Nov. 5, 2014 By Christian Murray
Jerry Wolkoff, who is the final stages of demolishing Long Island City’s famous graffiti Mecca, said he plans to call his residential development 5 Pointz.
Wolkoff, whose company G&M Realty filed an application to trademark the name in March, has received a wave of criticism from artists who claim they made the name famous.
A spokeswoman for the artists told DNAinfo yesterday that Wolkoff’s trademark attempt was an effort to bank on their name.
“It’s ironic that the same corporation which single-handedly destroyed all the artwork known as 5Pointz is trying to capitalize on its name,” she told DNAinfo.
“The disrespect continues, I suppose,” said Jonathan Cohen, who was the curator at 5Pointz and goes by the tag name Meres One.
Wolkoff said the property is known as 5 Pointz. “People would go to 5 Pointz to see the street art,” Wolkoff said. “They would go visit my building—not anyone else’s building—to see the art.”
Furthermore, Wolkoff said, he worked with Meres in coming up with the 5 Pointz name in the first place. He said that Meres did not come up with the name alone–despite reports saying otherwise.
“We collaborated on it,” Wolkoff said. “Do you think I would just let any name go up on my building?”
Wolkoff said that Meres used to walk around 5 Pointz thinking it was his building—particularly after he announced his plan to develop the property.
“I gave him permission to use it for all these years…and he would work with artists,” Wolkoff said. But the property was always mine to develop, he said, and deep down Meres and his crew knew that.
Wolkoff is about to start construction at the beginning of 2015 on two high-rise apartment towers containing 1,000 rental units.
Wolkoff said that he is always going to be criticized by a handful of artists. However, he hopes that will change once he has completed the two towers and the artists are invited back to display their street art.
But he said that he has come to the realization that developers are not typically seen in a positive light.
“I am the man with the black horse because I am the developer and they will always be riding the white horse,” he said.
“The building was decrepit and dangerous.” Very good reason to tear it down.
It was not free space. The rents charged for the multitude of rabbit warrens paid the property taxes and more. The building was decrepit and dangerous. Having artists occupy the space prevented it from being taken over by homeless squatters. I liken it to being a slumlord. I agree with their right to knock it down and build but trying to bully their way to trade mark a name that clearly was the creation and property of the artists shows their true colors.
They really need to stop building in the area. Too much development is not a good thing. If people of LIC wanted it to feel as crowded and stressed as Manhattan or Brooklyn, they wouldn’t be in LIC. This guy doesn’t deserve to use the name.
Free space for “artists” for years and this guy is still the bad guy. What else are these great artists entitled to? That Biggie Smalls mural was the greatest work of art since the Last Supper, it was only surpassed by the Stewie Griffin our culture can barely stand the loss., oh the horror.
““I am the man with the black horse because I am the developer and they will always be riding the white horse,” he said.”
No a-hole. You are the man with the black horse because you can’t see the darkness of you and your son’s soul.
Your gonna catch a cold from the ice inside your soul!
Part of the contract of living in a city is that you give up control of your surroundings. Yea, it was nice to see 5 Pointz from the 7. And it’s gone. But relax, beauty in NYC appears as fast as it disappears.
It was pretty remarkable this business man let them paint the building at all. Most would be spooked by the insurance risk and collect rent on it as industrial storage space, instead.
All sides are acting like jerks.
If this is what you call art, and it is so beautiful why do you not have this art on your property? The same people that glorify this “art” are the ones to be pissed off it was put on their own property (house, car, etc.). This is called vandalism and Wolkoff was stupid to allow it from the beginning. Good riddance to that shit hole!!
It sounds like he plans to pay tribute to the former 5 pointz. It will be intresting to see what happens
People getting caught up in the idiotic chest pounding match between one guy who owned the property and one guy who named it/development.
FACT of the matter is, if he ends up naming it 5 Pointz then he better sure make sure the legacy is intact with the name. To do anything else would be plain stupid.
I’m curious, personally to see what he has planned.
His love of moneymaking knows no limits. Neither dignity, integrity or truth will keep him from stooping lower and lower.
5 Pointz was never great., It was a shithole. Wolkoff made a huge mistake by letting a bunch of ungrateful skells occupy his building. The other residents of Queens had to deal with this eyesore every day, and the lowlifes it attracted to the neighborhood. If this idiot wants to call the new building 5 pointz he has every right. By the way 5Pointz was in Manhattan not Queens.
No, Mr. Wolkoff, you will not be “criticized by a handful of artists,” you will be reviled by thousands of Queens residents and New York natives (I am both), and millions around the world. You say people came to see “your building.” They did not. They came to see the art, which you whitewashed before the landmarks hearing could take place – probably because priceless, irreplaceable works would, indeed, be landmarked – as Keith Haring’s (originally illegally painted) “Crack is Wack” was. You have robbed all of us of a visual treasure, and future generations of a cultural legacy. Enjoy your money and your supposed “black horse” since you don’t have enough soul to enjoy art, community, culture, and all the things you destroy in your path to material success.
I cut the Wolkoff’s some slack before as I believe in private property rights but now they are just being selfish douchebags and ripping off Meres, Cecile and the writers that made 5 Pointz great.