Tag Archives: 5Pointz

Councilman Ulrich allocates $25K to clean up graffiti in district


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Cross Bay Boulevard can draw comparisons to 5Pointz with the amount of graffiti that has stricken its surrounding neighborhoods, but clean-up is on the way.

In his discretionary budget, Councilman Eric Ulrich has allocated $25,000 to graffiti clean-up in the district. Ulrich is teaming up with the Queens Economic Development Corporation (EDC), which will choose a company for the clean-up, for the first time and is hoping to start the job next month.

Cleaning up graffiti in these neighborhoods and all of Council District 32 is something that Ulrich has funded throughout his time as councilman, but this year he has allocated more money than ever to hit even more problem areas, according to Rudy Giuliani, a representative for the councilman.

The focus areas that Ulrich outlined are the neighborhoods of Woodhaven and Ozone Park. This is where graffiti is the biggest problem in Ulrich’s district, Giuliani said. The company that is hired by the Queens EDC will then move on to other areas in the district, which include Howard Beach, Lindenwood and the Rockaways.

 

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5Pointz demolition expected to begin in August: reports


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

The Long Island City site which once was home to the graffiti mecca known as 5Pointz could soon be gone.

Jerry Wolkoff, owner of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, said he hopes to begin demolishing the buildings in August after initially wanting to have started tearing down the site months ago, according to published reports. The demolition is expected to take up to three months to finish.

Wolkoff and his company, G&M Realty, 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.

In October, the City Council approved the developer’s proposal to build apartment towers to larger dimensions than allowed by current zoning rules.

Last November, Wolkoff ordered to have the building and all the aerosol work that covered it painted white overnight only a few days after artists and supporters held rallies looking to save the graffiti mecca and requesting the site be landmarked.

Wolkoff previously said the towers would include about 20 artist studios and outdoor walls designated for artists.

Wolkoff did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

 

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LIC nonprofit reaches Kickstarter goal


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy Local Project

One Long Island City nonprofit will be able to keep its home after a successful online campaign.

Local Project, a nonprofit arts organization, started the fundraising on Kickstarter last month with a goal of raising $6,100 in order to help pay two months of rent. As of Tuesday, June 8, with three days still left in the campaign, the group surpassed the goal.

“I feel extremely accomplished. I’m extremely happy and super hopeful that everything is going to continue to go great,” said Carolina Peñafiel, founder and director of Local Project. “This is just a great thing for people to feel empowered and driven to continue working on our plan. It feels safe for a little bit.”

After having to move from its headquarters located at 45-10 Davis St. in Long Island City inside the warehouse of 5Pointz building, the group faced a 50 percent rent increase when making the move to a new site at 11-27 44th Rd.

Now with having met the goal, the organization will have time to move to its next step in creating a strategic plan and put it into place to ensure it thrives for more years to come, Peñafiel said.

Even with the Kickstarter campaign coming to an end on July 12, the group will still continue to collect money through fundraising and also an “El Hot Dog Boogie Rent Party” on Friday, July 11, starting at 7 p.m.

“Anything that comes in is extra and it helps us even more. It’s not over, that money will go to a safe place and keep us safe for a little longer,” Peñafiel said.

The party will feature music by local DJs, hot dogs and sauces by Pao & Cha Cha restaurant located at 23-03 Astoria Blvd., bread from Tom Cat Bakery located at 43-05 10th St., and beer from Lagunitas Brewing Company. There will be a $20 deal for two hot dogs and unlimited beer.

“It’s a way of celebrating to say thank you to people and celebrate. It’s part of the summer season at Local Project,” Peñafiel said.

Local Project also has a brand-new shared office/studio/co-working space for rent. The space was built using recycled materials and created by Long Island City artist Cristian Torres. For more information on the space click here.

Since starting in 2003, Local Project has offered exhibitions, mentoring programs, classes, co-working space, residencies for artists and much more.

