Friends and family honored a youth who passed away on January 30 with a mural painted by Manhattan artist Ray Jerez on a wall near the corner of Layton and Vincent avenues.
The wall had been covered by graffiti, but now has a beautiful visual remembrance of Nicolas Nespolini. The neighborhood teen passed away suddenly. Friends said that they believed the cause of his death to be an un-intentional overdose, but that has not been confirmed.
The mural includes visual images friends said that the 16-year-old Nespolini felt strongly about. There is also a large image of Nicolas, and a scroll where friends can sign their names in a show of remembrance.
“In the mural, there is a ’72 Chevy, a guitar that he loved to play, a cross around his neck which his mom gave him, and an I-pod ear jack coming out his ear,” Jerez, who is also the owner of Inborn Tattoo NYC on the Lower East Side, said describing the mural. “My assistant, who goes by the name Doves, and I drew a picture of Nick with a look that we would want to remember him by.”
Jerez said that that the preliminary work of the mural took one day, and that the final product, which spans a side wall outside of Layton Lizzie Supermarket at 3201 Layton Avenue, was completed within nine hours. The location was chosen because it is sometimes covered by graffiti and needed a spruce up.
Layton Lizzie’s owner Brian Han was happy to let the artists go to work on the side wall of his store, and said that he remembered Nick from the neighborhood.
“I saw him shopping with his parents in my store, and I wanted to help,” Han said. “The finished product is really nice.”
Nespolini’s father, who is also named Nick, said that he was really impressed by Han’s generosity.
“The owner of the store did not hesitate because he knew my son from the neighborhood,” Nick Nespolini Sr. said. “[Mr. Han said] that painting the mural is not a problem.”
According to his mother Samantha, Nick wrapped toys, toiletries, and gifts for homeless women and children for the past few Christmases. She said that her son always wanted to help people who were in need.
Nespolini’s parents have set up the NESPO Foundation, which they said would honor Nicolas’ memory by providing scholarship opportunities and financial assistance for battered women and homeless children. The organizations’ website is nicholas-nespolini.last-memories.com.