In early 2012, Inhabitat reported that 5 Pointz, a Long Island City community icon and haven for graffiti artists, was slated for demolition. The building, a former record needle and clothing manufacturing facility, has served as a blank canvas for artists from around the world who are eager to share their talents and leave their mark on New York City. Despite public outcry, developers have been working towards tearing the building down to make room for high-rise luxury condos. And now, according to A/N Blog, those heartbreaking plans are now one step closer to reality: “In spite of Queens Community Board 2′s opposition to the plan, the City Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve a special permit that would allow developer G&M Realty to build a larger structure than permitted by the existing zoning.”
Not surprisingly, artists and community activists feel that tearing down 5 Pointz would be a terrible decision, saying that doing so would destroy a unique piece of history that attracts many visitors to the area.
“It would be a travesty in this neighbourhood,” said graffiti writer Gwiz in a 2012 interview with The Guardian. “A travesty for the community. This is the history of hip-hop, with the music and the break dancing and the art… You would destroy a piece of history.” Gwiz points to an entire display of names of dead writers, legends of New York’s graffiti scene spray painted in pink bubble script along the top of the warehouse.
Once again, however, it appears that giving local graffiti artists a safe place to share their talents will take a back seat to the big bucks that come along with luxury apartments and high income residents. A silver lining might be hard to come by, but at least a few are trying.
DNAinfo reported that Queens Borough President Helen Marshall also came out in favor of the plan with the stipulation that the development include 75 affordable housing units and studio space for artists. Next up, City Council will vote on the permit.
via A/N Blog