Last week, the iconic 5 Pointz Art Center in Long Island City lost another battle in its fight for survival. On August 21, 2013, the New York City Planning Commission unanimously voted to approve development plans for two high-rise residential towers, for which the 5 Pointz building will be demolished. The City Council now has 50 days to approve the Planning Commission’s decision. If the Council does not hand down a decision the project is considered approved. Meanwhile, 5 Pointz advocates continue their petition campaign to have the location landmarked, and are planning a rally.
The demolition of 5 pointz is going to be a tremendous loss for not only graffiti artists, neighborhood residents and businesses, but also for the New York cultural scene as well. 5 Pointz is one of the few promoters of positive street art and education. These walls have served as a legal canvas for thousands of artists since the 1990s, when it originally operated under name “Phun Phactory.” Here, artists may practice their craft, refine technique, experiment, learn from masters, and teach those who are less experienced. There is an atmosphere of collaboration and creativity, and on any given day there are artists at work. Additionally, they hold many special events and cultural programming.
5 Pointz attracts many local and international tourists, as well as art lovers from other NYC boroughs. Across the street from MoMA PS1, this building is an essential part of an artist community and art scene. Unlike many other local venues however, 5 Pointz is free and outdoors. Visible from the street and elevated subway trains, this art is accessible to everyone. This context is fitting for graffiti and street art, which is traditionally seen on the street and in public view.
At any given time, there are hundreds of pieces covering the exterior of this former factory building, all highly-curated by Meres One. Here is a small collection of images from our recent visit:
Although no demolition date is being given as of yet, make sure to visit this amazing place as soon as you can. Check out the next Sidetour to 5Pointz, read our past coverage on Untapped, and stay tuned for more. Get more info at www.5ptz.com and sign their online petition.
Here are some views of the building from the 7 train, a view which may soon be gone:
See more photography from Rachel Fawn Alban.