Future plans for Local Project includes year-long exhibitions, events, a co-working space, mentorship for new curators and artists, a continuing partnership and student internships with the Information Technology High School in Long Island City and MoMA, and affordable creative workshops.

To donate to the Kickstarter until July 12, click here.

 

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Astoria’s The POP BAR to debut with July 4 bash, hot dog eating contest


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano


Something new is popping in Astoria.

This Fourth of July, The POP BAR, located at 12-21 Astoria Blvd., is making its debut in the western Queens neighborhood during a grand opening “Backyard Bash,” including live music, cold drinks and a hot dog eating contest.

Visitors to the establishment, owned by Astoria resident Jeremy B. Osslund, will be welcomed by a one-of-a-kind colorful façade designed by 5Pointz aerosol artist Shiro.

Inside, more large work from the Japanese artist covers the wall above the door and spreads onto surrounding walls over seating booths. The bar top was done by graffiti artist YESONE, and in front of the bar, another wall is covered in over 700 pages ripped out of “Betty and Veronica” comic books.

“I’ve always sort of had a little bit of obsession with graffiti and 5Pointz and it has a special place in my heart,” Osslund said. “When I reached out to Meres, it was right after 5Pointz got whitewashed and I was like, ‘Let’s have a place where graffiti artists in general can actually come and put their work up.’ And celebrate the entire artistic history of Long Island City and Astoria.”

The POP BAR also features a gallery in the front, which until the end of August will include work by Shiro, YESONE, and Jonathan “Meres One” Cohen, curator and CEO of 5Pointz. All pieces are available for sale, and every two months, the gallery will change to feature different art forms by various artists.

Osslund, originally from Arizona, previously had worked as a consultant helping people open their own hospitality or food establishments. However, he then decided to follow what he was passionate about since a young age and opened his own location in the community he has called home for the past five years.

“There’s a future here, a very bright future,” said Osslund, who hopes opening The POP BAR will only be the beginning to building the neighborhood. “I’m really excited to show people my idea of what a good menu and drinks and a good time is, and hopefully everyone agrees.”

The establishment’s food is what Osslund calls “Pacific surf inspired” and mostly uses ingredients purchased from local vendors. The drink menu includes selections like a “Pimms Cup” that uses mint leaves grown right in the backyard of the bar. Along with indoor seating, the site also features a backyard seating area.

Along with the artwork up front, The POP BAR will also have movies playing on the backyard every day, with no sound, and on weekends will turn the sound up to show movies and an array of ‘90s TV shows.

Keeping up with the emphasis on pop culture, Tuesdays, which will be known as Tequila Tuesday, will offer $5 shots of tequila called “Bill Murrays” and movies with the actor will be show all day.

“POP is a word, it’s a verb, it’s an adjective, it’s everything. What is pop?” Osslund said. “Pop is a feeling you get, it’s the excitement when you are waiting for a bottle of champagne to pop, it’s after it pops and the thrill. Pop can be anything.”

The July 4 Backyard Bash begins at 5 p.m. and will feature music from the local band Another Dead Clown and a hot-dog-eating contest starting at 8:30 p.m. Artists will be present as well.

The POP BAR will be opened from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays, and 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. on weekends. For more information visit www.thepopbar.com.

 

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LIC nonprofit Local Project turns to Kickstarter to survive


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of Local Project

After having to move out of the building that housed 5Pointz, one nonprofit is turning to Kickstarter to help stay at the site it has called home for the past few months.

Local Project, a nonprofit arts organization, has offered exhibitions, mentoring programs, classes, co-working space, residencies for artists and much more since starting in 2003. It previously had its headquarters and gallery at 45-10 Davis St. in Long Island City inside the warehouse of the graffiti mecca.

After the property’s owners decided to sell the location to construct two high-rise apartment buildings, members of Local Project were left wondering where to go and were excited when they found a new location at 11-27 44th Rd.


Local Project’s new location at 11-27 44th Rd. (Photo by Carolina Peñafiel)

However, after having to deal with a 50 percent rent increase, the nonprofit needs help raising money to pay two months of rent in order to continue being part of the community.

