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5 Pointz is coming down, as city approves special permit

5pointz in Long Island City Queens

October 9, By Christian Murray

It’s official: The 5 Pointz graffiti icon will be coming down.

The application put forward by G&M Realty to demolish the site and erect 1,000 apartment units–370 more units than what is permitted under current zoning rules—was approved by the New York City Council this afternoon.

The council’s decision to approve the special zoning permit was influenced by an agreement struck between Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and the owners of G&M Realty, Jerry and David Wolkoff.

The Wolkoffs pledged to build and staff the buildings with union workers. Furthermore, they agreed to include 210 affordable apartment units—with a preference for local residents.

With the special zoning permit, the Wolkoffs are now able to develop two residential towers, one 47 stories high and the other 41 stories. They expect to demolish the graffiti mecca by the end of the year—and complete one of the towers by 2015.

The initial plan filed by G&M Realty in April did not include any affordable units. However, the Wolkoffs agreed to provide 75 affordable units following a meeting with Community Board 2 leaders in July—after the board rejected the plan.

The Wolkoffs entered into an agreement with Van Bramer last week to raise the number of affordable units to 210.

5 Pointz development

5 Pointz development

Wolkoff has agreed to build about 20 artists studios—up from the five that he initially proposed when he filed his plan in April. The amount of studio and gallery space equates to about 12,000 square feet. This space is expected to be available to local residents at reasonable rates.

The developers have also agreed to offer the 5 Pointz graffiti group the opportunity to curate the nearly 10,000 square feet of art panels & walls in the building.

“The concessions provided under the compromise [with G&M Realty] will give Western Queens residents as well as artists a wide variety of interactive amenities future generations will benefit from,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said in a statement.

The development will include a public park that is over 32,000 square feet, 50,000 square feet of retail space and a 250 space public parking garage.

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77 Responses »

  1. This is a historic landmark, a piece of culture that directly influenced modern pop.

    >> It is not the birthplace of Hip Hop to those that said it above (that honor goes to my beloved BOOGIE DOWN BRONX) – but there was a direct relationship between Hip Hop’s origins in the Bronx, and of course 5 Pointz. And for the record to Queens, don’t forget your history.

    KRS-ONE announced THE BRIDGE IS OVER back in the 80s. So the young buck Queens kids talking about birthplace of Hip Hop need to revisit modern music and cultural history.

    Queens/Bronx rivalries aside, it is tragic to lose this monument. Curating artwork in the building is the antithesis of everything 5 Pointz stood for. Sorry, but it isn’t a consolation prize or act of mercy by the developers.

    5 Pointz were a land of art – it wasn’t the value dropping scribblings of “toys”, but true legends and pioneers (and many current fantastic artists keeping graffiti alive and not commercializing it like Marc Ecko)

    That said, keep getting up…

  2. This place call to much attention in the last years so is normal some rich people see the opportunity.
    But instead of make of this place a cultural center as always expensive condos come to the mind of the investors…i can really show your how bad investment is this in profits….by the way i never be in Ny.
    I just study this city from 1986 when graffiti change my life and i decide to lear n the most i can to leave my roots on a Slum in Montevideo Uruguay….till i have the opportunity of work with people at high levels from Ny and assist to talks from Artists like Christo.
    Believe me Mr Condo Builder..you are loosing money.

  3. “The developers have also agreed to offer the 5 Pointz graffiti group the opportunity to curate the nearly 10,000 square feet of art panels & walls in the building.”

    Oh, so the art will be private, for (mostly) wealthy people to enjoy…as opposed to art that everybody can see for free from the train. Fuck this shit and fuck city council.

  4. Ax One is NOT a train bomber. Anyone who appreciates graf or graffiti is not in favor of the destruction of their culture for a profit.

    Graf lovers should not be grateful or anything a private owner did. But I understand the desire to sell and make money off of your “investment.”It’

  5. I started do dance and live the HH culture about 5 years ago,im from europe and i was planing to come next years to see it,the money will destroy this world and the culture as the story aswell….

  6. @Frank: “Understand” feels weird saying, gives some odd form of legitimacy; comprehend (maybe) the financial factors at play and it makes my skin crawl.

    I also don’t know how to express the disappointment, but thought we’d hear more noise from those part of the culture – a greater sense that this shouldn’t happen.

    Maybe I’m too sentimental of back when a metropolis was covered in graffiti, colorful subway lines w/ local personality, and riding in between cars in the summer across the boroughs.

