Artists vs. the World
“I’ve been coming here for years. It’s always been a great place where people will get together for art and peace and positive vibes,” said Rhonda Elhosseiny, gazing up at one of the exuberantly graffitied walls of 5Pointz, the Long Island City warehouse and global graffiti mecca. “But the reason I came today is that we don’t know how much longer it will be up and I wanted to see it again.”
She wasn’t the only one. This past weekend hundreds of visitors, including street art aficionados, hip hop-styled aerosol artists, thickly-accented Queens families, French tourists, Waspy couples pushing strollers and a 20-man crew of middle-aged birthday celebrants all wearing Polo, descended on the 200,000 square foot former factory. They came to take in the bright swirls of spray paint—some so fresh you could still smell the heady tang of chemicals in the air—offer sympathy and pay their last respects to the 5Pointz, which is slated for demolition early next year.
death of culture
The global graffiti mecca known as 5Pointz is no more. Last night, the Wolkoff family, who own the graffiti-covered Long Island City warehouse under the auspices of G&M Realty, sent a team of workers to whitewash over the aerosol art, effectively terminating artists’ long shot bid to save the building from demolition.
Artists vs. the World
For a spray paint-wielding band of graffitists, the Queens street art collective 5Pointz certainly has an impressive nose for obscure legal code. In a frantic effort to remain in their Long Island City warehouse, last week the artists filed a suit in Federal Court against the owner of the warehouse, G&M Realty, citing a violation of the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA), a rarely-invoked bulwark against the faulty attribution and unauthorized alteration of some types of visual art.
THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Is Long Island City the next Murray Hill? Or the next Williamburg? Or has it gone straight from being like the old, before-it-was-cool Williamsburg to the future no-longer-cool because it’s all I-bankers living in luxury towers Williamsburg?
Who knows? Definitely not Long Island City. What Long Island City does know is that it doesn’t want to be Long Island City anymore. It wants to be “LIC,” which will stop tourists from thinking it is on Long Island and therefore, both uncool and really far away.
“It puts us out on Long Island, and that’s inaccurate—we are urban and hip,” Rob MacKay, head of the Queens Local Development Corp told the New York Post about the desired name change.