The walls have started to come down at the Long Island City site which was once home to the graffiti mecca known as 5Pointz.
Demolition began Friday at the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street as crews teared down the back wall with bulldozers.
Last month, Jerry Wolkoff, owner of the property, said he hoped to begin demolishing the buidlings in August after initially looking to tear down the site months ago. The demolition is expected to take up to three months to finish.
Wolkoff and his company, G&M Realty, plan 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.
Wolkoff ordered to have the building and all the aerosol work that covered it painted white overnight last November, only a few days after artists and supporters held rallies looking to save the graffiti mecca and requested the site be landmarked.
Then earlier this month, Wolkoff released a rendering of a reserved space for graffiti which will be on the new building’s exterior near a rear courtyard, and will be open to the public. However, some artists and 5Pointz supporters are skeptical of the reserved space.
“Who knows what kind of artists it’s going to attract, what’s it’s going to be like and how are they going to manage that,” said Carolina Penafiel of Local Project, a non-profit arts organization which used to be housed in 5Pointz.
Penafiel stopped by the former graffiti mecca to watch the early demolition and reflect on it.
“It’s sad to see that nobody was able to do anything,” she said. “It wasn’t just a building. It was 5Pointz, you know? I don’t think you could build something like this again.”