Just as it seemed like street art was experiencing a rush, New York City developers have announced that Queens’ own graffiti warehouse, 5Pointz, will be bulldozed. To the dismay of street artists and hip-hop fans alike, the “graffiti mecca” will be replaced by high-rises.
Curator Jonathan Cohen (better known by his tag name, “Meres One”) reopened Long Island City’s Phun Phactory in 2001, spending the next five years transforming the warehouse into an epicenter for aerosol art. Now, 5Pointz is home to graffiti from artists around the world, including Stay High 149, Tracy 168, Cope2, Part, and Tats Cru. Notable r&b and hip-hop artists have paid visits to the warehouse as well, and on any given day, spectators can expect a slew of artists, musicians, and photographers.
“The recently announced development plans to convert 5Pointz into a high-rise residential tower and luxury shopping mall came as a great surprise to us all,” the 5 Pointz website reads.
Owner of the warehouse, Jerry Wolkoff, has discussed the possibility of replacing the warehouse with two high-rise residential towers and more than 1,300 residential units. If indeed this occurs, the street art world has compared the loss to losing MOMa or the Guggenheim.
In recent weeks, we’ve seen a slew of old buildings come down as the way is paved for new architecture. Sadly, in many cases, it seems the city has embraced change at the cost of its own history.