    May hap I’m an idiot; but this old kid from the Boogie Down, that remembers when the Bridge Ended and a man Ladies Love took down a Kool elder, is terribly upset. So much damn history there. FFS

  7. You know, I feel like being an arse.

    How about we start picking some landmarks,

    * Old Quaker Meeting House
    * Mount fraking Rushmore
    * The San Jose Church
    * Fairbanks House
    * Newport Tower
    * James Blake House
    * Fort Niagara

    TEAR THEM ALL DOWN! Throw up some fancy modern real estate and we’ll dedicate a remote hall to the landmark. “MOAR” Profit. We get revenue from a hiked up irrational rent from being on a landmark (New Silicon Valley baby, or wait a neo-Tokyo Williamsburg) AND revenue from silly tourists that still think they are experiencing the textile feel of the place.

    Win for all!

    Frak this noise.

  8. As the Hip Hop culture grew since 1970s, the 4 elements of hip hop are bboying, djing, mcing, and graffiti.

    Alot people say that they know what Hip Hop is and only think of Lil Wayne and Drake kind of shit.
    F*ck that shit. If you don’t the 4 elements and act like you know what you are talking about…just shut it.
    There wouldnt be rappers if there were no bboys or the 4 elements of hiphop.
    NYC is tearing down a place where a culture became a worldwide influence. Who said graffiti is illegal? Why does it represent poverty?

    To Mark, I swear that there are graffiti artists that richer than you.
    Graffiti, or Hip Hop itself is an icon for self expression. This culture started in the ghetto and developed worldwide.
    Can you explain to me why this is hoodlum? Why this represents poverty?
    You calling me a hipster? Fine like i gave a fuck….But what i really care is that as time passes by, people are trying to get hold of this culture rather than sharing it to the ones who really need it. This culture is God’s last chance to unite all race, differences, etc. in the name of love and respect. I don’t care if this comment is gonna be taken down or be reported. Im telling what the NYC Council is doing. They are sure killing Hip Hop, a culture that inspired everyone worldwide. NYC Council is fucking up seriously.

    My last message to Mark……We Dont Give A Fuck if this is an icon of poverty, I dont give more fuck if this is like a hipster or ish. People like you……truly dont appreciate what real art is. Artists know what real art is. This place has been representing NYC big worldwide. This place symbolizes our struggle, love, and respect for a culture that can unite all race and religion with respect and love.

    Mark…..people like you destroy Hip Hop so I hope this shuts your fuckin big mouth.

    I’m done here. Peace and love and respect to the pioneers and legends for the Real Hip Hop culture.

    5POINTZ will persevere.

  9. May the host of Biggie Smallz forever haunt the new tenants.

  10. I understand that this land has been bought and it is the owners prerogative to do what they will with their property and this is a business desicion where they need to see a return.

    It is still really unfortunate though that they either understand the significance of the site world wide, have under estimated it’s importance or actually as I suspect the graff just doesn’t have the same value to them.

    The site is in my mind a world heritage site of modern times and represents the most powerful culture in today’s society for all of the people and races it has connected worldwide through art (something spoken about more by alien ness the famous New York Bboy) I totally agree with his viewpoint on how it has changed the world, it connects more people than government and national multicultural initiatives on the basis that we connect through art from our own choice and we choose to partake in this cross culture/cross race, age, sex, creed platform through our own initiative and love for what we do, peace, love,unity and having fun.

    Hip hop is one of New York’s and America’s gift to the world and this site in particular is a Mecca and a beacon for world travellers who attend pilgrimages to New York (I do it annually) to birthplace of a culture which has connected us all and given many of us a voice and outlet for art.

    Whilst occupying Wall Street meant a lot to people occupy 5 pointz would not be a bad thing to attempt, continuos graff, breaking, dj’s and mc’s. Isn’t there a way to have squatters rights in the USA.

    Anyway sorry for going on so much it’s just a shame to see in this day and age that our art whilst used by commercial brands and governments as a vehicle for their messages to the hip hop generations the same brands and government do not have our back on this, it shows that their apparent interest is actually more of a superficial interest time limited to the amount of control or money they can derive from it. Everyone using our art for their own means commercially should be getting involved and having our back in this one. I wonder whether anyone will interject?

  11. Just what we need, another ugly high rise blocking out the sky.

  12. DEVELOPER PLEASE HIRE A WORLD CLASS ARCHITECT OR AT LEAST A CREATIVE ONE!!!!

    The design you have now is embarrassing and subpar.

