hunt has been on for young Avonte, who is autistic and nonverbal, already shutting down all subway work, brought out hundreds of patrol officers, and dispatched helicopters across the city.
An unnamed man, who a source says hung around before and after giving his speech, got up in front of Banksy’s “Gladiator” in Woodside and delivered this simple statement.
“I hope that there is as much effort to spot the next Banksy piece as there is to find Avonte.”
He then passed out flyers with Avonte’s identifying information and how to contact the relevant authorities with tips or clues.
We encourage Runnin’ Scared readers to contact the authorities if you have any leads on the Avonte Oquendo disappearance case. There’s a $60,000 reward for information leading to Avonte’s return.
Watch the video of the scene at “Gladiator” below.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 15, 2013