“It’s a New York problem, paying rent,” said Carolina Peñafiel, founder and director of Local Project. “We’re hoping to be able to breathe. We didn’t expect it to be so hard to get back on track. ”

The organization started a Kickstarter “Buy a Brick” campaign Thursday with a goal to raise $6,100 by July 12. As of Friday afternoon, $1,045 has been raised.

Supporters will receive gifts after donating on Kickstarter including a personalized brick on Local Project’s supporters’ wall, with a $25 pledge or more.

“It’s a new location, it’s a different crowd, there’s no 5Pointz in here that can back us up,” Peñafiel said. “Now we’re building this up again. Everyone that comes in lives in the area and they appreciate what we are doing.”

Once Local Project meets their goal Peñafiel said the organization would then be able to have time to create a strategic plan and put it into place to ensure it thrives for more years to come.

Future plans for Local Project include year-long exhibitions, events, a co-working space, mentoring for new curators and artists, a continuing partnership and student internships with the Information Technology High School in Long Island City and MoMA, and creative affordable workshops.

“We’re looking at this very positive,” Peñafiel said. “The horizon looks awesome and there are all of these opportunity and all of these great things we want to get back to work on.”

To donate to the Kickstarter, click here.

 

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5Pointz artists share their ‘whitewash’ experience through work in LIC exhibit


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Orestes Gonzalez

A group of 5Pointz artists have put their emotions and experiences on canvas, reflecting the day they found their graffiti mecca hidden behind white paint.

The artists, including 5Pointz curator and CEO Jonathan “Meres One” Cohen, have come together for an exhibition called “Whitewash” at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery, located at 21-37 45th Rd., just one block away from where 5Pointz once existed.

The show, which begins Saturday, features eight 5Pointz artists, who had major pieces on the building before it was covered in white paint, and two photographers, for a total of 58 pieces.

Each artwork dives deep into the emotions and experiences each individual faced on November 19, when the owners of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, the Wolkoff family, ordered the building to be painted white overnight.

Gallery owner and 10 year Long Island City resident Jeffrey Leder said that although many people question why he decided to showcase an exhibit featuring aerosol art, he said he wanted the artists to be recognized and to show visitors that their works are considered art.

“It was a sad end to an era here in Long Island City and I think the story needed to be told and the best way to tell the story is to create artwork,” Leder said.

Along with Cohen, the other artists included are Auks, Cortes, Jerms, Just One, Shiro, See TF, Topaz, Zimad and photographers Orestes Gonzalez and Hans Van Rittern.

Marie-Cecile Flageul, curator of the exhibit and 5Pointz spokeswoman, said they had wanted to do a “whitewash” show and keeping it Long Island City was important.

“I think it is extremely impacting for people exiting or coming to the gallery to…see a building that is still standing after four months, so you’re putting it in context,” Flageul said.

The show served as a method of healing and letting go of pain and looking ahead to the future, she said.

Cohen, who dealt with the loss of 5Pointz and his mother all within one month from each other, said although some of his pieces express the anger and frustration he felt when he woke up November 19, the process of creating the pieces for the show was also therapeutic.

“The exhibit to me was a good closure and way to vent, so I found it helped me to relate my feelings to the people that knew of 5Pointz and are devastated by its whitewash,” Cohen said.

He took his signature light bulbs, which normally are yellow and known to be funny, and made them white for the show to depict the “ghoulish” tone of the whitewash.

One of the last pieces he finished for the exhibit was a colorful collaboration between him and artist Shiro, which shows one of the female artist’s iconic characters blowing light bulb bubbles expressing hope and a happy look into the future.

“This is how we communicate best. This is what brings us all together and it did again,” he said. “Over there the walls were what helped tie us together and here are the canvases that are tying us together.”

Each piece in the show is on sale, including wine bottles, donated by Gianna Cerbone-Teoli of Manducatis Rustica, featuring labels designed by Cohen. “Whitewash” will run through June 8.

