Plans to Raze Graffiti Landmark 5Pointz Move Ahead

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Plans are moving ahead to demolish the five-story graffiti landmark in Long Island City known as 5Pointz, where artists have been allowed to paint freely for more than a decade.

Building owner David Wolkoff said next year he hopes to begin tearing down the 200,000-square-foot warehouse-cum-canvas that is visible from the No. 7 elevated train near Court Square.

In its place, Wolkoff is planning to build about 1,000 rental units, plus amenities like a public park, a pool and space for artwork on the swath of land that runs under the subway.  

“We’re going to have some link to the past,” Wolkoof said, “meaning that there will be art programmed throughout the walk of the building, so as the pedestrian walks around the building, there will be art walls.”

He said he also wants to include ground-floor work space for artists. Wolkoff met with the Community Board 2 recently to discuss his plans.

"He’s contributed the property for years for the use of artists, and now he would like to change that and move forward,” CB 2 Chairman Joe Conley said. “I think people have to recognize that he has a right to develop it. But at the same time, we're trying to make sure that there is, and there will be, space reserved for artists.”

For several years, and with permission, artists who work at 5Pointz have continued painting on the building’s façade, a constantly changing canvas, amid uncertainty about the building’s future.

Artists from all over the world come to visit and to paint at the warehouse. It’s also a popular backdrop for photographers and filmmakers seeking a gritty urban scene.

“We’re going to celebrate, we’re not going to mourn,” said Marie Cecile Flageul, a spokeswoman for the artists.

Annmarie Fertoli/WNYC
5Pointz, a grafitti landmark, is located near the No. 7 subway train in Long Island City, Queens.
Annmarie Fertoli/WNYC
Grafitti is legal on the building's facade, which constantly changes as artists paint over old artwork.
Annmarie Fertoli/WNYC
An homage to rapper Nas.
Annmarie Fertoli/WNYC
5Pointz takes its name from the five boroughs of New York City.
Annmarie Fertoli/WNYC
Elaborate tags cover the 200,000 square foot building, which takes up an entire block.
Annmarie Fertoli/WNYC
Annmarie Fertoli/WNYC
Annmarie Fertoli/WNYC
International artists often come to Long Island City to paint at 5Pointz.
Annmarie Fertoli/WNYC
The building's long faced an uncertain future in Queens. Artists say they'll continue working there as long as they're able.


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Comments [4]

TNC from QNS

Eddie, you are wrong. There is absolutely no evidence that creating legal walls or other spaces for graf-writers to tag/piece reduces illegal "bombing". In the case of 5Pointz, people come from all over the country--and the world--to paint a piece there, take a pic, and have it painted over by someone the next day, if not sooner. Trust me, those same people are out bombing in the evening. At least most of them. For young writers in particular, the whole point is getting up, which means bombing i.e. illegal writing.

I would like to see 5Pointz continue. But Frank brings up an important point re: the woman who was injured. It's great to have legal places to paint but they need to be properly maintained whether it is a public wall or a private space.

Jul. 09 2012 07:55 AM
Eddie from LA

As I see it, places like this minimize the amount of illegal graffiti painted by young graffiti artists and let artists develop an artistic repertoire outside vandalism. Seeing as new york has been so gentrified and lost most of its charm. I say tear it down, turn the kids loose on the streets and give babylon a run for its money. The more money spent eradicating illegal graffiti the better. Let them see how their actions affect reality.

Jul. 08 2012 02:15 PM

Note to editor: "warehouse-cum-canvas" may not be the most artful way of describing the building.

Jul. 08 2012 02:04 PM
Frank from NY

don't forget that few Years ago an Artist woman almost died in that building due to the unforgivable negligence of the landlord.
Just saying...

Jul. 08 2012 09:52 AM

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