Court grants 5 Pointz artists a 10-day restraining order, as long-shot battle to save building continues

Photo: By George Burles

Photo: By George Burles

October 17, By Christian Murray

The demolition crew tasked with the job of bulldozing 5 Pointz is going to have to wait–as the 5 Pointz artists were able to convince a Federal Court Judge today to grant them a temporary restraining order, which prohibits the developer from tampering with the building.

The decision follows a lawsuit filed by 17 artists last week against G&M Realty (the owner of the property), which argues that the building cannot be destroyed since it would undermine the plaintiffs’ artwork as defined by the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act.

The lawsuit claims that many pieces of work are recognized throughout the country and the destruction of the artwork would damage the artists.

The District Court judge’s decision to grant a 10-day restraining order was deemed by the plaintiffs as the first step toward getting a permanent injunction.

The plaintiffs hope the judge will come back before October 28 and announce a hearing for a preliminary injunction. At that point, the artists would be called upon to testify.

Jeannine Chanes, the attorney for the artists, said that the artwork should be protected since it was completed post 1990 (when the Act was introduced), is highly acclaimed, and was done with the permission of a property owner. Therefore, she said, the artwork cannot be altered without each artist’s consent.

She said that G&M Realty needs to get a waiver from each of the artists before it can remove their work.

G&M Realty could not be reached for comment.

Chanes said the Visual Artists Rights Act is narrowly defined and only applies to paintings and sculptures. Furthermore, work for hire would not be protected either—nor graffiti art that is done without the property owner’s consent (such as Banksy).

“Aerosol art would be considered painting,” Chanes claims. “Jeannine was here…would not.”

VARA Complaint 10102013 Copy


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21 Responses to Court grants 5 Pointz artists a 10-day restraining order, as long-shot battle to save building continues

  1. a-bidge

    Yawn. Just demolish the eyesore already! The 'artists' need to remember that the owner let them use his building for their 'works of art' for years, they should have known it wouldn't last forever. instead of all this bull they should realize they had a good run and be thankful for it. or if they want it that bad, pitch in and buy it from the owner, but then that would require atleast one of these 'artists' to actually have a job. The hoops the owner now has to go thru to demolish his own building is a joke!

  2. Pro-Art

    Hurray! I love it. They claim "property rights," so can the artists. Wonderful.

  3. Nancy

    i think it would be wonderful if it would remain the meca for local artists that it has become.

  4. Anonymous

    the artists become the facists

  5. NYC Born and Raised

    a-bidge... youre obviously not from NYC ... at least not from Queens NY where the building is... and as a native New yorker from queens i support the artists and wish for the building to stay up as hundreds of others who have lived here all our lives...

  6. Mike Jones

    I respect Jonathan Cohen and his team for their efforts. I am a huge fan of graffiti and art etc... however the building is in extremely bad shape. I've been in real abandoned buildings and would say they were in better shape than the 5 Pointz building. The property owners probably would loved to build within the exsisting structure however they are well aware it's not realistic. The 5 Pointz building is filled with black mold and asbestos. The inside of the building serves no purpose and is a hazard. (e.g. The Stairway collapse a few years back).

    All this effort is like having a loved on on life support and you're not allowing the doctor to pull the plug. The building is not gonna sit vacant forever and only going to detererate in time. If all these artists have this much time and energy to put into proving their point they deserve respect why don't they find a new building or wall they can say they actually started and watch that grow over time and be able to say they're proud of that.

    Just my 2 cents...

  7. WED3

    @ a-bidge...You shouldn't speak on what you don't know. I'm positive few of those artist make more than you. And if it's such and eyesore don't look at it. There is a such thing as HISTORICAL LANDMARK!

  8. LICresident

    LIC is becoming the concrete jungle of condos and more condos. The old school feel is quickly diminishing. To those who vote for the demolition of the building obviously do not care about the art and the history surrounding it. Such a shame to see this go one day.

  9. Anon

    This is just one more indication that creative and Bohemian NYC (and LIC, in particular) is in the final death throes. The place is pretty much done. Listen to the chest rattles.

    Time to just admit it, roll up the tents and look for more fertile pastures some place else. It's not the end of the world. You don't need to pay $2500 a month to live like a chump.

