CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND ANGY ALTAMIRANO
5Pointz is no more.
The Long Island City graffiti mecca was washed away in white paint overnight just a couple days after hundreds of artists and other supporters attended a rally to save it. Some remnants of the aerosol art can still be seen, but the battle to save 5Pointz has been lost.
The owners of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, the Wolkoff family, ordered the overnight painting to take place, according to Marie Cecile Flageul, a 5Pointz spokesperson and 5Pointz attorney, Jeannine Chanes.
“I know it’s real but I can’t believe it. He [Jerry Wolkoff] disrespected thousands of artists overnight,” Flageul said holding back tears. “It’s crazy when you think about it because we’re supposed to be the vandals. He’s the vandal.”
According to Flageul, the paint crew, along with police protection, arrived at the site around 1 a.m. on Tuesday, November 19 and finished painting the building around 7 a.m. She received a call about the painting at 6 a.m. and got to the site with 5Pointz curator Jonathan Cohen at 6:30 a.m. still seeing painters cover the walls. The two tried to enter the loading dock of the building, she said, but were stopped and asked for identification.
“I’m disgusted,” said Cohen, who now plans on moving out of Long Island City. “Jerry, congratulations. Enjoy your moment and realize long after you’re gone your son will live on with this legacy and his son will live on with that legacy and no one is going to talk to you about anything you built real estate wise but they’ll remember you for this.”
Both Flageul and Cohen said there was no city permit from the Department of Building for the painting, no safety workers and caution tape during the six hours of painting.
As news broke out of the painting, fans and artists were left in shock after having been part of a peaceful gathering on Saturday, November 16 where thousands filled out forms to request 5Pointz be landmarked.
“It’s shameful. This is culture, New York is the birth of hip hop and graffiti,” said Juan Sierra, 35, Long Island City resident who saw the white walls after walking by Tuesday morning. “This is what happens when you just don’t care.”
Last week a Brooklyn judge issued a ruling against a request of preliminary injunctions looking to protect the different aerosol pieces found around 5Pointz. The judge also dissolved a restraining order, allowing the owners of the property and developer G&M Realty to continue with any pre-demolition activities at the site.
The developers hope to build two apartment towers – one 47 stories and the other 41 stories tall – with close to 1,000 rental apartments, 32,000 square feet of outdoor public space and 50,000 square feet of retail space between them.
Even with the art gone, the fight will continue, said Chanes. The initial lawsuit filed by the group will still continue and now include claims for the owners destroying evidence while a case is pending, possibly resulting in the Wolkoffs having to pay $150,000 per piece of art. The group will also consider appealing the ruling on their preliminary injunction request, based on a written opinion by the judge.
Cohen said everything gained from the lawsuit will go to building a community center.
A peaceful candlelight vigil will be held for 5Pointz at 5 p.m. Tuesday so people can come to pay respect and say their goodbyes, according to Flageul.
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