 

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Artist behind 5Pointz banner hopes to open dialogue on gentrification


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Andy Kim

A duo of Brooklyn artists hope their recent stop in Long Island City will help open the door to a solution.

Artists gilf! and BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) collaborated on Sunday to put a large yellow caution tape, about 3 feet wide and a few hundred feet long, around the Jackson Avenue side of the building which was once home to 5Pointz, with the words “Gentrification in Progress.”

Gilf!, who just goes by her artist name, said it was sad to see the 5Pointz group fight for so long to keep the graffiti mecca alive and in the end just watch it be whitewashed. She believes small businesses are what bring character to New York City, and she has been speaking out against gentrification for a while.

The artist said she had been speaking with BAMN about wanting to create a piece for 5Pointz and following another one of her shows against gentrification, the duo made it to Long Island City.

“I hope people will talk about what gentrification means to them and if it’s something that affects them. And if it is, what are they willing to do about it,” gilf! said. “I use my art to facilitate the dialogue that I think is important or is being swept under the rug.”

She also said she hopes the piece, which was taken down about 36 hours later, will open a door for discussion and bring different people together to come up with an answer.

“If anywhere in the world is going to come up with a solution for this, it’s going to be New York,” she said.

After a long fight to save 5Pointz, years of art was erased overnight last year. The owners of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, the Wolkoff family, ordered the action to be taken in November. Rallies were held throughout that same month to save the site, including a gathering only three days before the whitewashing, requesting the building, with its art, be landmarked.

Since the whitewashing, the demolition process has slowly begun, with signs of asbestos removal crews at the location.

Although residents have called the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and 3-1-1 with complaints, a DEP spokesperson said that all work being done is in compliance with regulations.

Asbestos abatement is taking place on the side located at 45-50 Davis St. by contractors hired by the buildings’ owners. DEP inspectors issued one stop work order, for less than 24 hours, after an inspection on March 2, for minor corrections, said the spokesperson. The issues were corrected and the order was lifted the following day.

Since then, DEP inspectors have gone and supervised the work being done, as a normal procedure.

“We have been there a few times because we keep receiving complaints about it,” the DEP spokesperson said. “But everything has been in compliance there.”

 

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‘Gentrification in Progress’ banner appears on 5Pointz building


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER

Two artists are making sure their voices are heard as the demolition of the buildings that were once home to 5Pointz continues.

Artists gilf! and BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) collaborated to put a large yellow tape around the Jackson Avenue side of the Long Island City building with the words “Gentrification in Progress,” according to a Twitter post. The banner was reported on the site Sunday morning.

After a long fight to save 5Pointz, the LIC graffiti mecca, years of art was whitewashed overnight last year. The owners of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, the Wolkoff family, ordered the action to be taken in November. Rallies were held throughout that same month to save the site, including a gathering just three days before the whitewashing, requesting the building with its art be landmarked.

Since the whitewashing, the demolition process has slowly begun with signs of asbestos removal crews at the location.

 

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LIC plumber uses tools of the trade to create unique art pieces


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Orestes Gonzalez

When Long Island City resident Cristian Torres is on the job as a plumber, he sees more than just pipes and pressure gauges.

The 41-year-old Argentinian native has been a plumber since he was 17 years old. He made his way to the United States for the first time in 2001. Since then he has been creating pieces of art from material he knows and uses on the job.

“When I was young enough I was doing little things: I always had the [desire] to build little stuff,” said Torres, who remembers first building small pieces for his nieces and nephews. “Every time I see something I think, ‘with that thing, I can make this, I can make that.’”

When he isn’t plumbing, Torres, who has been living in Long Island City for the past four years, is an artist/sculptor specializing in pipe design. He used to work out of the Davis Street building shared with 5Pointz.

The father of two uses materials such as pipes, aluminum shields, copper coils and gauges to create lamps, light fixtures, sculptures and other art pieces.