    Let the trust fund Asian and Euro hordes and Midtown project managers consolidate their LIC prize they've fought so hard for the past 30 years. Go crazy, you guys. Maybe some day you'll finally reach the critical mass of Thai restaurants, wine bars, and doggy-daycare joints you seem to want so much.

  10. New York is WACK!

    I honestly hope they tear down your precious "5 Points"! Why? Because all the hate New Yorkers have towards outsiders. You all want to be "Pro Art" and be supportive. But after seeing every BANKSY piece dissed or slashed this month in your rotten apple this month, I will turn a blind eye and give you all a deaf ear. I'm from Los Angeles by the way. We don't diss people like SEEN, FUTURA, QUIK, KAWS, Trusto Corp, etc when they pieces or murals in our Golden State! For shame!

    New York = Haters & Hipsters!

  11. art critic

    Re: above comment. Most New Yorkers don't hate Banksy. A few insecure, envious, childish punks with zero artistic talent do.

  12. art critic


    As much as I'd like to see 5 Pointz survive, all this lawsuit will do is guarantee that no other property owner will ever let their building be used for art in the same way again. Between the legal hassles and the vilification, it's just asking for trouble.

    20 years was a good, long run.

    What I object to is the city relaxing the zoning laws for the new building. That was total BS.

  13. jason

    This is just dumb, the art that is on this building is never permanent, its painted over and over and over and over by artist so no difference if they tear it down. just stop this BS already and move forward with this project.

  14. a-bidge

    @NYC Born and Raised, you are correct, I'm not originally from New York, but have lived in Queens for a very long time. You 'born and raised' Queens-ites are the problem with the LIC and the surrounding neighbourhoods, you are dinosaurs with an overly-sentimental view of the area. Manhattan is spreading out and as a result, Queens is growing up, it’s a good thing.

    Without new condo’s and apartment buildings, the demand for housing increases; with increasing demand comes increasing rents, which I can guarantee, you local dinosaurs will also complain about. So let’s get rid of a useless beaten up old building, and replace it with something useful that will actually help the local area.

    @WED3, it’s possible, one or two artists may make more than me, but how do you know what I make? It's also not easily ignorable as I have to walk past it twice a day. Maybe you shouldn’t speak about what YOU don't know. Pot.Kettle.Black.

  15. Irishgirl

    Dear a-bidge,

    Please be sure you have your facts correct before stating BS on this article. As a wife of one of the artists who has painted 5P on numerous occasions I would like to point out the following

    My husband has a full time office (shirt & tie job), he looks after his company's largest & most valuable customer achieving all budgets & KPi's set and he has been doing this successfully for numerous years.

    If you think it is an eye sore now I would hate to think what it would look like with no artwork, just left to rot over the years.

    I challenge you to produce something better than what is there...

    Pog Mo Thoin,


  16. Anonymous

    F$$k user 'New York is Wack" and F$$K LA, stay over there, asshole.

  17. Paco

    Good news! Hope it could change the way things are going...

    If you love 5Pointz, check this online doc out: Among 8 films, there is a Jonathan Cohen focused doc.


  18. a-bidge

    Dear Irishgirl,

    Thank you for your reply, it was almost dignified until the Pog Mo Thoin.

    In regards to your husbands job, well done, but I would guess that your husband is the exception rather than the norm.

    It is your opinion that the graffiti makes it better, I feel that it show's urban decay worse than a decaying building alone. My argument here is not that the graffiti is there, but that the 'artists' now feel that they have some kind of right to the building and what is done with it. If I go and spray my name on the empire state and no one washes it off for a couple years, does that then make the empire state mine?

    I'm not an artist in any way, so I could not replicate any of the 'works' nor do better, however, give me a wrecking ball and I'll gladly accept your challenge.

    Modern Architecture is a far more useful and valid art form than graffiti, time to move forward...

  19. Geenius

    is 5 pointz still open for people to see and visit? I want to make a trip out there before its no more smh.

  20. John B

    a-bidge - based on the views you espouse here, you would've been gleefully swinging a wrecking ball into the old Penn Station as well I gather. While the 5 Pointz is no where near as grand, the equivalency at the higher level is the same. Tear down the old that has an unique character and aesthetic value to replace it with the vacuous, sleek modern. While development is essential in a city like this, preserving New York's uniqueness is also a must. I believe a balance can be found, but the last 10-15 years shows a worrying trend that developers have free reign, an all in the name of creating housing and services for a small percentage of New Yorkers and new arrivals.

