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.