5Pointz Closer to Being Razed as Development Plan Advances

The landmark building will be razed to make room for redevelopment

Thursday, August 22, 2013

5Pointz, in Long Island City, is a block-long warehouse where graffiti is legal. (Annmarie Fertoli/WNYC)

The graffiti mecca 5Pointz in Long Island City lost another battle in its fight for preservation as plans for two luxury apartment buildings on the site moved forward this week.

The City Planning Commission unanimously approved a special application to expand the square feet that can be developed there.

“Long Island City is not Williamsburg. Long Island City is not Dumbo. Long Island City has been struggling from day one to keep an artists scene,” said Marie Flageul, a spokesperson for the artists at 5Pointz. “And everything they’re doing in developing Long Island City is pushing out the artists.”

The owner of the factory building that houses 5Pointz, Jerry Wolkoff, has allowed artists from around the world to tag and create spray paint murals on the building for more than a decade. Now, he said,  he plans to put up two towers, one of 41-storys and one of 47-storys, with roughly 1,0000 units total.

“I made something special with the 5pointz — not me, but the artists,” Wolkoff said by phone. “I created it, a vision, and we’re going to do something special on these buildings, something special by the time we're finished with it."

Wolkoff said he hopes to demolish 5Pointz by the end of the year. He promised that the new buildings will have an arts space. "It will have some space within there for some artists, not graffiti, but regular artists in there," he said.

The City Council now has 50 days to approve the Planning Commission's decision.


(Photo: Graffiti covers the walls of 5Pointz in Long Island City, where spray-painting on the walls is legal. Annmarie Fertoli/WNYC)


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Comments [5]

The Bronx Art Exchange-NYC from Bronx, NY

This was a short-sighted decision that lacks any kind of urban planning. Just because you put up luxury housing doesn't mean you know to how to plan a community. 5Pointz was creative life-blood that made Queens interesting to tourists--you know those people who come from foreign lands and spend money. Who will come to look at a housing unit or shop in a mall that has stores where they can shop at locally?

Furthermore, 5Pointz was a cultural mecca for street artists from around the world, it was one of the quickly vanishing street points that has kept New York City in the vanguard of the global street art movement. Now with this crushing blow, it remains to be seen what if any street art culture will exist at the 5Pointz area.

Oct. 10 2013 11:41 AM
TONY164 from BRONX

Everything good must come to an end..smh

Aug. 23 2013 12:49 AM
ghettotnt bx.... from bronx ny

the reality,,people, world wide comes to this site......they love nyc, not because of times square,,,,85% come here to see writers of graffiti....1970s..., and those that came... you take it and they will write on your back yards......or nyc trains....and dats da way it is.................from other countries...

Aug. 22 2013 07:09 PM
Penelope from Astoria

5 Pointz is a tourist attraction. It is diagonally across from PS 1 MOMA and an artistic landmark. 5 Poinz is loved. Why can't this building owner see that? Why can't he build his millon dollar condos and leave the paintings! ??

Aug. 22 2013 07:05 PM
Randy Gregory II from Sunnyside

As a frequent traveller on the 7 Train, I'm going to be extremely depressed when 5 Pointz gets knocked down. It's a gorgeous icon of Queens, and it's one of those landmarks that makes me feel like I'm "home".

You could make a further statement about how this is another step towards gentrification, but I assume others have a passionate opinion about that.

Aug. 22 2013 04:03 PM

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