Last year, on November 18, 2013, New Yorkers woke up to the news that Long Island City street art haven 5Pointz had been whitewashed, following a long effort to save the building and get it landmarked. This past Tuesday night, 5pointz organizers hosted “5 POINTZ Art is life… You can’t trademark the people!” a memorial event to mark the first anniversary of that day.
The phrase “You can’t trademark the people,” is a reference to the artists’ most recent battle with G&M Realty, developers of the site. Building owner Jerry Wolkoff recently tried to trademark the name “5Pointz”, claiming that “5Pointz” refers to the location, and not the artists or artwork. He wants to use the name to market his planned 1000 unit, luxury high rise buildings.
At the event, a crowd of about 150, some traveling from as far as Allentown, PA, came to pay respect to the beloved aerosol art center. Despite the bitter cold and difficult memories, the atmosphere felt upbeat, positive, and supportive. It was a chance for artists, fans, and supporters to spend some quality time together.
We arrived at twilight, and had a chance to walk around the active demolition site. The once magnificent building is now urban ruins.
As evening fell, in preparation for the event, artists Meres One and Danielle Mastrion, with the help of some friends repainted (with permission!) a gate across the street from the site.
By the time the artists finished painting the gate, a crowd had begun to arrive, donning handmade signs and t-shirts, favorite photos of 5 Pointz, and other memorabilia.
Here are more photos of the event: