As dusk becomes nightfall, graffiti artist Saynosleep takes a quick look around and then gets to work on a luxury store closed since it was looted in June during protests over George Floyd's death.
"If you're not painting right now, I don't know what you're doing," says the 40-year-old, adding an expletive. "There has never been a time like this."
The facades of hundreds of store that have shut because of the pandemic are "an invitation" to artists, says Marie Flageul, curator at New York's Museum of Street Art (MoSA).
Walls, bridges, sidewalks and subway cars -- 34 of which have been painted since the beginning of the month -- are canvases.
"It's a big surge, a renaissance of graffiti," enthuses Saynosleep, who uses a different pseudonym for his legal artwork.
Graffiti was first accepted by the art world in the 1980s when it moved into galleries.
Expressive street art then captured the imagination of the general public in the 2000s when it went from illegal to legal spaces.
But since March, it is the raw, illegal type of graffiti that has spread in a disorderly fashion.
"Everybody wants to express themselves," says Saynosleep, who says he has seen a woman in her 60s drawing graffiti. "People are bored. They need something to do."
The growth of the Black Lives Matter movement following Floyd's killing at the hands of a Minnesota police officer in May has accelerated the trend, with protesters scribbling racial justice slogans and demands on buildings.