On the morning of November 19th, 2013, the artists of 5POINTZ arrived at the giant canvas to find that their work had been whitewashed overnight. The graffiti mecca was located in New York’s Long Island City neighborhood, which since 2010 has seen “the most new apartments built among neighborhoods across the country” (12,533 apartments in over 41 new developments). It was no surprise then, that 5POINTZ building owner Jerry Wolkoff eventually saw the dollar signs and razed the building in favor of a new luxury high-rise apartment.
The five-story building was originally constructed in 1892, but didn’t become 5POINTZ until street artist Meres One took over as head curator in 2002. Since then, some of the world’s greatest aerosol painters have made the pilgrimage to make their mark on the exterior walls of the 200,000 sq foot “United Nations of Graffiti.” The location became a “must-see” for tourists visiting Queens, soon transforming this place of artistic culmination into a living, breathing (legal) graffiti museum. The community backlashed when plans were announced to demolish the building, but to no avail. New York’s Landmark Preservation Commision turned down an application for landmark status because “the building lacked architectural distinction and the artwork was less than 30 years old.” They are currently underway in completing a pair of forty-story apartment towers.
As Hyperallergic points out, the 5POINTZ legacy will live on through this new development, in its own fucked up way. After several lawsuits were made by artists whose work had been buffed without permission (believed to have been intended to prevent landmark status), Jerry Wolkoff has successfully registered the complex to bear the namesake of the location’s former urban glory, 5POINTZ. If that wasn’t obnoxious enough, this half-hearted homage will also see the building’s interior presented in an embarassing attempt to evoke street art. Renderings from architecture firm Mojo Stumer Associates reveal an official logo in an urban “Wild Style” font and graffiti-inspired paintings on the walls of common rooms. When completed, the buildings will also host twenty available studios for artists. But how many of them will attempt to paint their exteriors?
Take a look at the real estate developer’s unpalatably idiotic tribute to New York guerilla art below.
Excerpt about 5POINTZ from the ‘Graffiti is Legal’ documentary
H/T Hyperallergic, Ben Block
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Graffiti: Fun or Dumb?’: 1976 PSA is, like graffiti itself, fun and dumb
‘Graffiti Rock’: The coolest 25 minutes in the history of hip-hop TV
‘Watching My Name Go By’: Must-see vintage short on graffiti in 1976 NYC