  21. a-bidge

    John B - I agree that a certain degree of history and uniqueness should remain. It is important that different area's keep some kind of identity and are not totally modernized to within an inch of their lives. But why at the expense of the owner. If 5 pointz is such a historic landmark, let the city buy and preserve it. Or one of these many many protestors that are fighting to keep it. It really isn't the owners responsibility to lose money just so as LIC keeps it's Penn Station.


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Hundreds turn out in quest for Hunters Point affordable housing, as residents learn about rental prices and income limits

Affordable-housing-004-560x323Sept. 30, By Christian Murray

More than 400-people attended an affordable housing meeting in Sunnyside last night to see whether they would be eligible for a piece of the Hunters Point South dream.

The goal for most was to find out how whether they qualified for one of the 925 affordable units on offer—which comes with building amenities such as a fitness center, outdoor terrace, internet café and meeting rooms.

The complex, which contains two buildings, will be comprised of studios, 1 brms, 2 brms and 3 bedroom units.

The application period is expected to begin October 15 and there will be 186 apartments available to those applicants who fall under the “low income” bracket. To qualify as low income, an applicant seeking a studio cannot make more than $30,000—while a family seeking a 3 bedroom unit must earn less than $50,000 per year.

For those who qualify for the “low income” bracket, the rents would range in price from $494 per month for a studio to as high as $959 for a three bedroom.

However, many attendees wanted to find out about the 738 “moderate income” apartments on offer. The maximum income permitted to be eligible for a studio was a little over $130,000, while the maximum household income for a 3 bedroom unit is about $225,000.


The rents for “moderate income” earners will range from $1,561-$1997 for a studio, $1,965-2,509 for a one bedroom, $2,366-$3,300 for a 2 bedroom and $2,729-$4,346 for a three bedroom.

“This is the best apartment deal in New York City,” said Frank Monterisis, the senior vice president of Related Companies. He said the waterfront complex comes with all the modern fixtures and amenities.

However, some residents said after the meeting that they thought the “moderate income” apartments were too expensive and complained that they made too much money to qualify for the “low income” units.

One man said during the meeting that he was paying less rent now than what the affordable [moderate income] units will be.

However, while some people grumbled, the rents are still significantly less than what is available on the open market. In a recent report released by Modern Spaces, the average studio apartment in a luxury Long Island City building is currently renting for more than $2,500, while one bedrooms are going for about $3,200.

The Hunters Point South apartments, unlike the other luxury Hunters Point buildings, will be “permanently” affordable. Therefore, the rent renewals are determined by a New York City formula– based on the Rent Guidelines Board.

Furthermore, once a lease is signed, tenants are not subject to any income restrictions from that point on.

However, the key is getting an apartment in the first place—and tens of thousands of people are expected to apply.

Attendees were told that they will have 60 days to get their application in after the application period begins. Monterisi said that there will be a vigorous marketing campaign once the 60-day period opens. Residents can also register at to be notified of the date.

Community Board 2 residents—who currently live in Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City—will be given priority over outside applicants on 50% of the units.

The application can be submitted online at New York Housing Connect ( Applicants will be required to create a personal profile that provides details as to their income, assets and the number of people who are likely to live in a given unit.

There is no actual limit on assets when applying for a “moderate” apartment. The main focus is on the applicant’s earnings and whether those assets will affect that figure.

Successful applicants will be notified during the first quarter of 2015, with the goal for it to be fully leased by spring 2015.

Two more affordable housing meetings have been scheduled, with on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Big Six Towers in Woodside, and the other on Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Academy for Careers in Film & TV.

affordablehousingmoderate income

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Co-owner of The Baroness bar opens performance center in Dutch Kills
Space for private lessons

Space for private lessons

Melanie Lema

Melanie Lemieux

Sept. 29, By Michael Florio

A new performance center offering music and dance classes opened in Long Island City last week.

New York Stage of Mind, a performance-based music education center featuring singing, dancing and acting classes, opened last Tuesday in Dutch Kills at 37-34 29th Street.

