Early Tuesday morning, a warehouse building in Long Island City, Queens, had its exterior walls painted white.
This would usually not be notable. But for the past 20 years, the 109-year-old building, lovingly-known as 5 Pointz, had been a refuge for New York’s graffiti and street artists who lived, worked and exhibited in the space. Tourists by the busload flocked to see four brick stories colorfully—and legally—covered by the spray paint, sharpies and chalk of over 1500 artists from France, Japan, Brazil and beyond. Street art aficionados noted their favorite tags, while others took in the Aztecan-meets-Keith Haring murals or off-kilter, post-apocalyptic scenes. But it all disappeared on Tuesday.
5 Pointz will soon be demolished and replaced by high rise towers with 1,000 luxury apartments, 50,000 square feet of retail space, and 30,000 square feet of outdoor space. Amenities include views of the Manhattan skyline, a quick commute into the city via the 7, C or M trains, nearby MoMA P.S. 1 and bragging rights to be living in the former 5 Pointz location.
In addition to local coverage in The New York Times, The Village Voice and Gothamist, the story has also been covered by international news organizations like France 24 and The Guardian. And earlier this year, 5 Pointz’s four-month tribute “Celebrating 40 years of Hip Hop” revisited the connections between street art and music that groundbreaking films like Wild Style and Style Wars did 30 years before.
We’d love to hear your take on the story. Had you been to 5 Pointz before Tuesday? What are your thoughts about graffiti, street art, music and urban development?