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Queens Chronicle

Smokehouse mural looks to help 5 Pointz

Celebrates namesake abolitionist John Brown

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Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 9:55 am | Updated: 10:13 am, Tue Jul 30, 2013.

A Long Island City restaurant is standing up for its friends down the street.

The John Brown Smokehouse at 10-43 44 Drive collaborated with the artists at 5 Pointz, the organization that has covered an old factory on Jackson Avenue for more than a decade with legal graffiti, to create a mural on the back wall of the barbecue joint’s patio.

The director of 5 Pointz, Jonathan Cohen,  known as Meres, and graffiti artist Shiro took four hours last week to complete the artwork depicting abolitionist John Brown. 

Their only payment was food and lots of beer.

Others affiliated with the graffiti hot spot beat boxed and break danced — turning the night into an event. 

 It’s a colorful, almost cheery depiction of Brown, who armed and led an anti-slavery raid leading to his capture and hanging, surrounded by children and a slave woman.

Shiro often paints buxom ladies, smokehouse owner Josh Bowen said — and a woman in mural with big red lips is no exception.

“It’s pretty awesome,” Bowen said. “We are friends and we want to bring some publicity to their plight.”

The Wolkoff family, the owners of the graffiti-covered building at 45-46 Davis St., would like to demolish the structure and  construct a 1,000-unit building in its place.

The project requires a zoning change and  the City Council’s stamp of approval. 

(The Wolkoffs could build a 600-unit building without the Council’s approval.)

At a Community Board 2 meeting, where members voted against the zoning change, and at a forum at MoMA PS 1 artists and neighbors spoke out against the demolition.

“I think most people in their souls are against the project — well, except the owners,” Bowen said.

Some neighbors have backed the demolition of the building, calling it an eyesore, though those supporting 5 Pointz have a more unified and loud voice.

 Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), who represents the area, has said he supports the Wolkoffs’ right to build on their property.

In the next few weeks Bowen expects the artists back at the restaurant to paint the other two walls  of the patio.

 One artist will “battle” the other in a friendly competition to see who rocks the best style. 

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