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Community Board 2 Rejects 5 Pointz Developer’s Plans

View of the front of 5 Pointz in Queens NY (2013). Photo by Ezmosis/Creative Commons)

June 7, 2013 By Christian Murray

The plan to demolish 5 Pointz and replace it with 1,000 apartments was unanimously rejected by Community Board 2 Tuesday night.

The vote was focused solely on the size of the proposed building—not on whether the historic graffiti icon would be demolished. The developer, David Wolkoff, is free to knock it down at any time. Instead, the vote was on whether to grant him a special permit that would allow him to build 1,000 units–370 more than permitted ‘as of right’ by present zoning.

The board slammed his plan, citing “the project’s excessive size and unsatisfactory design.” Furthermore, it noted that the Long Island City community did not receive a big enough benefit for the increased density.

“Community board 2 of Queens rejects and opposes the application,” said Stephen Cooper, the board’s first vice-chairperson, adding that the plan would come at great cost to the local residents, businesses and commuters. He said it would lead to the overcrowding of subways and streets, the ouster of artists and an increase in rental rates throughout the Court Square/Long Island City district.

The board’s vote is advisory, and the project next moves on to Borough President Helen Marshall before landing at the City Planning Commission. The commission has the option to nix the application, but otherwise it will move on to the City Council for a vote.

Wolkoff’s proposal calls for two towers–one would be 47 stories high and the other 41 stories. The base of the two buildings would include retail shops and a 250-car parking garage.

As part of Wolkoff’s plan to get the permit, he is willing to provide about 30,000 sqf. in public space—well over the 20,000 sqf. that is required. He also plans to create five 400sqf art studios—which he is not required to do.

But the community board was not impressed.

Lisa Deller, the chairwoman of Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee, said the community would be better served by the developer providing benefits such as affordable housing. However, “the developer has not expressed any interest or made any commitment to provide affordable housing with this complex,” she said.

Furthermore, Deller said, “the vast majority of open space will be located either adjacent to or below the elevated #7 subway line… and will not be a peaceful oasis as portrayed in the renderings but a noisy open area.”

The 5 artist studios were deemed a “token gesture” and insufficient. Deller said that 15,000 sqf. of low cost artist space would be more fitting.

Wolkoff said he was disappointed by the decision, since “we had worked closely with city planning” on it.  “We provided a lot of open space and it’s a beautiful building,” he said. “The building is suitable for the area, since it [Court Square] is going through a transition.”

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Tal F

Maybe the graffiti is an eyesore, or maybe it’s art. Maybe the additional units will bring too much congestion and the developer hasn’t provided enough community benefit, or maybe not. Maybe there should be more “affordable” units. I just don’t know enough to answer these questions. But what kind of strained economic logic would lead CB2 to conclude that vastly increasing the supply of apartments in an area that is already rapidly gentrifying will actually INCREASE rents. What??? The rent is already too damn high all over NYC because not enough tall apartment buildings are being built to house all the people that want to live in this great city. If this building and others like it are not built, rents will only keep increasing in NYC, benefiting the landlords as a whole and harming the ability of NYC to take on new residents struggling to make ends meet.

Marylin Madson

I understand is Privet Property, we do… but it seems that also these privet property future will cause a small or big effect in our life’s ,
And when u have HUGE Private Property u also have to play by the Rules.
so if we can speak for the better of it , it is also our duty and right to speak freely for the better of our community, that way will shape it for better.

Live the Apartments but 30,000 sqf called ” privet property ” doesn’t help much since it remains been private property..
why not also include the following :

What about donating part of the Inner Building space to have some Free or low cost Recreational Space for Families, Artist, Adult or Kids Medical to some Organization given by them as Grant ?

2.- Or just this :
What about Open an National contest on Developing Proposals including New Generation of Talent Architects to design the space ?

what about Including also some Green Energy Proposals into it, including Compost Sites or Garden space ?

It seems to me they just want more apartments to get Cash out of it.

Marylin Madson

To LICer :

You are a Shame to New York ! people like u make things worst,
only after dollar coins and been selfish.

I have been here for 60 years old enough to see what is better for my grandsons.

I look for the better of the society in LIC and having a big Parking lot does that HELP really much ?

I do Respect privet Property better as ur young cells own ur brain.

These are the arguments :

First : Investigate the founding of this Developers and then speak up to back up these developers are u one of them ?
I do respect them, but it seems as u see It was pretty categorical about how selfish the plans are.

Second : The Proposal design is pity and in Plain English is not good enough.
Making a Big Parking with big building is ok ? all right to me then build it my grandsons will have to see it …., but then as u see not enough to get pass.

The people has also value and right to speak up against developers if we want to its a Democratic Free Nation. and we people have spoke !
So if u dont come with positive feedback then better shut up !


The Wolkoffs were called slum lords at the hearings and they are. They keep the building in deplorable shape– the food carts garaged there are a health hazard. Loose food (not bagged first) is deposited into dumpsters, which are over-flowing on to the ground. Rats are numerous. Pigeons fly into the garages (where, by the way, the cart guys prepare food) depositing their droppings. As often as they’re told the Wolkoffs do nothing. Plus there are garment factories there that are identified as sweat shops by those who know, and I know that there have been Immigration raids on them.
Several speaker spoke about the poor woman who was in critical condition after the staircase she was on fell 5 stories. They had never bothered to repair it, and they are still trying to keep from paying the poor woman any money.
Don’t imagine the Wolkoffs are outstanding citizens of LIC who care about the nabe. Did any of you hear the report from the Land Use committee about their proposal? It was pretty categorical about how lousy,ugly and selfish the plans are. There’s a reason why the petition was rejected unanimously.


