After months of public rallies and petitioning against the decision, the landmark graffiti space known as 5 Pointz in Queens, New York has been approved for demolition following an October 9 decision by the New York City Council officially permitting a developer’s plan to construct a 1,000 unit apartment complex in its place.
The complex, a development of G&M Realty, is slated to include two high-rise apartment buildings, one 47 stories tall and the other 41 stories, in a space formerly occupied by one of the world’s preeminent graffiti attractions. The planned development is slated to include hundreds of luxury apartments and a smaller number of affordable housing units.
While the demolition has yet to officially commence, hundreds of pieces of graffiti were painted over yesterday (November 19), as per reports by The New York Post and NY Daily News. The Post’s story reports that the “owners of 5 Pointz had the graffiti Mecca in Long Island City whitewashed overnight.” Pictures of the recently painted over 5 Pointz can be seen below via a Tweet from New York Public Radio WNYC’s Twitter account.
— WNYC (@WNYC) November 19, 2013
The widescale painting over of much of the featured graffiti comes as the latest news in a long-string of public developments over the space. Late last month a group of local artists successfully petitioned for a “10-day restraining order…insuring [sic] that building-owners G&M Realty will have to wait…to put wrecking ball to concrete” per a report by Huffington Post. Per the Huffington Post’s late-October story, the artists and their lawyer “[hoped] that the temporary restraining order [would] give them the time needed to obtain a temporary and eventually a permanent injunction against G&M Realty. The artists [were] suing on the grounds that demolition of the mural-covered building would damage their work and careers under the terms of the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990.”
The NY Daily News reported that on November 12 a Federal Judge rejected a permanent injunction to avoid the building’s planned demolition.
Sacha Jenkins Says Removing 5 Pointz Will Leave A “Gaping New Hole In The Heart Of The City”
In a statement issued exclusively to HipHopDX today (November 20), longtime music journalist, graffiti fan and member of the Rap-Punk band The White Mandingos Sacha Jenkins addressed the recent series of events. “5 Pointz was a great success and an important step in developing America’s appreciation for the graffiti—or, what we purists call the, writing movement,” Jenkins said in his statement. “Why so many American cities front on creating environments like 5 Pointz is beyond me, but hopefully New York’s new mayor will step up with some kind [of] answer to this gaping new hole in the heart of the city.”
Jenkins’ comments refer to the recent election of New York City’s Mayor Elect, Bill De Blasio.
The planned demolition will put an end to a history spanning more than 20 years in which 5 Pointz served as a city-sanctioned outdoor exhibition space for graffiti artists. Proponents of the project have long championed the owner of the building’s provision of a formal space for graffiti artists to conduct their artwork as well as a safe alternative to illegal painting.
As HipHopDX reported earlier this year, founder of the 5 Pointz collective, Jonathan Cohen, commented on the then-speculated plans for redevelopment. “If it were to happen, it would be no different than tearing down the MOMA or the Guggenheim,” Cohen said in reference to two of New York City’s more prestigious fine-art museums. “It is not just any other building with graffiti on it. It is the epicenter for graffiti artists from all over the world.”