Yet Torres creates these pieces with more on his mind than just adding to his collection. The artist said he uses the struggles he personally faces or sees happen in life to influence his various pieces.

“I create things always with the concept of not just using the plumbing material, but having the concept of anxiety,” he said. “I’m trying to express what I’ve seen in my life. It’s more than what they look like.”

One series Torres has been working on for the past seven years follows the theme of expressing anxiety, and was influenced by Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.” The artwork in the series is set on copper shields, with pressure gauges and other metal pieces welded on to form the screaming face.

Torres also creates light fixtures and sculptures with sewing machines from the 1900s and temperature/pressure gauges, which he uses to symbolize time.

“I felt like I was liberating myself from a lot of stuff,” he said. “One of the major traumas [of] the [human] being I think is time because we think we are never going to die or get old. That’s why I’m trying to use gauges all over.”

Torres currently works on his pieces in a building shared with numerous other artists, as part of the nonprofit Long Island City arts group known as Local Project, located at 11-27 44th Road. He plans on showing his pieces at upcoming art shows, but dates are still to be determined.

“I hope people just appreciate it [my art],” he said. “It’s not just something functional, because when you buy something like this, handmade or created by someone, it’s always a little bit more than that.”

Even though he has created various pieces of artwork with meaning behind each piece, Torres said he calls himself a plumber before an artist. 

“I enjoy what I do,” he said.

To see some of Torres’ pieces visit his website and if you are interested in purchasing an item, contact the artist at plumbingart1@gmail.com.

 

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5Pointz artists bring aerosol art to Long Island not-for-profit center


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Two months after the 5Pointz building was whitewashed overnight, the artists are still going strong now presenting their artwork at a Long Island not-for-profit art center.

The group of artists, including 5Pointz curator and CEO Jonathan Cohen known as “Meres One,” have come together for an art show called “WALL WORKS: The Art of Graffiti” at the Gold Coast Arts Center, located at 113 Middle Neck Rd. in Great Neck.

The opening reception for the show was held on Sunday, which marked the two month anniversary of what 5Pointz spokesperson Marie Cecile Flageul calls the “criminal whitewash.”

“Today is two months following the criminal whitewash and nothing has happened to the building, so to us it’s a way to keep the light on as well,” said Flageul.

5Pointz was whitewashed overnight on Nov. 19, after owners of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street in Long Island City, the Wolkoff family, ordered the action.

The artists were invited to present their art at the not-for-profit organization and thought the location made perfect sense because 5Pointz is also a not-for-profit group and had a lot of programs inclined to children just like the Gold Coast Arts Center, said Flageul.

She also said there are numerous art shows by 5Pointz artists planned for throughout the year.

The Long Island art show, which was curated by newly appointed gallery curator and Long Island City resident Jude Amsel, features aerosol art on small to large canvases, walls of the gallery, subway maps, real street signs and many more. The show also features a white sculpture by Hunt Rodriguez called “Rest in Power 5Pointz” which people can sign, leaving a piece of them with the art.

“I don’t think the reach of this culture has fully gotten out to Long Island,” said Cohen, whose pieces in the show include a series of five different canvases each depicting one of the boroughs with elements that stood out to the artist. “5Pointz is on a pause state right now, but it will start again. It is a positive program, so it’s good to let people see that there is some artistic ability and talent that go into this and it isn’t the perceived negative thing that everyone thinks.”

All the pieces in the show are for sale and 35 percent of the sales go to the Gold Coast Arts Center, with the remaining amount going towards the artists.

“WALL WORKS: The Art of Graffiti”  also features works from Carols “See TF” Game, Luis “Zimad” Lamboy, Shiro, John Paul O’Grodnick, Veronique Barrillot and Kid Lew. The show is on display until March 2.

 

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Several arrested for tagging whitewashed 5Pointz


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

A day after 5Pointz was covered in white paint, a group of young fans were arrested and charged for tagging the once aerosol art covered building.