  13. I would hope that PS-1 Being right down the street would be taking some of those panels off of the building with the Artwork.
    These could easily be transported to different locations and nearby city parks. God knows there are plenty of art spaces and old warehouse buildings in LIC that are out of use There are also plenty of art locations these could be housed fore everyone to see. . Like Socrates Sculpture Park, Reiny Park , Gantry Plaza

  14. I’m a film director from the area and have shot some iconic videos there, please watch and share the legendary spot, long live 5 pointz

    https://vimeo.com/52204939

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVDUvotad3U

  15. I’m from Germany and visited NY in September 2013. Witnessing 5Pointz was awesome to me and one of the greatest moments ever.

    Here in Germany graffiti is apprechiated as art. In New York – the cradle of graffiti art – I soon got the feeling this appreciation is gone everywhere. But at 5Pointz the spirit was still alive.

    For those who understand German here’s an article I wrote about it:
    http://sirpreiss.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/special-5-pointz-in-queens-ny

    I hope 5Pointz will live on in any other form. The former idea of a graffiti museum should still be an option.

    Regards,
    SirPreiss

  16. Agreeing with the comments above. Buiilding another soul less skyrise means NYC loses a landmark that makes new york city the place it is! Regardless of what you “let” them curate or good intentions to provide “affordable” housing or artist studios (c’mon who are they kidding!) These realtors and politicians are only seeing short term dollar signs and ignoring a piece of history that people from all over the world come to see! (Im from New Zealand and came to NYC because it is the birthplace of Hip Hop). 5 Pointz carries an important cultural LEGACY of Hip Hop, one which has united artists, dancers and musicians from all nations and cultures!

    Long Term LIC can make more money from preserving the history and culture of what makes this an important historical place, highlighting and restoring art and culture rather than “modernising” everything so that one city is indistinguishable from the next. There will no longer be a reason for me to bring/recommend ANYONE to go to LIC!

    I hope the “new” building gets graf all over it…. its so ugly anyway, you can tell they just wanna make a quick dollar out of the expense of an iconic monument.

  17. There are ENOUGH condos and expensive places to live in NY. LEAVE 5PTZ ALONE!!!!!

  18. The politicians have been bought off.

  19. This will mean more than ever in a while:
    To the Pointz video recap
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9qxQ5vt9Ns

  20. I can certainly understand the sadness and outrage felt by the hip hop community at the loss of a cultural icon, but some points:

    1. There’s no active intention to shut down/break/what-have-you the hip hop culture here. If there were, a more effective way to do so would be for outlets such as iTunes and record labels to simply drop hip hop music and for Hollywood to stop producing movies like Step Up and such.

    2. As many have pointed out, this simply is a money-making move. No more, no less.

    3. Hoping that the property owner leave it alone in the interest of cultural preservation is a pipe dream if he bought it for millions. A better solution would have seen the richer members of the hip hop community buy the property for themselves and maintained it as-is for the preservation of the culture’s history. Hip hop has made many individuals very wealthy, so I’m not sure why they didn’t step in to save 5 Pointz. They probably still can, with the right offer to the owner (seriously, Jay-Z can buy it on his own).

    4. That the community has forced the owner’s hand to provide more affordable units and a bigger artists’ space can already be seen as victories, considering that even a celebrity-tweeted petition to save 5 Pointz failed to garner the 50,000 signatures it was seeking.

    5. At the very least, people should ask that a whole wall section be preserved and moved elsewhere for preservation purposes. Even if the original building is long gone, part of it still lives on and preserved. Or if that’s not possible, take pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. So future generations would still have a remembrance of 5 Pointz.

    Personally, I’m sad to see it go. I haven’t the money yet to visit 5 Pointz, but I was planning to go.

  21. “Sickened by This Betrayal”: Your comment doesn’t make any sense. The property owner would’ve allowed the artists to keep doing what they do and kept 5 Pointz alive if those artists of yours actually brought in financial value to the owner. No right-minded businessman would tear down something that brings them solid profit margins.

    I won’t argue that those artists brought in cultural value (they did, and they’re great artists), but I have to question the financial value they put in.

  22. I am truly amazed at the ignorance of some people here. Those that oppose allowing someone who owns a property to exercise their right to do with their own building is insane. The building is of zero historical value or it would have been land marked like so many other buildings in the city. It is a regular warehouse that the owners allowed people to spray paint. This was very cool of them to allow that. So now they deserve to be harassed when they want to exercise their right to do what they want with their own property?

    That really moronic!!!!

  23. Those that oppose allowing someone who owns a property to exercise their right to do what they please, with their own building is insane

  24. Please sign my petition to stop the demolition of 5 pointz!!!

    http://chn.ge/19Ku8q2

  25. Most of you morons will love to live in those condos or have a studio.
    This is a knee jerk reaction of people who do not take responsibility for the city to function. It is the working stiffs who make it possible for artistic type to live. Any thoughts?

Trackbacks

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