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For many years, the Wolkoff family, wealthy developers, allowed street artists to paint all over the old warehouse in Long Island City known as 5Pointz. That came to an end in the very early hours of Tuesday morning, as crews painted over the street art that had made the building an icon to many.
But the artists and those who keep up with the news in Queens knew, or should have known, that it would happen one day. And the Wolkoffs had every right to do it. Yes, the artists were trying to stop the building’s pending destruction in court, but they had a very difficult case to make. And they were trying to get it landmarked, but that’s a long, arduous process. They may very well be right that the Wolkoffs took action this week in response to the landmarking effort.
The new 5Pointz paint job.
The No. 7 train passes by as hundreds gather at the 5Pointz loading dock just hours after the artwork was painted over.
A last-minute vigil was held at 5Pointz after it was recently painted over. Artists created tribute pieces on the spot to commemorate the hundreds of artworks that once were on the building’s walls.
Street artists and activists are calling the recent paint job on 5Pointz “art genocide” after waking up on Tuesday to learn that the aerosol arts mecca was painted over.
The building, once covered with hundreds of pieces created by artists from around the world, is now nothing more than a storage space for food vendors, and 5Pointz founder Jonathan “Meres” Cohen is feeling the blow.
A last-minute vigil was held at 5Pointz after it was recently painted over. Artists created tribute pieces on the spot to commemorate the hundreds of artworks that once were on the building’s walls. “At least now, for the first time ever, the loading dock will smell good,” 5Pointz currator Jonathan “Meres” Cohen joked as he lit several scented candles and placed them at the base of the building. — Tess McRae
5Pointz curator Meres Cohen’s tribute piece on a gate across the street.
Artists hang tribute art on the Long Island City building’s walls.
A message on a nearby Dumpster reads: “Now it’s on!”
5Pointz supporters comfort one another.
Graffiti mecca 5Pointz was painted over in the wee hours of the morning, killing any hope of the building getting landmark status.
This morning, artists and art lovers woke up to terrible news that the aerosol arts mecca 5Pointz was painted over last night.
In an era when a camera can be at the ready within seconds and an image can be posted on Instagram with just a few taps on a cell phone, photography has become an “everyman’s pastime.”
That being said, the ability to truly capture the essence of a subject beyond taking a close-up of your quinoa salad requires skill and discipline and to capture the essence of an entire neighborhood requires a natural gift.
Art fans take in some of the new art pieces at 5Pointz a few weeks ago. On Tuesday the judge presiding over the lawsuit case denied an injunction against razing the building to protect the art while the case unfurls.
The fate of graffiti mecca 5Pointz has been up in the air for weeks after 17 artists filed a lawsuit to block Jerry Wolkoff — owner of the building — from razing it.
The paint-spattered building, which has drawn thousands of art fans to Long Island City, is up for demolition with a large, mixed-use development set to be put in its place.
5Pointz, the graffiti mecca in Long Island City, has been spared for another two weeks after a judge reviewed the lawsuit seeking to block its destruction, filed by 16 artists who have their work on the building.
“The artists were very pleased, they were very happy and I think it gave some of them some hope,” Jeannine Chanes, one of the attorneys representing the artists, said.
One of 5Pointz curator Jonathan “Meres” Cohen’s more recent works, “7 Angle Time Lapse” is an oversized art piece featured on four surfaces of the graffitied building. Meres’ copyright registration is pending before the United States Copyright Office.
The group of artists and supporters for the aerosol mecca 5Pointz sat uncomfortably in their seats as they waited for Judge Block to call their case number on Oct. 17.
Many wore 5Pointz T-shirts and jeans which, despite the clean, professional setting of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn, did not make them look out of place.
Art is in the eyes of the beholder. And last Thursday, Federal District Court Judge Frederic Block kind of agreed, and issued a 10-day temporary restraining order to the 16 graffiti artists who have filed a lawsuit in an attempt to save the art they painted on 5Pointz, the “Graffiti Mecca” of the art world, by stopping the demolition of the buildings located in Long Island City.
In a brilliant legal argument presented by Jeannine Chanes and Roland Acevedo, the two lawyers who are representing the artists, the plaintiffs argue that destroying the artwork is in violation of the Visual Artists Rights Act and copyright law.
Two graffiti artists working on a piece along Jackson Avenue in Long Island City. Supporters of the building known as 5Pointz have filed a lawsuit against the owners of the building on the grounds of copyright and Visual Artists Rights Act infringement.
Despite a recent City Council vote granting a variance to raze the building referred to as 5Pointz, artists and art supporters are trying to keep the mustard-colored building adorned with aerosol art.
“This is not about just losing artwork on the walls,” said Marie Cecile Flageul, who works closely with the artists of 5Pointz. “We have schools, art programs and tourists who come here every day, year round. Where are the schools going to go? There is no place else.”
The Astoria peninsula that protrudes into the East River called Hallets Point will soon be transformed into a flourishing cosmopolitan area complete with residential towers, a riverfront esplanade and businesses.
In addition to two other major development proposals in Queens — the proposal for Willets Point in Corona and 5Pointz in Long Island City — the City Council approved Lincoln Equities’ $1 billion Hallets Point project on Oct. 10.
The variance proposal that the owners of the empty warehouse known as 5 Pointz submitted was approved to create a mixed-use complex.
The City Council unanimously voted in favor of a land-use variance to transform a warehouse adorned with aerosol art, known as 5 Pointz, into a mixed-use residential complex with artist studios, commercial businesses and a park on Wednesday.
The final decision is no doubt a disappointment to the artists and art enthusiasts for the graffitied 5 Pointz building who gathered on Oct. 3, along with their opponents, in a drastically different setting from the spray-painted walls of the warehouse in Long Island City: the City Council chamber.