Here’s the synopsis (and my opinion):
1) 5Pointz will go at one point.
I am sad about, some welcome it, some think it’s the evil of capitalism, when it’s just the right of the owner.
2) Wolkoff asked for exceptions (thanks N. Parker) for the development of his property (his right). We should not (and CB2 did not ) grant them as it was rightly pointed out that it lack’s artists space, will increase congestion and imho is a very idealess, boring tower proposal
3) Wolkoff to develop within existing rules or to come back with a new proposal asking for exception or fighting his way through the process on something the community doesn’t want
4) Let him come back with a new proposal and still don’t grant him an exception because every body should play by the same rules and we grant exceptions far too often.
5) It was a good time 5Pointz!


Sick of Development, I myself am poor. Which is more the reason to not attack progress. Who knows they might need my services in this development. That would make me an employer who would need employee’s. Maybe I have noticed that people are looking for work including me. Now I know the people who own the building, and I know others who would never have let the artist express themselves for 5 minutes much less 20 years. Have any artist been able to promote their work because of this as you put it materialistic family? I’d say yes, and for how long? If they helped me for 5 minutes, much less 20 years I’d have it made. They did this out of the kindness of their hearts and paid for it. Let’s not be selfish, it is their turn to shine.

Sick of Development

@Kwame The poor people have lived here a long, long time. And however they have been able to make a living is none of our business. You belie your narrow, materialistic view by speaking so scornfully of them. The world isn’t just a shiny new toy for you to enjoy. Others are having a different experience you would do well to notice. They deserve far better treatment than to be swept away by the Wolkoff’s money broom.


Marylin Madson, shame there are New Yorkers like you. That’s private property and not a historic building and that’s not YOURS!!! WHY OWNERS CAN NOT put it down? WHY?


The Wolkoff family has a right to pay their bills too. This beautiful artistic building has been in that family a long time. Who has helped them pay the bills on it. No one. Now they are great people who obviously love the arts. Or they never would have allowed this building to become what it has. Lets all be realistic, Long Island City has been an eyesore for many years. It needs this family to help continue to bring this area out of the dumps. Further development of the area will only help to stabilize the local economy and devolp opportunities for new jobs and growth. I for one trust their judgement. Look how long they allowed this building to be used as an art mecca of the area. Look forward people and see the new jobs and beautiful skyline this will help create. Fewer people running up to your cars to harass you to wash your windshield. Let’s move forward and see how the artist will use this new canvass.

Marylin Madson

To LICer:

We New Yorkers don’t owe Nothing LICer and Developers with bad Designs ! And you used OTHERS Money for years so now it is YOURS? You decide where the land should do? WHo u?

Joseph Heathcott

It is bad enough that the developer wants to tear down the amazing and iconic graffiti building, which has become part of the landscape and consciousness of Queens. (Every visitor that I take by it falls in love with the place, whether they are from Missouri or the Netherlands.) But to add insult to injury, the proposed development reveals a stultifying lack of vision and imagination. It falls completely in line with the other bland, generic, architecturally lackluster high-rise apartment buildings that have sprouted up around LIC in the last ten years.

If a developer with leadership and vision came along and proposed a dramatic, compelling, and bold new building to replace the graffiti building, that would partly compensate for the loss of such a wonderful icon. In that case, I’d be happy to support a variance to ‘as of right’ zoning laws to gain a truly superb addition to the built environment of New York City. Unfortunately, that is not what has happened in this case.


To Marylin Madson:

We New Yorkers don’t owe artists Nothing! And you used OTHERS property for years so now it is YOURS? You decide where the land should do? WHo u?

Marylin Madson

To Michael Kilpatrick :

We artist dont Owe u NOTHING !!! and U Builders go build somewhere else.

To the Developers I say, “Find yourself a new world to build on or buy yourself a world somewhere and go away with ur cash made out of Wars that u laundry with Buildings !!”

However, the creators of this world do not owe you anything!!

Nosey Parker

I don’t think the guy owes anybody anything either, but then, we–the people of CB2–don’t owe him an exception to the rules, either.

If you can’t make money on it within the rules, you lack imagination or you are greedy. So, sell the property to someone who can.

Don’t ask for exceptions. Do I get an exception when I want one? Never! So, screw you and your crocodile tears, Mr. Developer. Learn to play by the rules everyone else does. Your money does not make you special, except that it allows you to be generous in a big way.

Michael Kilpatrick

I would much rather see these two new towers than the eyesore that is there now. The developer owes these artists NOTHING!!! The mere fact that the artists are protesting this new development is a bit mind boggling to me. To the artists I say, “Find yourself a canvas to paint on or buy yourself a building somewhere and paint away!” However, the owners of this building do not owe you anything!! It’s their property that they pay taxes on and if they need to move on with their development plans then they should be able to do that without all of these protests.


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