Giant Penis Pops Up On New York’s Lower East Side

"Half of the world has a penis so why would it be so controversial?”

Residents of New York’s Lower East Side didn’t get visited by Santa this year, but they did get an unexpected arrival: A mural of a giant, realistic penis that went up on the side of 303 Broome Street on Christmas Eve.

The painting, which stands four stories tall, is the work of Swedish street artist Carolina Falkholt, who was commissioned by Franco Noriega, the chef-model behind nearby Peruvian eatery Baby Brassa.


A post shared by Franco Noriega (@franconorhal) on

“NO TIME 4 BALL$$,” Falkholt wrote on Instagram. “I have never heard so much laughter and seen so many happy faces behind my back when painting as for today doing this wall on Broome Street.”

Falkholt told NBC 4 the mural and another work, a more abstract depiction of a vagina on Pike Street, were “about not being ashamed of your body and who you are as a sexual being.”

“Talking about these subjects in public space is a must for a healthy, nonviolent community/world,” she added. “And the dialogue created around feminist public art pieces raises awareness. Art is one of the only places left where we can truly be free and discuss whatever difficult topics there are.”

Some neighbors are not thrilled about the tumescent member.

“While I happen to love and appreciate street art, your latest commissioned display is the most disgusting display of art I’ve seen,” wrote Naomi Pena, a longtime resident and president of District 1’s Community Education Council, wrote in an email to the owners of Baby Brassa. “I certainly was not happy to have to explain to my 8-year-old twins what this was.”

The work is slated to be painted over, as neither Falkholt nor her patron got permission from the building’s owner.

Noriega told The Independent that his goal was to address a topic that’s taboo in most of the world.

“Half of the world has a penis so why would it be so controversial?”

He added that the plan was always to rework the mural.

“It was always going to happen but I didn’t think it was going to be so soon. It really is a work in progress so it was going to change every two weeks until it became something completely abstract.”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.