Melanie Lemieux, a Montreal native who has lived in Dutch Kills for the past four years, is the owner-operator of the 2,000 square foot center. She also co-owns The Baroness, a bar located at 41-26 Crescent Street, with her husband, Kyle Radzyminski.

Lemieux said that Dutch Kills—as well as the greater Long Island City area—lacked a performance center like hers.

“LIC is constantly expanding and there is a need for a place that offers an intense musical theater program,” Lemieux said.

Lemieux said that she will be offering private lessons for voice, piano and guitar. There will also be dance programs in jazz, hip-hop, modern dance and tap.

The center will offer a weekly musical theater program, which consists of singing lessons and dance. The program will be offered to children, teenagers and adults. The program runs for a semester and at the end each semester the group will perform a musical.

The performance center will also have children’s classes, including the Broadway Youth Intro class, which will teach children ages four through six musical development and dance technique.

“There are a lot of new parents with young kids in the neighborhood and this is something new to offer them,” Lemieux said.

A Mommy and Me class will also be available.

This Wednesday, between 2 pm and 9 pm there will be an open house, where people can take a look at the facility and review the programs.

Lemieux said she has her master’s degree in singing and has performed for Cirque du Soleil, USO Liberty Bells and several other productions. She said that the other instructors have graduated from prestigious musical institutions. Many are still active on Broadway and Off-Broadway.

For more information, please click here.

Dance area

Dance area

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Upscale cafe/bar opens at Gantry Park Landing complex


Sept. 28, By Christian Murray

Beans, Grapes and Leaves—an upscale coffee, tea and wine bar—opened Wednesday on the ground floor of the newly developed Gantry Park Landing complex at 2-14 50th Avenue.

The café offers premium coffee and tea–as well as four craft beers on tap and an extensive wine menu with more than 30 reds and 15 whites on offer. It also serves pastries and array of sandwiches.

“Think of a premium version of Starbucks with wine and beer,” said Simon Khan, the owner of the establishment, yesterday. “That is the concept and if it does well we will open other stores.”

Khan, a Sunnyside resident, is not new to the café business. He is a co-owner of Guy & Gallard, a company that has seven coffee /specialty food stores in Manhattan.

Khan said that he has been pleased with the reception Beans, Grapes and Leaves has received since opening. “This is our first weekend and people seem to like it.”

The café is the first of three commercial establishments to go into the Gantry Park Landing Complex.

Urban Market, a 7,500-square gourmet food store that will offer fresh meat and seafood, is expected to open by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, an urgent medical care center– North Shore-LIJ– is likely to open early 2015. It will be about 4,300 square feet in size.

The residential apartments in the building have all been leased. The 199 units went on the market in July, with rents starting at $1,875 for a studio, $2,450 for a one-bedroom and $3,250 for a two-bedroom.

Beans, Grapes and Leaves

Beans, Grapes and Leaves

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Italian group to hold procession along Vernon Blvd. Sunday, as piece of LIC history lives on


Sept. 25, By Christian Murray

A piece of old-world Italian tradition will be on display on Vernon Boulevard this Sunday.

Members of Societa Sant’ Amato Di Nusco, which is located at 47-39 Vernon Boulevard, will be holding their annual procession through the streets of Hunters Point. The members will carry a life-sized statue of their patron saint, Saint Amato, as they pay homage to him.

Saint Amato is believed to have lived in the town of Nusco, about 40 miles outside of Naples, during the 11th century. He was canonized following his death in September 1093.

The Societa was established in 1903 by immigrants from Nusco, and since then they have paid tribute to their patron saint on the last Sunday of September.

“This was a big tradition we brought with us from Nucso,” said Frank Stagliano, the club’s secretary. “He [Saint Amato] is like our home town boy.”

The club, which operated out of Long Island City church basements and meeting halls in its early years, bought its Vernon Boulevard building in 1959, Stagliano said. He said that the club today has about 150 to 200 members, with about one-quarter of them still living in Long Island City.

Stagliano said that all the members are all from Nusco or have ancestors from there.

The group was founded to help fellow immigrants make their way in America, at a time when there were no social services to help those in need.

Sunday’s procession is the biggest event on the club’s calendar. The event starts at the club at 10 am, with the procession beginning at 11:30 am. It is followed by a church service at St Mary’s at 1 pm.

The procession will incorporate sections of 11th Street, Vernon Boulevard, 47th Road, 47th Avenue, 48th Avenue and Center Boulevard.