Three individuals were arrested and slapped with graffiti and criminal mischief charges after being caught writing on the building, located at 22-50 Jackson Avenue, on Wednesday at approximately 5:50 p.m. with black magic markers, according to the NYPD. William Romero, 20, William Marple, 26 and a 16-year-old girl were issued tickets but released.

A 13-year-old boy was also later arrested at 7:38 p.m. and charged with making graffiti, criminal mischief and possession of a graffiti instrument, said police.

On Thursday, at approximately 2:11 a.m., police arrested a 20-year-old man at the same site and charged with making graffiti, criminal mischief and eight counts of possession of a graffiti instrument.

In response to a Twitter message at approximately 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday, calling for 5Pointz fans to come out and tag the building, 5Pointz tweeted “we [are] asking respectfully for the building to remain white, please respect our wish.”

“We need to figure out a solution to give fans an outlet where they can [express] their farewell…,’” 5Pointz tweeted later that same day.

The 5Pointz Twitter account, in a tweet on Thursday, at approximately 5:38 a.m., said that it had witnessed the last pieces of aerosol art being washed away in white paint, including a possible salvageable piece on plywood.

“Such a waste/genocide complete,” said the tweet.

 

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Vigil pays tribute to 5Pointz


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND ANGY ALTAMIRANO

Updated Wednesday, November 20, 11:10 a.m. 

Artists and fans from all over the city came together Tuesday evening to pay respect to the Long Island City graffiti mecca 5Pointz after it was whitewashed overnight.

As part of the vigil, attendees gathered on the loading dock, lit candles, put up artwork on canvases and signed pieces of paper taped to the walls.

Stefanie Nava, a Long Island City resident who always used to come to 5Pointz in the summer, lit a candle and placed it along the wall.

“I’ve been here for hours,” she said.

“It’s just really sad and incredibly depressing. Nobody can believe it.”

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A graffiti artist known by the tag “Share 37″ said he has had 12 pieces at 5Pointz in the past two years and works around the block.

“I was shocked. I didn’t think it was going to happen this fast,” he said.

“It’s just such a blow to the graffiti world,” said another artist known as “JUST” of the WF CREW.

“When you see it you say ‘gee, what are you going to do now?” he continued. “5Pointz rest in peace.”

During the vigil 5Pointz Curator Jonathan Cohen told attendees they still plan on suing the landlord, Jerry Wolkoff, in federal court. He also said they need hundreds of people to show up to the court house the next time and let everyone know 5Pointz means a lot to “the whole community, not just hip-hop, not just graffiti writers, but the community.”

“I think it’s about time that we all step up in court and let the judge know that this is not the way to go by,” said Cohen. “He [Wolkoff] just did what 16 year old kids do at night time and do illegal vandalism and he did it in front of police, in front of everyone, in front of people on the train and got away with it and he’s not going to get away with it. I’ll fight in the court till the end.”

 

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5Pointz GONE: Graffiti mecca painted over; vigil to be held


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER

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.”

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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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Supporters hold rally to save 5Pointz


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos and video by Angy Altamirano

The fight to save 5Pointz is not over.

Days after a Brooklyn judge issued a ruling against a request of preliminary injunction looking to protect the aerosol art on the graffiti mecca, hundreds from all over the five boroughs gathered at the Long Island City site to rally and show support.

The judge also dissolved a restraining order, allowing the Wolkoff family, owners of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, 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.

“New York is kind of boring right now, they’re overdeveloping, they’re building these glass tissue boxes that are made cheap, have no souls and they’re destroying all our communities,” said Jonathan Cohen, 5Pointz curator, during the November 16 rally. “This is the heart of Long Island City community.”

According to the artists, as of November 13 they can no longer paint on the building and anyone found doing so will be arrested.

“I’m here till the end, I’ll fight till the last day,” said Cohen. “I’m making a promise to you today. I will let you people know if the fight is over. It is not over. He won a battle in a big war and it’s far from over.”