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Demolition of 5 Pointz enters a new phase
Source: David Or

Source: David Orecchia (from Citibank building)

Sept. 24, By Christian Murray,

The demolition of 5 Pointz appears to be entering into a new phase as workers get ready to take down the main structure.

The low-rise warehouse complex at the rear of the building has gone and work has begun on demolishing the main area where artists would gather for events.

A small section within the central meeting area has already been destroyed and workers have brought in heavy machinery to start taking down the main structure.

5 Pointz Sept 24A

5 pOINT sEPT 24B



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Alobar and John Brown Smokehouse win coveted ‘Bib Gourmand’ award


Sept. 24, By Christian Murray

The Michelin Guide has just released its 2015 “Bib Gourmand” picks and Alobar and John Brown Smokehouse (10-43 44th Drive) were among the picks for the best value for money.

These two restaurants were the only Long Island City restaurants to receive the highly-coveted prize. Restaurants are evaluated for excellence on a budget (defined as two courses and wine or dessert for $40 a head).

The Bib Gourmand restaurant winners are widely considered the best and most affordable restaurants in New York.

For the full list, please click here.

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Van Bramer’s hit-and-run bill is passed by the city council
Van Bramer, Maribel Egipciaco , Melissa Mark Viverito (Source: Bill Alatriste)

Van Bramer, Martha Puruncajas , Melissa Mark Viverito (Source: Bill Alatriste)

Sept. 24, By Christian Murray

The city council passed legislation yesterday that would fine drivers who flee the scene of an accident up to $10,000.

The Council voted 49-0 in favor of the legislation that was introduced by Jimmy Van Bramer following three hit-and-run deaths that have occurred in Western Queens in the past year.

“I am proud to have sponsored Intro 371, the ‘Justice for Hit and Run Victims Act,’” Van Bramer said in a statement. “I was moved to introduce this bill in response to the death of three people who were killed in my district by drivers who fled the scene.”

Last September, Luis Bravo, 19, was killed crossing Broadway in Woodside. Meanwhile, Karen Pheras, 20, was struck and killed around the same time crossing Queens Plaza North. Then in March, Martha Puruncajas, 64, was killed crossing Northern Boulevard in Long Island City.

“They all lost their lives because of the unconscionable actions of reckless drivers who showed no concern for the lives of these three people,” Van Bramer said. “We will never know if one or all of them could have been saved had the drivers done the right thing: stopped their car and called 911.”

All three drivers have yet to be caught.

“It’s something you never get over,” said Bravo’s mother, Maribel Egipciaco, at a recent council hearing.”The pain is unbearable, the pain stays,” she said, adding that she hopes stiffer penalties would prevent future tragedies.

Under the bill, those who leave the scene of an incident without taking action would be subject to pay a civil penalty of up to $500 if property damage stems from the incident; $1,000 to $2,000 if a person is injured; and $2,000 to $10,000 if there is serious injury or death.

Currently there are no “civil” penalties in New York City if someone flees.

Criminal penalties are determined by the state lawmakers.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the bill into law. The law would take effect ninety days after he signs it.

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Modern Spaces opens second office in Astoria as development boom continues
Astoria location

Astoria location

Sept. 23, By Christian Murray

The real estate market is heating up in Astoria–and LIC-based Modern Spaces is looking to get in on more of the action.

Modern Spaces, which has its flagship office at 47-42 Vernon Boulevard, will be opening its second office in Astoria next month at 34-16 30th Avenue.

The new location will be much more substantial than its first Astoria office, which is in the Ditmars section of the neighborhood  at 29-20 23rd Avenue.

The 30th Avenue office will be 2,000 square feet, with room to house 25 agents. It will also include an outdoor garden space that can be used for events.

Modern Spaces, which was founded in Long Island City in 2008, will have six offices when its second Astoria office opens. It has offices in Williamsburg and Chelsea.

Eric Benaim, founder of Modern Spaces, said: “We are very happy to expand our Astoria reach with this new office, and are proud to be part of this community. The timing is opportune for us, as we have three new projects in Astoria that will be hitting the market early next year.”

Modern Spaces also announced that Greg Kyroglou, an Astoria resident who currently manages the firm’s Ditmars office, will head up the new office.

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