During the rally, artists and supporters shared their favorite 5Pointz memories. Some artists also sold T-shirts, stickers and canvases with their tags and art pieces to raise money for legal and operating costs. Volunteers walked around asking everyone to fill out a “Request for Evaluation” to the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to ask for the 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center Inc., located at 45-46 Davis Street, to become a landmark. Over 1,000 forms were signed.

MORE PHOTOS FROM THE RALLY

“This is the most beautiful building in the world, more than the Taj Mahal, because this building is a regular building that we made beautiful,” said Angel Del Villar, one of the speakers at the rally.

“There are a million people that want this building to stay up, across the country and across the world.”

Although the day brought in a peaceful gathering of supporters of all ages and backgrounds, Marie Cecile Flageul, a 5Pointz spokesperson, said she found the police presence at the rally to be ridiculous and unnecessary as she saw squad cars, large numbers of officers and barricades being brought into the area. She also said she was told the presence was due to a call received reporting a riot or march that had to be contained.

“The profiling is getting old,” said Flageul.

The presence got lighter as the day went on and the rally went on with no disturbances.

“We were able to tell people in our own words that it’s not over,” said Flageul. “That’s our god-given and constitutional right.”

The artists hope to organize another rally at an indoor venue before December 15.

Jeannine Chanes, a lawyer for the 5Pointz artists, previously told The Courier the initial lawsuit filed by the group will still continue. She also said they will consider appealing the ruling on their preliminary injunction request, based on a written opinion by the judge, which still has not been issued.

The Wolkoffs and their attorney, who were not at the rally, did not respond to comment as of press time.

 

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5Pointz supporters not giving up after judge’s ruling


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File photo

Updated 5:45 p.m. : 

Although a Brooklyn judge has given 5Pointz the thumbs down, artists and supporters are still not giving up.

Judge Frederic Block of the Brooklyn Federal Court issued a ruling on Tuesday against a request of preliminary injunction by Jonathan Cohen, curator at 5Pointz, and a group of 16 other aerosol artists, which sought protection for the hundreds of unique artworks at the site. The judge also ruled to dissolve the restraining order, which was initially granted in October and then extended a few weeks later.

Lifting the restraining order means the Wolkoff family, owners of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, and developer G&M Realty can now continue with any pre-demolition activities at the site.

As of press time, according to the artists, they are no longer allowed to paint on any part of the building and any artist who does will be arrested.

The developers hope to build two apartment towers – one 47 stories and the other 41 stories tall – with nearly 1,000 rental apartments, 32,000 square feet of outdoor public space and 50,000 square feet of retail space between them.

According to Jeannine Chanes, a lawyer for the 5Pointz artists, the initial lawsuit filed by the group will still continue and they hope to get a trial. She also said they will consider appealing the ruling on their preliminary injunction request, based on a written opinion issued by the judge.

One of the important messages Marie Cecile Flageul, a 5Pointz spokesperson, hopes to get out is that although the judge ruled against their preliminary injunction, it does not mean 5Pointz will be demolished any time soon. She said the temporary restraining order was to protect the pieces of art that cover the building, not to put a stop to the demolition. She said a demolition permit still needs to be issued and things such as asbestos and rodents need to be removed from the building.

“Now we are really concerned because of the damage that can be done to the artwork. But as far as the building going down – no it’s not,” said Flageul. “You have to tell kids with tears, artists in a panic, ‘don’t panic, it’s not a done deal yet.’ At the end of the day, there are no wrecking balls at 5Pointz.”

She also said that the artists are still in the building until next month, and there are residential and commercial tenants that still have until January to move out.

“The building is not going to go down before 2014,” she said.

Developers agreed with the City Council to build and staff the two buildings with 100 percent union workers, bringing more than 1,000 jobs to Long Island City, and also increase the number of affordable housing units from 75 to 210.

5Pointz will hold a rally at the building on Saturday, November 16 at 3 p.m. to assure supporters that their voices matter and that the fight will continue, said Flageul.

“We are going to celebrate the building and show the people that as long as we are not giving up, no one should give up,” she said.

 

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